As the Orlando Sentinel has no intention of seriously covering the war, I thought it might be fun (and educational!) to do at least one more column on what our local paper of record isn't writing about.
Then again, this could become a regular feature. By ignoring half the story (the part that doesn't fit the "righteous liberators" script), the Sentinel proves itself to be little more than a homegrown version of the Iraqi Ministry of Information. And by regurgitating headlines we all saw on CNN 12 hours earlier, the Sentinel is also providing a handy lesson in why daily newspapers matter less and less.
Whether you think American troops are liberating heroes or an invading horde; whether you think George W. Bush is a just man leading a courageous cause, or a warmongering fool with little grasp on the implications of his actions; it behooves you to know as much as possible about what's going on. Thank god for the Internet, because you ain't going to find it in the Sentinel.
The left-wing loonies at CNN reported March 20 that a group of relatives of people killed in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks have denounced the war as "illegal, immoral and unjustified." In a press release, the group said they know what's it's like to feel "shock and awe," and didn't wish it on anyone else, even Iraqi citizens.
The out-of-touch tree huggers at UPI reported March 19 that the top National Security Council official in the war on terror, Rand Beers, resigned his post last week. Beers didn't comment on his reasons for quitting in the article, and in fact denied that it had anything to do with the invasion. The same article notes, however, that there is a "broad consensus in the anti-terrorism and intelligence community that an invasion of Iraq would divert critical resources from the war on terror."
You can always count on a Canadian to come up with an unpatriotic angle. The Toronto Star reported March 22 that the residents of Abu Kamal, on the Iraq/Syria border, think Americans are scum. Here's what one denizen had to say: "After tonight `the beginning of the war`, Americans won't be safe anywhere in the world. They won't be able to travel, period." When the reporter identified himself as a Canadian, the townspeople refused to let him pay for anything.
That bible of the liberal cabal, The New York Times, reported March 23 that Saudi Arabians also think Americans are scum: '"The atmosphere is boiling," declared Mohsen al-Awajy, a tall, angular Islamic scholar, distinguished by a long beard and white head scarf without the usual black headband. He says even his daughters are urging him to join Al Qaeda and follow Osama bin Laden.'"
And this just in from the anti-war, fringe wackos at the Catholic Church: Supporting the troops will land you in hell. That's the word from Bishop John Michael Botean, head of the Romanian Catholic diocese of St. George, in Canton, Ohio. Bishop Botean has jurisdiction over all Byzantine-rite Romanian Catholics in the United States. He told his flock March 18 that the nation-state is never the final arbiter for Catholics on what is moral, and what isn't. "You, my people, for the sake of your salvation as well as my own, `know` that any direct participation and support of this war against the people of Iraq is objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin."
Apparently, the Iranians are none too pleased about the liberation of Iraq. Or maybe they just don't like who is doing the liberating. In any case, British commandos report that coalition forces near the Iranian border are coming under fire from Iranian guns. "We are content that the fire from Iran was inaccurate and ineffective," said a Royal Marines spokesman March 23, "but nonetheless puzzling." Then again, this story comes from Agence France-Presse, and we all know how problematic those damn French can be.
A BBC reporter in Baghdad reported March 24 that U.S. missiles have hit homes, and that some landed in streets and didn't explode. "Do the people on the streets believe America is trying to avoid civilian causalities?" wrote reporter Subhy Haddad. "How can they when they see residential areas coming under attack?"
The Guardian Unlimited reported March 24 that Arab news sources are claiming a "massacre" of civilians in the fight for the city of Basra. Arabic news station Al-Jazeera put the number of civilian dead at 50, while Iraqi officials claim coalition bombs have killed 77 civilians. Pentagon officials would not comment on the reports.
Closer to home, Vortech Hosting Inc., an Orlando Internet service provider, pulled the website YellowTimes.org from their servers after getting complaints about the site posting photos of U.S. soldiers captured and killed by Iraqi troops, according to a story on Salon. YellowTimes.org editor Erich Marquardt called the move "outright censorship." Vortech owner Craig Smith (who did not return calls for this story), told Salon, "Whether it was a dead soldier or a dead bunny rabbit, we don't want these types of images on our webservers." Marquardt quickly found another ISP in, you guessed it, liberal San Francisco.