Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day?


Zombie has been pushing to make November 22nd the unofficial “Victory in Iraq Day.” He writes:
“The war has come to an end. And we won.

And since there will never be a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue in New York for our troops, it's up to us, the people, to arrange a virtual ticker-tape parade. An online victory celebration.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 is the day of that celebration: Victory in Iraq Day.”
The idea seems to be getting some positive support, although I don’t know if I will be able to sign onto the idea. I feel the same way as a blogger at Hot Air, who argues:
“I appreciate the spirit of the blogburst Zombie’s organizing for Saturday, and lord knows he/she has plenty of credible milblogger opinion to support the argument, but five years of having to wear the “Mission Accomplished” albatross around our necks is enough to make me blanch forevermore at declarations of victory, especially when Petraeus himself has vowed never to use the word.”
I feel about the same. I do believe we should publicly honor the military men and women who have fought to make Iraq a free and democratic nation. The situation in Iraq is vastly better than it was a few years prior, but I won’t be claiming “victory” until we see a relatively secular, safe, and just Iraq.

But things have considerably improved, more than most imagined they could two years ago. Micheal Girson from Real Clear Politics writes:
“The approval of the SOFA would leave a chapter of history decorated with paradoxes. President George W. Bush -- who once called withdrawal timelines "arbitrary" and "unacceptable" -- ends his term by accepting them. President-elect Barack Obama will inherit a more peaceful Iraq because of policies he strongly opposed. And the Iraqi government -- so often criticized by Americans as weak and ineffectual -- is now asserting its sovereignty in a decisive manner, for good or ill.

Yet President Bush can take comfort from the fact that these deadlines are only conceivable because of the success of his surge strategy -- because al-Qaeda in Iraq has been decimated and the Sunni revolt has died down. Put another way: The more successful the surge has been, the less dangerous the deadlines for withdrawal have become. And this, after all, was the whole purpose of the surge -- it was intended to be a "bridge strategy" from the failures of 2005 and 2006 back to a situation where an orderly withdrawal would be possible.”
With the security pact between the United States and Iraq effectively ending American combat there by 2011, I believe we should have a day to recognize the soldiers who have sacrificed so much for the nation. I am skeptical to apply the “victory” term to this day; our foes in Iraq have not unequivocally capitulated, unlike VE Day and VJ Day, where the forces we combated were forced to officially surrender. Zombie is right to point out however:
“After World War II, which was won as conclusively as any war was ever won, some Germans refused to acknowledge defeat and continued to operate as guerrilla assassins and saboteurs. Anti-Semitic massacres in Europe continued into 1946 long after the Nazis had been defeated. In the Pacific Theater, Japanese "holdouts" on various islands kept up their battle posts against the Americans for years and years after Japan surrendered, some well into the 1970s.”
Even when I may have a disagreement over the semantics of the project, I am fully in favor of having a day to honor the veterans of the Iraqi Liberation. I hope these men and women get more than online thanks for their service. They deserve the same heroes’ welcome-home we bestowed upon those returning from WW2.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Too Cute for Criticism


I don’t read what the all powerful Korean netzins write, but by the way it’s reported in the Korean media, you would assume they have incredible sway in this country. A few weeks back, the popular actress Choi Jin-sil committed suicide after folks on the internet in Korea started spreading malicious rumors about her. The New York Times reports:
Already struggling with a messy divorce, she had been deeply troubled by online accusations that she had driven another actor to gas himself in his car a month earlier, Mr. Yang said. The actor, Ahn Jae-hwan, was struggling with debt, and the rumors said she had pressed him relentlessly to repay money she had lent. She complained to the police about the rumors, which she called baseless, and they were investigating when she died.”
Now “the Nation’s little sister,” Moon Geun-young is being targeted on a number of fronts for secretly donating over 850 million Won over the last five years. The Chosun Ilbo writes:
Some are posting comments saying her good deeds were merely a moneymaking publicity stunt, while others accuse her of hogging the limelight.

Moon is also being accused of regionalism with her donations.”
No to make light of Choi Jin-sil’s suicide, but I have a hard time understanding how people posting stupid comments on the internet makes for news, let alone leads any celebrity to respond to pointless slander by taking their own life.

I generally have little reverence for entertainers, and I am sure an actor or actress who donates money to any cause has ulterior motives for doing so. Perhaps Moon gave this money and intended it to remain anonymous out of the goodness of her heart and not to get some positive media attention and adoration, but I doubt it.

But honestly, who cares?

The money is still good, and I am sure the charities she donated to were thrilled to have the revenue. It is surely more than most of us have ever contributed to a cause we support, and why shouldn’t she get her name in the paper for her contribution? I would rather celebrities receive media attention for their philanthropy, than for being whorish, stupid, and scandalous.

You would be hard pressed to find any American celebrity who hasn’t had baseless and slanderous attacks made against them by some on the web. I would assume that most folks just shrug their shoulders and move along; combating a few anonymous individuals in an unaccountable medium is a losing battle and most grasp that. If negative comments left on the net was the destructive force the Korean media makes them out to be, America wouldn’t have many celebrities left alive.

Update:
'Ask a Korean' takes on another angle of this story that I avoided: the belief by some right-wingers that Moon is a closeted Communist.

Sad, but Funny