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Why Do They Hate Freedom?

Former CNN producer Danny Schechter typifies the contrarian-at-all-costs portion of some of the left, willing to stickup for dictators at any cost.

There are continuing illegal demonstrations underway in Beirut demanding that Syria leave Lebanon, a response to the recent assassination by downtown car bomb of a popular leader... Threatened by Israel, pressured by Lebanon, and chastised by America, Syria sought to buy some good will from its more powerful detractors. It denied Israel's claims of masterminding a terror plot; it pulled some troops back into the Beka valley and then "dropped a dime" to use a phrase that cops use when they get informants to rat out a HVT (High Value Target).

Presto, as the BBC reports, "Syria helped to capture a half-brother of Saddam Hussein accused of aiding the Iraq insurgency, reports say." This report of course will not win Damascus any friends among those battling the US occupation of Iraq.

The funny thing is, can you imagine someone arguing for East Germany in 1989? That's what Schechter and his ilk are doing...

Also, why exactly would Syria need friend among the terrorists in Iraq?

Update: HunderedPercenter has a gallery of pictures of the protests in Lebanon.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Why Do They Hate Freedom?:

» The Politicker linked with More Freedom News

» The Sundries Shack linked with Illegal, Schmillegal.

» Say Anything linked with On The Other Side

» The Jawa Report linked with Jeff Gannon Spotted at Beirut Protest

» basils blog linked with Blogging Through Time With Danny Schechter

Comments (28)

How exactly is he sticking ... (Below threshold)

How exactly is he sticking up for a dictator here? By noting that the demonstrations are illegal? Are they legal in Lebanon? If they're not, by noting that does Schechter somehow implicitly oppose them? This is a big stretch, friend.

If I say the '89 Tiananmen protests were illegal, does that mean I am on the side of the PRC?

- mantis - The only thing I... (Below threshold)

- mantis - The only thing Illegal in Lebanon is Syria.... If you can't understand that you should check yourself in for immediate drug testing.....

- This is one of those obvious lie'bral media Bush attacks. You know, no one would give a flying fuck if they'd just admit they're partisan and anti Bush and let it go at that. What pisses everyone on the right off so royally is the pravaricating and denials....

- If things keep going well in the ME, because of said hyphocracy and ferfidity its going to be mondo enjoyable watching the Limp`burrows tap dance in everyway they can to avoid ever saying Bush was right.....

those damn illegal escaping... (Below threshold)

those damn illegal escaping slaves and that criminal Harriet Tubman...

The only thing Illegal i... (Below threshold)

The only thing Illegal in Lebanon is Syria.... If you can't understand that you should check yourself in for immediate drug testing.....

I do understand that. I just don't understand where Schechter is arguing against that. How is he defending Syria? I for one am all for the Syrians getting the hell out of Lebanon. Who is against it here?

This is one of those obvious lie'bral media Bush attacks.

It's his blog, not "the media", and I don't see how its an attack. If you want the media, look here. It says the same stuff basically, its a much larger piece though.

Not to mention those Americ... (Below threshold)

Not to mention those American Revolutionary thugs and their illegal activities

- mantis - I ment in genera... (Below threshold)

- mantis - I ment in general...I've been reviewing MSM pieces all day, including foreign press like the Guardian... the tone is "well yes....things are certainly taking a turn for the better in all kinds of places....so even if Bushes detracters were right that he did it all wrong its coming out ok it seems".... Huh? .... talk about begrudging.... *chuckle*....

Speaking of "contrarian at ... (Below threshold)

Speaking of "contrarian at all costs." Mantis, you can always be counted upon.

BBH, I was respondin... (Below threshold)

I was responding to Kevin's post.

What "costs" do I incur here, exactly?

Fix your page, Kevin.... (Below threshold)

Fix your page, Kevin.

Mantis, I don't think you u... (Below threshold)

Mantis, I don't think you understood the expression. It's a figure of speech. To be "X at all costs" means to be X insistently or incessantly.

The blog post was about being reflexively contrarian. Your comment, the very first one on the page, was reflexively contrarian. See?

I do believe we have our fi... (Below threshold)

I do believe we have our first contender in the who would have "rooted for East Germany" category. We should have known who it would be. The left would have seen the article as biased if it hadn't been written the way it was. Both the left and the media have a really hard time admitting that any republican ever accomplished anything, mainly because they spend so much time before the fact trying to convince us that nothing a republican wants to accomplish is worth doing and in those rare cases when they will admit it's worth doing they tell us republicans don't know how to do it. When it's all said and done they'll probably give the credit to Assad and his "forward thinking?.

Jeff,It wasn't ref... (Below threshold)


It wasn't reflexive. I read Schechter's post. And I'm not always contrarian, I sometimes just make bad jokes. Or admit occasionally that I'm wrong. And I understood the expression; I don't believe you are using it correctly.

I didn't use it. Kevin used... (Below threshold)

I didn't use it. Kevin used it. And believe me when I say that he used it perfectly. That's exactly the right turn of phrase to describe … well, what we've seen here tonight.

Ok, aside from the expressi... (Below threshold)

Ok, aside from the expression, how am I being contratian here? I just asked how Schechter was being pro-Syria. I'm still curious.

For the record, Schechter i... (Below threshold)

For the record, Schechter is not pro-Syria.

- mantis - I could easily c... (Below threshold)

- mantis - I could easily cite mulitple examples of Anti-war/Pro syrian/Anti Bush "code" words and phrases as well as outright miss-statements, and even worse, intentional ommissions, all designed to leave the casual reader with the impression that somehow this is all a Zionist/Jewish/Conservative/Neocon/big bad Western powers ambush of the freedom fighters of the poor misunderstood disadvantaged Islamists.....

Danny Schecter wrote the in... (Below threshold)

Danny Schecter wrote the intro to "How We Won the War" by Gen Vo Nguyen Giap in 1976. He was openly proud of having been one of those who "defeated" the US in Vietnam.

An assertion that he no longer supports those who are the enemies of the US would require extensive proof to convince me. Telling me he's not pro-Syria is precisely that kind of assertion.

For some people, being "pro-Syria" would be a small price to pay for continuing to be "anti-American."

the only folks using "code"... (Below threshold)

the only folks using "code" today are right-wing members of congress, who want to refer to private savings accounts as "personal" savings accounts, refer to the EPA bill which relaxes logging as the "Clean Forests Act" and those who disagree with Bush's aggressively partisan politics as "traitors".

The end does not justify the means. And as wonderful as it is that the invasion of Iraq has had a democratic influence on the region, that doesn't take away from the fact that Bush's refusal to do more than make a cosmetic attempt, and then only at the insistance of a now discredited Colin Powell, to bring other nations to our point of view before invading Iraq has helped isolate the US.

Most other Western countries, as well as us "knee-jerk" Americans who disagree with Bush's policies want democracy to spread the world round. But we don't like being lied to about WMD, we don't like the intensified anger and mistrust around the world that Bush's bullying actions caused. Nobody, nobody is arguing that Saddam deserved to be in power, and nobody is arguing that the "domino effect" of democracy hasn't been influenced by the invasion, although I'm sure you'll find some way to twist my words in a way that implies that I am, or will laugh off my comments as typical left wing nonsense, in much the same way the Bush government and GOP members of congress has done to anyone even CLOSE to the center of the political spectrum, or, to the point, the same way he treated any country who didn't instantly jump to his orders like a dog, and by the way, these countries that disagreed are DEMOCRATIC countries, which implicity includes the ability to disagree, and until recently, almost always followed what the US recommended anyway when given enough time to state our case, but who also don't appreciate being bullied and punished into agreeing. I support the invasion of Iraq, and rejoiced at the elections, but Bush has cost American lives by rushing into the war so fast that the post-war plan fell apart completely, and any allies other than Britain who might have joined us stayed away out of anger for being treated like children, and later because of so much death occurring. I won't even go into detail the deteriorating situation for women, who are treated far more poorly than under Saddam, and, the likely Prime Minister Elect whose party supports Sharia law and women wearing a burqa, and now the US doesn't have a veto, so good luck to the ladies!

As for the journalist, like most of them, he is a corporate shill, like most of the rest of them, with a primary devotion to the bottom line, NOT to any left or right wing cause. Reading into the words that this guy says and robotically stating his left-wing bias, just because he doesn't parrot the party line from Bush just doesn't cut it. Honestly, what moron, regardless of how much they dislike our president could ever want to support a dictator. I am, of course, not referring to Bush's nod nod wink wink expressions of support for democracy around the world while he still continues to pal around with Middle Eastern dictators.

- Sounded pretty and resona... (Below threshold)

- Sounded pretty and resonable TS, but on a number of points - no cigar. To assert for instance that woman are worse off now than under Saddams regime is so absurd I hesitate to even go there. You say that, even as women make up some 30% of the new Iraqi electorum. I can't imagine you could find anyone that would prefer to be raped or shot for objecting to their husbands being permitted to beat them for daring to try to learn to read, much less vote, forget taking part in the countries leadership. Its just madness to assert such nonsense and shows you have not a wit of experience in the facts of Iraq. I could go on for pages about the differences. You really should talk to the women themselves before making such feckless assertions....

- I myself have a number of bones to pick with some of the tactical decisions and malaprops of the Iraqi campaign. But few of them resonate with your points. What I hear you saying is, well damn it people shouldn't have to kill each other to achieve peacefull Democratic ends. In a perfect world you would be right. But we don't live in a perfect world, and that seems to be the adult realization the the utopian ideals of the left never seems to be able to come to grips with.....

- Just for a few moments stop and consider what the Middle East might be like now if back 40 years ago the Palistinians, Chief among them Arafat, would have turned all his energies to building his countries infrastructure, schools, economy, and international trade, instead of dedicating all of that money and waste of human energy and lives to "pushing the Israeli Zionist dogs into the Meditteranian sea". The examples abound of destructive extremism instead of productive building. In the larger scheme of things America is making sacrifices so the people can do what their leaders refused too, but even more to the point we're restoring stability to that region and insuring a safer future for our own generations to come as well as the rest of an ungrateful, for the present, world......

We need to NUKE SYRIA! I fu... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

We need to NUKE SYRIA! I fully support my Congressman Johnston with this view. We all knwo the WMD's ended up there.

Iraq will improve. You don;t rebuild countries overnight. Germany, Japan, took years and lots of MY TAX DOLLARS to fix up after the war...the whining Fascist Liberals don't understand a damned thing!

CNN Was built by Ted - I ha... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

CNN Was built by Ted - I hate America - Turner.

I'm tired of listening to l... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

I'm tired of listening to lefties whining that Bush "lied" about WMD. He thought they had it. Clinton thought they had it. Kerry thought they had it. France, Germany, and Russia thought they had it. Where is this supposed evidence that Bush lied , rather than simply making a mistake? I'll tell you where it is; there isn't any. If there was, it would be all over the news 24/7. Not that the MSM hasn't tried, mind you -- remember the bogus "Bush lied about uranium from Niger" flap?

There is absolutely no question about the fact that Saddam was not in compliance with the UN weapons inspection requirements; but if he kept holding out even though he didn't have a working weapons program, well, that was a poor choice on his part, wasn't it?

There have been some chemical weapons found in Iraq. IIRC, there were two incidents where artillery shells, one with VX and the other with mustard gas, were used in roadside IED's. There were also (again, IIRC) cultures found that could be used for bioweapons. Radioactives were later found in Europe that had been shipped out of Iraq before the war labeled as "scrap metal" (along with SCUD missile parts). There is also the issue of all of the nerve gas protective equipment the Iraqi army was carrying when we invaded.

All of these things have been shouted down by the MSM with a chorus of "but, but, those aren't stockpiles of WMD's!" or "but those were old weapons!"

And TS, I don't doubt you want the same end result in the ME as we do, but you've made a couple errors there. The prime-minister elect's party does NOT support Shari'a law; someone reported that Sistani had said that, and it turned out to be a bogus claim.

I don't even think that your charge of "rushing to war" needs much of a response aside from laughter.

Furthermore, claiming that the "post-war plan fell apart completely" is a load of crap. You can't have any sort of real post-war plan before you go in -- you have to make it up as you go along. That's one of the universal truths of planning, that the plan never survives first contact with the enemy intact. Were mistakes made? Damn right there were mistakes made, but we learned from them. The things our troops have managed to pull off in Iraq are without precedent in the history of warfare. Just compare the Russian attempts to take Grozny (and the horrible results) to the Marine's taking of Fallujah.

I can say pretty confidently that when it comes to military matters, you don't have a clue, and as a former soldier I can tell you that shitting all over the mission by invoking concern for the service members -- every last one of us a VOLUNTEER -- does nothing but piss us off.

TS wrote -As for ... (Below threshold)

TS wrote -
As for the journalist, like most of them, he is a corporate shill, like most of the rest of them, with a primary devotion to the bottom line, NOT to any left or right wing cause.

Don't get terminally stupid, TS - you should pay attention to the continuing exposure of the blatant leftist bias of the media. What do you think Rathergate was about? And he's not nearly the only one.

Honestly, what moron, regardless of how much they dislike our president could ever want to support a dictator.

The moron whose comment started this particular topic for one. Danny Schecter enthusiastically supported the North Vietnamese against both South Vietnam and the US. He apparently hasn't changed stripes and is now willing to support anyone who's opposed to the US regardless of what kind of oppressive regime they perpetrate on thier own people. As are many of those on the far left of American politics. Does that include you?

I am, of course, not referring to Bush's nod nod wink wink expressions of support for democracy around the world while he still continues to pal around with Middle Eastern dictators.

ROTFLMAO!! Bush has spent the last several years actually DOING something to promote and spread democracy. While the Democrats, Moron Moore, Moveon.org and others have been dragged along kicking and screaming like angry 3-year olds.

"Wink wink"???? Really? So maybe you think the present situation in Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria are just coincidence? Or maybe you think the Afghanis and Iraqis would have held their elections if Bush had followed your advice and not disposed of Saddam and the Taliban? Or maybe you think Gadaffi whould have given up his nuclear program all on his own? Or that the Ukrainian election would have played out the way it did? Y'know - if you believe in that kind of "coincidence", then you have more faith than any fundamentalist Christian or Muslim that I've ever run into. It's either faith or stupidity - your choice.

Believe it or not, there ar... (Below threshold)

Believe it or not, there are people who there who don't understand, or who don't accept, the inherent evil of autocracy. The other day I saw a posting on an Internet message board — I can't remember which one, but it wasn't one of the hard-leftist sites like DU or Metafilter — where somebody said that democracy isn't inherently better than a dictatorship. If a dictator provides social services like health care and jobs, said this particular idiot, then the dictator is better than a democracy.

Some people just don't understand the categorical imperative of freedom. So they have no problem being, in Orwell's words, "objectively pro-fascist."

There have been a number of... (Below threshold)

There have been a number of "benevolent dictatorships" throughout history - some of them have provided better government than anything else available at the time. Some of them have even been precursors to the development of "democracy."

However - (in other words - BUT) - the problem with a benevolent dictatorship is that the benevolence rarely lasts beyond the lifetime of one particular individual. The "benevolence" then deteriorates drastically and becomes what most of the Middle East has lived with for a long time now - oppression. The advantage of a Republic (or "democracy" as most are calling it now) is that it provides at least a modicum of stability beyond the immediate present - and beyond the death of a single individual. "Democracy" is demonstrably better than any dictatorship - as is self-evident to anyone who actually knows and understands history.

BTW - Syria is no more a "benevolent dictatorship" than Iraq was "before the Americans came." Anyone who thinks otherwise is too ignorant to take seriously.

To get back to the original question though - if the Vietnam protests of the 60's that Danny Schecter and others participated in were not "illegal" then the Lebanese protests today are likewise, by the same logic - NOT illegal.

Well, yes, but beyond that,... (Below threshold)

Well, yes, but beyond that, the problem with benevolent dictatorship is that it's dictatorship. Even if your master takes good care of you, you're still a slave. And that's just morally wrong. It's philosophically unacceptable.

Pragmatism only goes so far, you know? How many of us would willingly accept autocracy if the trains ran on time? Some would, to be sure, because we're lucky enough to live in a society that's never known the iron fist of autocracy. But more importantly, how many of those who naïvely accepted it out of ignorance and a desire to be free of personal responsibility would soon turn to thoughts of uprising and revolution?

On the legal/illegal thing … the protests were illegal in Lebanon because the Lebanese government had forbidden them. Of course, if our government ever tried to do that, the law itself would be illegal, and the assemblies would be legal despite the attempt at prohibiting them. But that's not the point. The point is that by referring to the protests as "illegal," Schecter implicitly de-legitimized them. And you can be sure it was no accident. As a trained journalist, Schecter knows how to use words to tell a story. He didn't accidentally slip that word "illegal" in there. He did it quite deliberately.

Jeff - I think we're... (Below threshold)

Jeff -
I think we're pretty much in agreement except for a few details. One of which is the difference between a slave and a subject. Keep in mind that slavery implies that one's body has some value and should be cared for, while a "subject" has no intrinsic value and can be disposed of at will with no loss to those in power. From at least that point of view being a slave has an advantage. But I'd be a VERY bad slave. And no better as a subject.

Which brings up the second point - those who accept autocracy "out of ignorance and a desire to be free of personal responsibility" are unlikely to revolt because it would require them to assume personal responsibility for their own actions. That kind of revolt is driven by those who habitually assume responsibility for their own lives and actions - and are willing to pay the price. Kinda like defending your country - if one is not willing to die for their country, then how much do they actually love it? No matter what the words, actions tell the truth. Witness those people who claim to love their country, but object to war in any guise and for any reason. Even though it may be the only thing that keeps them from becoming slaves - or dead. Or witness those, like the liberal author of a recent book, who have publicly expressed the desire for American initiatives in the Mid-East to fail because it would be good for Bush and the Republicans.

Finally - most "journalists" aren't really "trained" - and many of them have no objective idea about how they're using words. They have simply developed patterns based on their political biases that they are incapable of seeing. You could reasonably call it a "blind spot." That's NOT universally true, though. There are certainly those who fit your description and do what they do knowingly and with malice aforethought. I believe you may be right and Schecter may be one of those. But that's just me.

Well, I'm rambling again. But you're lucky - it's time for me to go home so you don't have to read any more of this.

Keep in mind that slaver... (Below threshold)

Keep in mind that slavery implies that one's body has some value and should be cared for

Well, not to me, but if you wanna go there, that's cool. Slavery, subjugation, whatever you want to call it. We're talking about the same thing.

most "journalists" aren't really "trained" - and many of them have no objective idea about how they're using words.

I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you here. Whether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not, we can at least all conclude that he's a good writer who doesn't slip words like "illegal" in by mistake, right? I mean, he didn't just sneeze and inadvertently mash the keyboard just so to make that word come out.






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