November 23, 2004


A professor at a military-related institution sends this note to The Corner:

My little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle began. He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I've yet to see a report in the media of this. Imagine that.

Someone inform The Age’s art propaganda unit. Hey, remember that Abu Ghraib deal? Photographs and video of prisoners being mistreated? It was mentioned once or twice in the newspapers, I think. Well, something similar has taken place in the Congo -- similar, but possibly much worse:

The United Nations is investigating about 150 allegations of sexual abuse by UN civilian staff and soldiers in the Congo, some of them recorded on videotape, a senior UN official said today.

The accusations include pedophilia, rape and prostitution, said Jane Holl Lute, an assistant secretary-general in the peacekeeping department.

Ms Lute, an American, said there was photographic and video evidence for some of the allegations and most of the allegations came to light since the spring.

UPDATE. Take another look at the Ron Tandberg cartoon linked above, which depicts grinning Americans (and an Australian) raining death upon Fallujah from the safety of the "high moral ground". Try to reconcile Tandberg’s view with this report from the New York Times:

Eight days after the Americans entered the city on foot, a pair of marines wound their way up the darkened innards of a minaret, shot through with holes by an American tank.

As the marines inched upward, a burst of gunfire rang down, fired by an insurgent hiding in the top of the tower. The bullets hit the first marine in the face, his blood spattering the marine behind him. The marine in the rear tumbled backward down the stairwell, while Lance Cpl. William Miller, age 22, lay in silence halfway up, mortally wounded.

"Miller!" the marines called from below. "Miller!"

With that, the marines' near mystical commandment against leaving a comrade behind seized the group. One after another, the young marines dashed into the minaret, into darkness and into gunfire, and wound their way up the stairs.

After four attempts, Corporal Miller's lifeless body emerged from the tower, his comrades choking and covered with dust. With more insurgents closing in, the marines ran through volleys of machine-gun fire back to their base.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 23, 2004 01:37 PM

The silence will be deafening

Posted by: nic at November 23, 2004 at 02:06 PM

See also Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, etc., etc.

Sending the U.N. into a country is the equivalent of an act of war.

Posted by: gnotalex at November 23, 2004 at 02:22 PM

"I have long made it clear that my attitude to sexual exploitation and abuse is one of zero tolerance, without exception, and I am determined to implement this policy in the most transparent manner," Mr Annan said.

Aren't Annan's staff threatening to strike because of his inaction against a friend who committed sexual exploitation and abuse at the U.N?

Posted by: gubbaboy at November 23, 2004 at 02:26 PM

Ties in with the recent Glass House episode where an author detailed the episode of the U.N Peacekeeper.She shared a Medivac helicopter with him when he was airlifted still attatched to a goat.The Medics joked of putting him down and saving the goat.(The author/journalist swore it was true and that it is in her book about East Timor.) Nationality of the human casualty shall remain secret -(I heard it.)Read something ages ago about (different nationality )U.N.staff introducing AIDS to East Timor, refusing to use condoms with prostitutes.

Posted by: crash at November 23, 2004 at 02:33 PM

Yet despite instances like this, a sizeable bloc of Age-readers continue to imagine the UN as if the Security Council were some wise tribunal composed of Jean-Luc Picard and six Vulcans, instead of a body where France ("No Nuclear Tests In The Pacific!"), Red China ("Free Tibet!") and Russia ("Free Chechnya!") enjoy a paralysing veto power.

It seems that the "reality-based community" cannot bear too much reality.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at November 23, 2004 at 02:37 PM

Check it out: Fat Mikey's been dubbed "the coldest celebrity in Hollywood." I always thought tons of blubber kept you warm, though. Maybe it only works for seals and whales.

Posted by: Irene Adler at November 23, 2004 at 02:50 PM

Oh wait, sorry, Tim's already blogged that item below. Serves me right for not reading all the posts. . .and my link didn't work anyways. Mea culpa.

Posted by: Irene Adler at November 23, 2004 at 02:53 PM

That was mighty decent of the Iraqi's in Fallujah. Truly. Being forced to leave your home in the care of armed strangers is not the easiest of conditions.

The UN, on the other hand, continues to be a plague of locusts where ever that august organization. And I'll bet they are inedible. PTUI!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 23, 2004 at 03:06 PM

Just read the update, tim. Thanks for posting it.

What does Tandberg and The Age know about the "morale high ground"? Nada.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 23, 2004 at 03:34 PM

"Try to reconcile Tandberg’s view with this report from the New York Times .."

Tandberg's view is the world as he believes it is, never mind the facts. In his world, the coalition forces are worthy only of mockery. It's obscene, somehow.

It's one thing to mock people who aren't putting themselves in harm's way so people like Tandberg can continue penning his cartoons. Mock Bush and his supporters all you want .. no problem. But, when we have cartoons depicting our soldiers as he does it makes me sick to my stomach.

I've had relatives fighting in Iraq. Thankfully, nobody has been killed yet. I can't imagine how I'd feel if a loved one were killed and I came upon a cartoon like Tandberg's.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at November 23, 2004 at 03:48 PM

Is there any other link to the Age photos ? I'll be fucked if I'm going to register, free or not.....

Posted by: FusterCluck at November 23, 2004 at 03:54 PM

FC ... to the rescue!

User name: AvHelsing
Password: vaderetro

Posted by: LissaKay at November 23, 2004 at 04:32 PM

Sending the U.N. into a country is the equivalent of an act of war.

This is close, but I think this is more accurate to say:

Sending the U.N. into a country is a war crime.

Posted by: perfectsense at November 23, 2004 at 04:37 PM

Get off Ron Tandberg's case. This guy has been to hell and back and has more moral authority to comment on what goes on in battle than anyone on this web site.

Tandberg believes it was his time as a teacher during the 1960s that made him political. "There were a lot of power battles between unions and management at the time, and teachers were very politically aware,” he said.

He knows how to outwait the enemy:

A good example is when he won an art prize where the judges were looking for originality. "Instead of copying a picture as most people did, I spent painstaking time with my hand in a cage with a budgie perched on my finger. It took a lot of patience!" he said.

So unless you Chickenhawks have actually put your life in danger by confronting budgies, I'd just shut up. Okay?

Posted by: Hanyu at November 23, 2004 at 05:02 PM

Hanyu, I'm curious....what did Ron do when the budgie took a crap? Does the article go into that level of detail?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 23, 2004 at 05:16 PM

Hanyu - a budgie? What a wimp. True, steel-hearted bravery would have consisted of putting his hand in the cage occupied by my old roommate's pet parrot, Citrus. That bastard was the original biter of the hand that fed it, and he wasn't exactly tiny. A few seconds in the art gallery with Citrus and he would have been Tandberg Of The Nine Fingers (which, admittedly, would also have been pretty "original").

Posted by: Sonetka at November 23, 2004 at 05:19 PM

does anyone have an email addy for tanberg? after reading the update i'm one unhappy puppy.

Posted by: rosceo at November 23, 2004 at 06:19 PM

I second that rosceo.

I'm sitting here with steam coming out my ears.

Literaly steaming.

I went to the AGE site,no way I can see there to contact anyone who would care.

I need to get access to this Scum Pond to shoot a virtual rocket so far up his arse that he wont come down for a month.

Thanks for that update Tim, Wow !!.

Posted by: Aussie Old Fart at November 23, 2004 at 07:25 PM

If there were the political will-power, it could be fixed by removing all the troops and replacing them with Anglospherians.

Posted by: Andjam at November 23, 2004 at 09:42 PM

I hate to say this, but after reading both of Bernard Goldberg's books, (Biased and Arrogance), and having relative working for Fairfax, we face one almost insurmountable problem - the liberal or left of centre journalists don't think they have a bias. They think they are "normal" and as usual, when you only think with a limited number of ideas, one tends to come up with an equally limited number of explanations or points of view.

And from experience, I don't think one can change them, even with overwhelming contradictory fact.

Posted by: Louis Hissink at November 23, 2004 at 09:55 PM

Could someone explain to me why Michael Leunig's November 18 cartoon depicts Colin Powell as a WHITE MAN?!?!

Posted by: Richard at November 23, 2004 at 10:51 PM

Could someone explain to me why Michael Leunig's November 18 cartoon depicts Colin Powell as a WHITE MAN?!?!

Posted by: Richard at November 23, 2004 at 10:54 PM

Aren't cartoons supposed to be funny?

And don't newspaper readers deserve originality as much as judges of art competitions?

Posted by: rexie at November 23, 2004 at 10:55 PM

Freakin' Fairfax is cookie-happy. Sorry, no thanks, don't want none...

I'l survive somehow without 'em.

Posted by: mojo at November 24, 2004 at 01:47 AM

I'm thinking of these brave, true-hearted Marines who went back for their fallen brother. I then think of President Bush, who fought his own way through a crowd to retrieve his Secret Service agent. "A breach of protocol," sniffed one newspaper reporter. He "acted like a cowboy."

More than that, sir - he acted like a soldier. That, my friends, is a Commander-in-Chief. This is the sort of guy for whom an agent would take a bullet.

Tanberg can cram it with walnuts, from the safety of his own home, precisely because men like these Marines are out doing the dirty work. For that matter, I can complain about him from the safety of my own home for the same reason. On behalf of all who do not fight, all our thanks to those who do.

Posted by: Nightfly at November 24, 2004 at 02:59 AM

There is no link to Tandberg himself, but here is a link where you can complain to The Age. Not that it would make a budgie's crap worth of difference, but it's satisfying nonetheless.

Posted by: Rebecca at November 24, 2004 at 03:56 AM

Many thanks for that Rebecca.
I go now to pour some satisfying vitriol on someones arse at the AGE.
Or something.
You know what I mean.

Posted by: Aussie Old Fart at November 24, 2004 at 05:38 AM

Hanyu -- So he'd be a budgiehawk?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at November 24, 2004 at 11:21 AM

Richard - he'd be a warbudgie.

I think that was one of the rejected names for the new Washington baseball franchise here in the States. Pity; I'd buy a cap with a Warbudgie logo on it.

Posted by: Nightfly at November 25, 2004 at 12:28 AM

Re Tandberg, I asked him the following question at the Melbourne Press Club's love-in on 29/10/04 during a session on “The art of the political cartoonist”.

Me: "This is not a friendly question.
On October 12 (2004) you had a cartoon with someone asking Howard, “Will you keep lying?” and Howard’s reply was “I have a mandate!”.
I would mention that on 28/8/04, your own (Age’s) national editor Mike Gordon, who was addressing this meeting an hour or two ago, analysed the 27 “lie” allegations that the Labor Party had assembled against Howard. Gordon found that virtually none of these alleged lies could be substantiated. Given that you have accused Howard maybe 100 times of lying, can you specify one lie he has told, otherwise are you really just in the smear business?”
{Incredulous gasp from audience}
Tandberg: “I must have misjudged the man.” (Laughter).
He then said that he heard a lot of reports about Howard lying, and he took his line from those reports.
Readers, so much for Tandberg and his 'moral high ground'!

Posted by: tony thomas at November 25, 2004 at 01:11 PM