In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

May03

Killing Osama: justice or vengeance?

May 3 2011 U.S. agents killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, apparently without cooperation from the government in Islamabad. The al-Qaeda leader was responsible for great suffering; I do not mourn his death. But every action has causes and consequences, and in the current moment all are dangerous. It’s unlikely that bin Laden’s killing will have much impact on the already weakened capacity of al-Qaeda, which is widely believed to be made up of only a couple hundred fighters between Afghanistan and Pakistan — though its effect on other terrorist forces is uncertain. Pakistan itself may pay a particularly high price. As President Barack Obama described it, “After a...

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Dec04

Cablegate: the epic fail of the mainstream media

Dec 04 2010 A couple of years ago I watched a preview screening of “State of Play” with a fellow journalism lecturer who taught print media. Towards the end of the movie, my colleague was almost in tears. Her melancholy mood was not the result of being forced to watch Russell Crowe try to act. It came from the film’s credits, rolling over giant printing presses putting the newspaper to bed. Not so long ago, print journalists had to complete their stories in the evening, for the subeditors to lay out with photos and headlines overnight, before the paper was printed in the early hours of the morning. Online media and the 24-hour news cycle mean that those days are gone forever. As my...

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Oct06

Killing each Taliban soldier costs $50 Million

October 06 2010 The Pentagon will not tell the public what it costs to locate, target and kill a single Taliban soldier because the price-tag is so scandalously high that it makes the Taliban appear to be Super-Soldiers. As set out in this article, the estimated cost to kill each Taliban is as high as $100 million, with a conservative estimate being $50 million. A public discussion should be taking place in the United States regarding whether the Taliban have become too expensive an enemy to defeat. Each month the Pentagon generates a ream of dubious statistics designed to create the illusion of progress in Afghanistan. In response this author decided to compile his own statistics. As the...

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