the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

26 Oct 10

In as seen by a liberal vegetarian english major in medschool with a subscription to the NYT on October 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm

a 15 year old, mid-breakdown

National Section, First Page: Deal Averts Trial in Disputed Guantanamo Case

The story: a 24-year-old detainee pleaded guilty to “terrorism-related” charges, avoiding what would have been the test case of the Obama Administration’s new military tribunal system.

The quote: “The United States contended that Mr. Khadr lacked battlefield immunity [he killed a coalition soldier in Afghanistan with a grenade] because he wore no uniform. [Because] the CIA drone operators also kill while not wearing uniforms, the team reqrote the rules to downgrade [murder] to a domestic law offense.”

The implications: Elsewhere in the article, it is mentioned that the administration “spent months working with congress to set up new rules providing greater defendant protections.” What seems like a benign statement is anything but—it’s an admission that the military tribunal system is inherently unjust, requiring the facade of “defendant protections” to appear in line with due process. Almost a decade after its start, we still haven’t defined the boundaries of the War on Terror, and we have not identified a uniform (not to mention uniformed), typified enemy.  Here’s a clue: we won’t—the whole point of preemptive war and military tribunals and drone strikes is to attenuate any decision about the ethics of our actions.

Buried in the International Section: Tijuana Killings Erode Image of a City Recovering from Past Woes

The story: 13 people were shot with automatic rifles after being told to lay face down on the floor of a drug rehabilitation clinic.

The quote: “Centers like that one frequently become targets in Mexico because drug gang members often seek treatment or hide in them”

The implications: Speaking of vague, un-win-able global wars… The war on drugs tends to focus on the supply side: shut down the narcoterrorists, secure our borders, burn 134 tons of marijuana (yes, there are pictures). Let’s talk about demand: either the press is doing an awful job of reporting efforts to increase  availability of addiction centers, legalize use, increase drug education, etc—or these initiatives are just not happening on a scale commensurate with that of the often violent, zero-sum supply-side pushes.

 

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