Just Above Sunset
May 15, 2005 - The State of Things
One - Be all that you can be… ______________________
One - Be all that you can be…
The U.S. Army plans to stop recruiting activities
for one day this month to review procedures that its 7,500 recruiters use, an Army official said.
And from a Texas television
station (KHOU, Houston) there is this –
Will Ammons, 20, signed
up for delayed entry at the Lake Jackson Army recruiting station last year.
For giggle look up J. R.
Hutchinson, The Press-Gang Afloat and Ashore (1914) or J. F. Zimmerman,
Impressment of American Seamen (1926, repr. 1966).
In England, impressment
began as early as the Anglo-Saxon period and was used extensively under Elizabeth I, Charles I, and Oliver Cromwell. "Press
gangs" forcibly seized and carried individuals into service; frequently subjects of foreign countries were taken. After 1800,
England restricted impressment mostly to naval service. The Napoleonic Wars increased English need for sea power and led to
the impressment of a large number of deserters, criminals, and British subjects who had become naturalized Americans. (Until
1850, England did not recognize the right of a man to renounce his nationality.) Frequent interception of American ships to
impress American citizens was a major cause of the War of 1812. England generally abandoned such forcible measures after 1835.
In Prussia, impressment was introduced by Frederick William I after 1713, laying the groundwork for Prussian military power
in the 18th cent. It reached its height under Frederick II (Frederick the Great) who made forced recruitment on foreign soil
an integral part of the Prussian military system. Impressment was used in many countries as a method of ridding society of
undesirables. Persons of property, apprenticed youths, and other respectable citizens were often exempted by law. The system
fostered gross abuses and was often a means of private vengeance. It filled the army and navy with a group ready for mutiny,
desertion, or other disloyalty, and it adversely affected voluntary recruitment. After 1800 impressment tended to become a
means of enforcing conscription, and it fell into disuse after 1850.
Here we go again.
And then what happens?
Two – George Bush and Sam Peckinpah
Probably no one remembers the movie Bring Me the Head
of Alfredo Garcia (1974) directed by Sam Peckinpah. Starring Warren Oates
and Gig Young? Whatever. Warren
Oates is out to collect the head of this Alfredo, in order to get the bounty money, and escape his low-paid job in a bar for
a better life. And he takes his promiscuous girlfriend Isela Vega along for the
ride. (Full plot summary here.) It’s your typical sadistic Peckinpah bloodbath, intended to shock and
appall the audience and all that.
The CIA sent a team to
Afghanistan days after 9/11 with orders to kill Osama Bin Laden and bring back his head, a former agent has revealed.
Well, if you want to see
that on video, go here for the CIA agent who says he was asked to provide Osama's head on ice, dry ice specifically - as the president said he wanted
that delivered to his office. Chris Matthews on his MSNBC Hardball show asked
the CIA guy last week the dumbest reporter-question of the year. Where do you
get dry ice in Afghanistan? Yeah, we always wondered about that.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Black gave you specific
instructions on what he wanted you to bring home.
Hell, you can't make up
this stuff. It only gets better by the day.
[Schroen] says bin Laden
is regarded almost as a "Robin Hood" figure among certain elements of the Islamic world. He says bin Laden's popularity is
so great that Pakistan may not want to risk a potentially devastating political backlash by capturing him.
So no help there? And on last weekend’s Meet the Press there was this -
Q: "Is there a distinct
possibility that [Pakistani President Pervez] Musharraf is afraid of capturing Osama bin Laden because he would fear that
his government would be toppled?"
So George will
not get his iced human head in a box. This probably pisses him off no end.
In the Louisville
Courier-Journal on Sunday, May 8, you will find an item by photojournalist Molly Bingham – adapted from a speech she made at Western Kentucky University last month. According to the newspaper, Bingham, a Louisville native, was detained in 2003 by Iraqi security forces
and held in Abu Ghraib prison from March 25 to April 2, 2003. Eighteen days after
her release, she returned to Iraq to pursue stories for the New York Times, The Guardian and other papers. The idea here?
Taking a short break
during the summer of 2003, Bingham had the idea of working on a story to explore who was involved in the nascent resistance
that was becoming apparent throughout Iraq. She scanned the papers that summer, looking for an article that would show some
journalist had reported the story, had gone deeper to find out the source of the new violence. No one had. So in August 2003,
Bingham returned with British journalist Steve Connors and spent the next 10 months reporting the story of the Iraqi resistance.
Her account was published in Vanity Fair magazine in July 2004; Connors shot a documentary film on the subject. This speech
was a challenge to journalists, and Americans, to speak up and be sure their comments, questions and thoughts are heard, and
that the First Amendment is celebrated in all its strengths. Bingham began her career as a photo intern for The Courier-Journal
and Louisville Times.
Local girl makes the big
time, of course.
…the basic point
for this discussion is that we both thought it was really journalistically important to understand who it was who was resisting
the presence of the foreign troops. If you didn't understand that, how could you report what was clearly becoming an "ongoing
conflict?" And if you were reading the news in America, or Europe, how could you understand the full context of what was unfolding
if what motivates the "other side" of the conflict is not understood, or even discussed?
What's happened to the
documentary that Bingham and Connors filmed last year in Iraq? From last month,
...Meanwhile, I'm told
by another source that “Dateline” executive producer David Corvo recently declined to pick up an hour-long documentary
from photojournalist Molly Bingham, who spent four months filming with anti-American insurgents in and around Baghdad. “Really
interesting footage,” I'm told Corvo said. “Not something my audience wants to see.”
Of course not.
This issue updated and published on...
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