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Jan 13, 2005

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mbt kimondo Joshuah Bearman: UN v. Halliburton

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Justified Elder of Mu Mu

Hey, thanks for the response! I appreciate all of that, but I think it's wrong to characterize Annan's acts as "asleep at the wheel" - I think the record shows that he was fully informed, and in any event it wouldn't excuse his attempts at cover-up. As for the US, Clinton not only wasn't asleep, he proactively worked to keep the world from ever acting in Rwanda, a sin only outdone by the Belgians and French, who proactively supported the genocidaires. I don't think Annan's record on human rights has been much better since becoming chairman, though I know he doesn't not deserve all the blame for that.

In any event, I think if the left's defense of the UN comes without acknowledgement of the institution's deep internal flaws I think it comes off as opportunistic. It definitely is
harder to defend to the red state crowd (or at least the pink state crowd). I'd also argue that the biggest life-saving move the UN could make right now is securing an additional 20,000 peacekeepers for the Congo before that nation falls completely back into Hell. The issue is barely on anyone's radar, right or left.

Take care and be thankful you're not here in Chicago or you'd have some very different photos on the blog!

Josh

Funny you should mention because I was going to discuss this in the original post. I know all about Annan being asleep at the wheel at the UNHCR as Rwanda unfolded. As was the rest of the world, however, including the US. Where there is hypocrisy at the UN, there's twice as much everywhere else. The complaint by the Right in this country isn't the same as yours, i.e. that the UN has failed at its efforts to promote human rights or prevent genocide; it's that even the lip service to preventing genocide at the UN is dangerous internationalism -- and that any attempt at human rights, or development or environmental protection for that matter, is an attack on the sovereignty of this country, which is a crock.

Justified Elder of Mu Mu

He is a venal monster, but not for the oil-for-food program. He's the man who ordered Romeo Dallaire to allow the Rwandan genocide without doing anything to stop it (while both Samantha Power and Philip Gourevitch have documented this, you need to see the PBS Frontline program and look at the background documents on their website (under "The Triumph of Evil") for the full effect). Later he refused to let Dallaire testify to Belgian investigators. Is he doing a lot better when it comes to Darfur, other than some CYA speeches? And I find accounts of his backstabbing Clinton in 1998 with respect to Iraq very believable and, if true, a good part of the mess in Iraq is his fault.

I'm not a Larouchie, I'm not a John Bircher, I'm not a neocon. I spent uncounted hours trying to elect John Kerry. But after the Bosnian "safe havens," Kosovo, Sierre Leone, and other failures, it's hard to say anything good about them. Two dictatorships have veto power over the security council, the general assembly is dominated by dictatorships, and the most genocidal government on the planet sits on its "human rights" committee. If
conservatives had concocted such a scheme and a Democrat was President I wonder if the screams for unilateralism might not be from the left.

Concerned

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-Peace

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Readings

  • Panda PowerPoint!
    I guess I don't mind being "the entertainment" when it's at Mark Allen's second annual Holiday Fry-B-Que. Presented: preliminary findings from my ongoing research into the most charismatic megafauna of all: Giant Pandas.
  • McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Dec 9, 2006
    For those who missed it, there will be more. World, Explained is going strong! Money was raised, laughs were had, and for those paying attention, small amounts of useful information about things like the aurora borealis were transmitted. Plus: Michael Cera = lovably funny. And Nick Diamonds' renditions of Dumb Dog and Hanging Tough are still in my head. As is that horribly catchy Fresh Step jam.
  • Jest Fest at Skylight Books
    Somehow I wound up hosting the 10th anniversary jubilee for Infinite Jest at Skylight Books. Because who doesn't love a jubilee, right? Despite being delirious with Hepatitis A (that's the mild, non-lethal kind; I'm not at risk for Hep B since I always go the needle share and choose clean-looking prostitutes), I managed to not mis-pronounce anyone's name and make an erudite joke and poke gentle fun at Michael Silverblatt.
  • McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | June 10, 2006
    Number Three! Last one was sold out so we moved to a slightly larger theater. Andy Richter hosted, and his opening exegesis of CSI: Miami warmed the people up right. Evany Thomas presented her very scientific findings on the Secret Language of Sleep; Starlee Kine bared her neuroses to the world (or at least the 300 people in the audience); Josh Davis showed video of his 135-lb self sumo wrestling a 550-lb opera singer from San Bernardino; and Davy Rothbart closed it out with some Found Magazine magic. Grant Lee Phillips, Sam Shelton and Zooey Deschanel provided the music punctuation! I can still hear their rendition of We Are the Champions.
  • McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Feb 11, 2006
    The second in our series of precision comedy and fact-based entertainment extravaganzas benefiting 826LA. Patton Oswalt was kind enough to host, and Jon Brion joined in on the piano and guitar as thematic accompaniment. Presenters included: David Rees, Michael Colton, John Hodgman (along with his hirsuit troubadour, Jonathan Coulton), and me. Plus: a fashion show of exciting multi-user garmentry.
  • Little Gray Book Lecture at Galapagos
    How to Observe President's Day. Jonathan Coulton's technical wizardry has made this entire show available online. The summary from PRX: Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. My contribution? Yes, from Yeti Researcher. Again. Actually that was the first one. So I have only five stories!
  • Little Gray Book Lecture 25 at Galapagos
    The Animals: Are They Our Enemies? In the case of my presentation about the giant gerbils of Xinjiang, the answer is yes.
  • July 25: TJ to LA -- A Night McSweeney's Readings
    I was honored to be part of a strange triptych along with Salvador Plascencia and Josh Kun. Sponsored, somehow, by La Ciudad magazine, we all packed into Beyond Baroque with no air conditions. 150 people showed at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening, which we took as a good sign of something. Sal held up and anxiously discussed drawings from his novel, Josh delivered an essay on the Dr. Moreau of Tijuana, and my shtick (again) was Pac Man and metaphysics, this time with fun slides.
  • October 8th: Skylight Books w/Stephen Elliott
    Fun times were had by all. Someone in the audience actually mistook me for an expert on the psychology human character. We ate shrimp cocktail and drank cheap wine and laughed at Bush and celebrated the certainty of right besting wrong in American democracy. A lot of good that did.
  • October 9th: MoveOn Fundraiser in Los Angeles
    See above.

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