Over the next two weeks I’m travelling to Paris, Florence, Venice and Rome with my lovely and steadfast travel (and life) companion. I’ll try to write about some of my experiences when I manage to find a minute in an Internet cafe somewhere, but if you don’t hear from me, it’s because the vino and salami are holding me hostage.


NATO Kills 60 Civilians in Afghanistan

The Globe and Mail is reporting today that “[a]t least 60 civilians were killed during NATO operations in a volatile southern area of Afghanistan this week”:

NATO spokesman Major Luke Knittig said troops used “precision strikes” against militants who targeted aid deliveries and reconstruction projects in the area.

“Very sadly, civilians continue to get caught up in these engagements with tragic results,” Maj. Knittig said.

Mr. Afghanmal said Taliban fighters ran into civilian homes, which were then targeted by NATO forces.

NATO says these deaths were the Taliban’s fault because they entered civilian homes, which were then bombed. This justification is standard for the military, even though it is equivalent to the police flattening your home with your family inside because a fleeing felon sought refuge there.

In the comments after the article, ‘Midtown Bob’ asks “How many of the 60 dead civilians were closet [T]aliban?”

His remark is significant because it reveals the kind of thinking that is standard in the so-called ‘War on Terror’: a ‘closet Taliban’ is someone who is not outright Taliban but still supports the Taliban, and thus they are our enemy.

Their children, although they are not Taliban, are the children of those who support the Taliban, and will grow up to be Taliban or Taliban-supporters: thus they are our enemies.

All of whom ought to be killed. Or, at least, not mourned if that is their fate.

It’s easy to forget, however, that the Taliban are Afghans too, and there are enough of them that they represent a significant portion of the population.

No solution to the situation in Afghanistan can be found without their involvement.

This is anathema to all those who have adopted the Taliban as enemy #1 – for now. The same logic led to the removal of Ba’ath Party members in Iraq from their positions by Paul Bremer in the aftermath of the US invasion. They were seen as the enemy, and it was impossible to deal with that enemy.

Now, the US recognizes its mistake and seeks to reinstate them, to bring them back into the political process, but it is too late. The US has lost in Iraq and everyone knows it.

The Taliban are the enemy today, but they may not be the enemy tomorrow – after all, they were not the enemy yesterday, when the Soviets occupied Afghanistan. Then, they were our friends, just like the war lords in Afghanistan are our “friends” today.

Canada should realize that a purely military solution is not possible and announce support for a United Nations summit involving all parties to the conflict, in the hope of achieving a negotiated, compromise peace.

[tags]Afghanistan, Canada, NATO, war on terror, politics[/tags]


Raise the Hammer Print Edition

Raise the Hammer is out with a new format: a print-it-yourself edition in PDF format. It’s the same idea as The Star’s PM edition, and I think it’s a good one. Here’s the information about it:

In a recent email, we promised that a print-it-yourself edition of Raise the Hammer would soon be available. I’m proud to announce that we’re ready to publish our first kick at the can:


We know there’s still work to do, but we decided to start somewhere and then improve as we go. The Raise the Hammer Print Edition is eight pages, prints onto 8 1/2 x 11 paper (preferably double-sided), and features selected articles from the October 20, 2006 web issue.

We hereby throw ourselves at your mercy and ask if you will print off a few copies and leave them in local public places (cafes, libraries, shops, etc.) so people who don’t normally get their news from the Internet can still read our articles.

Eventually, we would like to put together a business model and generate revenue to pay for mass printing, but in the meantime, this lets us get the word out while remaining proudly ad-free.

Thank you in advance to all who are willing to help us by spreading the word in print (and please let me know if you do this so we can keep an eye out for new readers).


Ryan McGreal
Editor, Raise the Hammer

Perfect for printing out at work using company resources and then reading while you sit on the can for unusally long periods of time.


Beginning of the End

Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC anchorman whose “special comments” blasting the Bush administration have gained him huge popularity, made his most powerful statement to date last night.

You can watch it for yourself, or read the full transcript.

When dissent is branded traitorous and most media are terrified of being called liberal, people like Olbermann stand out.

[tags]olbermann, bush, military commissions act, politics[/tags]


Unqualified Enthusiasm

This was sent to me by a friend who works at an advertising agency. They have a job opening in their research department, and they received this email cover letter along with a resume from someone applying for the job (I have removed the names and email addresses of the people involved, everything else is word for word):

RE: Media Buyer Postion

Good Morning,

I’ve recently applied for the Junior Media Buyer/Researcher posted, and I feel it is a great opportunity for me to be employed. Reading the job description, it became very clear to me that this was something I could do. And do well. I hope we can set up and interview because it’s in the interview where I tend to shine.

So my aim is to impress your socks off, unless you don’t ware socks, then I hope to impress your shoes off. To be realistic, I don’t feel I am very qualified for this position. I understand a person with 2.5 years of sports management isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, but I believe I have what it takes to be your media buyer.

I think the only qualification I have that really applies for this position is my extencive CD collection. This shows I can research and purchase media, and media related products. Media is something I have a strong passion for. Music, movies and television are large parts of my life, as well as magazines, and newspapers. It’s with that knowledge that I can certainly apply to becoming your next media buyer. I’m sure working for a “busy downtown” office would require a lot of lifting, and moving of purchased media, which I’m ok with as well.

I’m able to use a computer (sending this email is proof) and I work well with others. Another one of the benefits I bring to the table is I never have a problem with customer service. I have returned many items with no to little questions asked. I must have one of those faces people trust. I don’t cook, so most of the meals I eat are cold, and raw – so sushi is cool too.

I hope I have gone above and beyond any expectations you may have had, and proven without a doubt that I can do this job. And as for my love for dogs, pictures of some of my ex-girl friends will be available upon request.

Thanks a lot,

[tags]humour, employment, resumes[/tags]

Life, politics, code and current events from a Canadian perspective.

Adrian Duyzer
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