Angry Little Tank

Rants, chants and cants....all written while wearing no pants!

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Guess we'll just have to do it ourselves

I was listening to Bob Edwards during the commute last week and heard Jim MacNeil (of MacNeil/Lehrer fame) talk about his upcoming series on PBS "Crossroads". I was mildly interested in the premise which is to basically try and unravel current US/Middle East relations with a series of two hours movies. I figured if anybody could try and tackle it in our impoverished news culture it would be PBS.

Then I heard they were devoting one two hour movie to Richard Perle. You know, its true. If there's one advocacy group whose perspective just hasn't been getting heard these past six years its been the neocons and Richard Perle. Those guys just NEVER seem to get what they want.

I also heard they were doing a profile on Irshad Manji. I'll always remember her as the obnoxious loudmouth who showed up on Bill Maher in early 2005 to declare that the "purple finger revolution" was going to radically alter the Middle East. Best of all - she did this while raising her index finger and slowly nodding her head up and down, not unlike some sort of retarded suburban housewife "testifying" at a Whitney Houston concert. Clearly war cheerleaders need yet another forum, we haven't heard nearly enough justifications for this ill fated endeavor from our current media outlets.

All I could do was sigh (yet again) and wonder what in the hell happened to intellectual rigor in this country (again).

Then I read this article at Salon.com earlier this week. The author, Gary Kamiya, seems to share my frustration in how little intellectual curiosity the American media seems to possess in regard to our dangerously poor Middle East relations.

This paragraph really jumped out at me:

Here's what "Crossroads" should have included. First, it should have devoted one film to this war of ideas, giving each side its due. Then it should have commissioned another film offering a historical survey of the Middle East starting in 1798, when Napoleon invaded Egypt, and ending today. This film would have looked at French and British colonialism and its effects on the development of Arab democracies. It would have talked about the Sykes-Picot Agreement that betrayed Arab nationalist hopes after WWI, and Great Britain's imperialist misadventures in Iraq, which so closely resemble our own. The Palestinian naqba, or catastrophe, would be covered. The film would examine the U.S.-backed coup in 1953 that removed Iranian leader Muhammad Mossadegh. The Suez crisis, the failure of Arab nationalism, America's long proxy war with the USSR in the Middle East, the Six-Day War and 1973 October war, and U.S. hypocrisy in dealing with Saddam Hussein would all be discussed. The Algerian government's fateful decision in 1991 to suspend elections when it became clear Islamists were going to win -- a decision followed by an appalling civil war that killed 200,000 people -- would be covered. And it would have looked at Israel's 2006 war against Lebanon.
Half of these events (the Sykes-Picot Agreement?) I'm ashamed to say I've never even heard of prior to reading this article. But that's no excuse for not learning about them now. Armed with Wikipedia and my dwindling spare time I hope to start covering these topics in the hopes of arriving at a better understanding of how we find ourselves in an intractable and unwinnable war.

If anybody has anything to add about any of these topics let me know and I'll post it. The idea would be to get some sort of real conversation going.

Because if you're waiting for the US media to provide you with any information aside from the identify of Anna Nicole Smith's baby daddy, you're going to be sorely disappointed.

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