All posts by Rand Simberg

“Furriners” and CNN

What is the deal with these people? Do they really believe that most Americans get their news exclusively from CNN, or that they get any of their news from that source? Even in the last few weeks, which has been a period of the highest ratings the channel has had since the Gulf War, fewer than two million people were watching it during prime time–it momentarily pulled them back ahead of Fox, the new kid on the block. I would venture to say that CNN still falls far behind ABCCBSNBC as the main source for Americans’ news. (My primary source is actually periodicals on the net–the only dead-tree news source that I read regularly is the Economist.)

I don’t have the data handy, but I’d be willing to bet that many more people overseas get their news from CNN than Americans, both in absolute terms, and on a percentage basis. I suspect that what’s happening here is projection–since they get a lot of their news from CNN, and it’s the only American news outlet that they regularly see, they assume that Americans do as well, and that our opinions are formed by the contents of that source. What I find amusing about this, and the only reason that I’m ranting about it, is that this implies that they are apparently as pig-ignorant about Americans as they claim that we are about them and events overseas in general.

“Furriners” and CNN

What is the deal with these people? Do they really believe that most Americans get their news exclusively from CNN, or that they get any of their news from that source? Even in the last few weeks, which has been a period of the highest ratings the channel has had since the Gulf War, fewer than two million people were watching it during prime time–it momentarily pulled them back ahead of Fox, the new kid on the block. I would venture to say that CNN still falls far behind ABCCBSNBC as the main source for Americans’ news. (My primary source is actually periodicals on the net–the only dead-tree news source that I read regularly is the Economist.)

I don’t have the data handy, but I’d be willing to bet that many more people overseas get their news from CNN than Americans, both in absolute terms, and on a percentage basis. I suspect that what’s happening here is projection–since they get a lot of their news from CNN, and it’s the only American news outlet that they regularly see, they assume that Americans do as well, and that our opinions are formed by the contents of that source. What I find amusing about this, and the only reason that I’m ranting about it, is that this implies that they are apparently as pig-ignorant about Americans as they claim that we are about them and events overseas in general.

Proportionality

Even if you use the Taliban’s inflated numbers and the Taliban sticks around until next spring, we’ll still have plenty left on the balance sheet for when we move beyond Afghanistan.

I would go beyond that. There should be some discount factor to account for deliberate murder of civilians vs accidental casualties in waging legitimate war. Such a factor would also account for the unknowable numbers of future civilians saved by rooting out the infection as soon as possible. I’m not sure what the discount rate should be, but even if tens of thousands of civilians die collaterally (though I think that unlikely and unnecessary, unless it’s because the scum choose to hide behind the skirts of their women and children, as Saddam did), it might be acceptable to prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands, both in the West and in the Mideast, in the absence of such necessary action.

Anyway, as Professor Reynolds noted yesterday, Mary Robinson’s definition of proportionality (no civilian casualties) truly is a prescription for no war at all, which is tantamount to utter defeat for civilization.

Web Slander/Libel

I’m not sure to just what “ravings” Mr. Dog is referring, since he provides no actual quotes, but anyone can do a deja and see that I for one, have never proposed nuclear carpetbombing of Afghanistan, or even using nukes, though I may have said that it was conceivable that this might be required at some point as the war progresses (though I seriously doubt that they would ever have any utility in Afghanistan, other than possibly some small tactical nukes to flush out caves, but even this would be unlikely). I have also never proposed murdering survivors of such an attack, or sterilizing anyone.

I should also add, in response to what was to me the greatest insult, that I almost never watch CNN, and I certainly don’t consider it a source of useful knowledge. It is true that I have proposed that we may have to do what we did in Japan and Germany (not nuke, but subjugate, install a decent government, and reeducate) to have a true long-term solution to the Current Unpleasantness. Perhaps this is what upset him.

I am genuinely curious as to just what it was that I wrote that got his canine panties sufficiently in knots that he felt compelled to slander me on his web site, but whatever it was, I hope that this sets the record straight until he chooses to elaborate.

Taliban Emigration Update

[Update] At the risk of destroying the pristine value of a potential Iowahawk classic, I’ve come up with a new verse, and invite readers to contribute more…

Convoy!

[Ah, breaker one-nine, this here’s the Fatwa Duck. You got a copy on me, Goatpen? C’mon. Ah, yeah, ten-four, Goatpen, for sure, for sure. By golly, it’s clean clear to Kabultown. C’mon. Yeah, that’s a big ten-four there, Goatpen. Yeah, we definitely got the tent door, good buddy. Allah Akbar alive, looks like we got us a convoy.]

It was the dark of the moon on an old sand dune

And a camel pullin’ logs

Cab-over Pete with some poppies on

And a Jimmy haulin’ wogs

We’s headin’ for death on the Old Silk Road

‘Bout a mile outta Shakeytown

I says ‘Goatpen, this here’s Fatwa Duck’

‘And I’m about to put the jihad down’

{chorus}
‘Cause we got a big old convoy rockin’ thru the night

Yeah, we got a big old convoy, martyrs packed in tight

Come on and join our convoy, six dozen virgins await

Gonna roll this truckin’ convoy, to Allah’s pearly gate

Convoy!

We got Saudis, Egyptions, Lebanese and Yemenese, and

Folks down from Gaza Strip.

We’ve even got an idiot from Oregon

All eager for the trip

If our stingers don’t work, and the gunships home in

And they blow us all to Kingdom Come

We’ll send up a prayer to keep the virgins in stock

With an extra ration of rum

{chorus}

‘Cause we got a big old convoy rockin’ thru the night

Yeah, we got a big old convoy, martyrs packed in tight

Come on and join our convoy, six dozen virgins await

Gonna roll this truckin’ convoy, to Allah’s pearly gate

Convoy!

[Ah, breaker, Pigpen, this here’s Fatwa Duck ‘n’ you wanna back off them hogs? Ah, ten-four. About 5 mile or so. Ten roger. Them infidels is gettin’ INtense up here. Aaaagghhhh!!!]

Sing it with your friends tonight…

Bellicose Afghan Women

Sharifa’s neighbour, Parigul, a 55-year-old widow whose husband was killed fighting the Taliban, was shot through the arm in the cornfield battle, but vows that she will fight again if needed.

The article also notes that

The women here have an extra incentive to fight off the enemy. During previous raids, Taliban fighters have raped some women and kidnapped others as sex slaves – despite their regime’s official commitment to a fanatical Islamic experiment.

Hmmmm….Do you get more or fewer than seventy-two virgins if you’re martyred by a lowly woman?

Looking Out For Number One

But not our fearless leaders. According to Tom Delay, we “little people” aren’t important enough to be bombed, so the focus should be on protecting our invaluable and irreplaceable statesmen and stateswomen. As Steyn caustically and accurately points out, “Given that the comparative losses of the war since Sept. 11 are Nobodies: 5,000, Symbols: zip, DeLay’s remark is at the very least in extraordinarily bad taste.”

As usual, I can find very little to add to Steyn’s comments. Go read it.