In the blogs today, liberalsare scoffing at President Bush's nomination of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. There's also speculation about whether U.S. troops tried to kill an Italian journalist after she was released from captivity in Iraq. Other bloggers ponder terrorist threats against the Indian IT sector and actor Russell Crowe.
"U.N." nominee: Bloggers are asking why President Bush would appoint Bolton as U.N. ambassador considering that he once said that "there's no such thing as the United Nations" and "if the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."
Aristocratic liberal TheNattering Nabob complains: "Bolton has been appointed to be ambassador to an organization that he claims does not exist.… Bush appoints people to head agencies who hate what the agency stands for all the time. This is so much easier than gutting the agencies, because you actually have to persuade people and pass bills and do messy stuff like compromise in order to do that." Democratic superblog Daily Kos writes: "[Bush] gave yet another middle finger [to] the world community. And while conservatives can pat themselves on the back, content in their oh-so-clever 'message' to the world, our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to die in increasing anonymity." ThinkProgress, a blog maintained by "nonpartisan" think tank Center for American Progress, catalogs Bolton's antidiplomatic statements and notes that Jesse Helms called Bolton "the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at the gates of Armageddon."
Conservative Pejman Yousefzadeh takes Bolton seriously: "Bolton's sin—if he has one—is that he has spoken out loud what many people believe in private about the U.N., North Korea, and other trouble spots in the world. … Perhaps this kind of thing hurts sensitive ears, but many of Bolton's comments should have been said by higher-ranking diplomats long ago." Libertarian blog Q&O claims that Bush does too respect the United Nations. "You don't select a hard-line UN reformer as Ambassador to that body because you think it's a worthless organization at worst, and a bothersome nuisance at best," it points out. "You select a guy like Mr. Bolton because you beleive that a reformed UN, one that is accountable, and that takes a realistic view of the legitimacy of non-democratic governments, might be a great force for good."
Rome syndrome?: Last Friday, the Italian government negotiated the freedom of journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who had been held hostage in Iraq for a month. U.S. soldiers fired on the car carrying her to safety, wounding Sgrena and killing an Italian secret service agent; Sgrena has since claimed that the United States was trying to kill her. "Crazy liberal" Cerulean Ink writes, "I'm inclined to believe the Italian version of the events over Washington's cookie-cutter story … [but] it seems far-fetched that American troops would leave Sgrena alive if it had indeed been an ambush as she claims." Noting that the Italian government has paid at least $15 million in ransoms over the past year, conservative superstar Michelle Malkin calls Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi an "idiotarian." Self-proclaimed contrarian Scylla and Charybdis goes much further: "It seems more plausible that the entire affair was faked. The objective of the fake kidnapping was to create public pressure in Italy for the Italian government to withdraw troops." Democratic Underground calls out right-wing bloggers like Little Green Footballs for attempting to discredit Sgrena by falsely claiming that her car suffered minimal damage. LGF continues to question the Italian journalist's credibility, but blames the Associated Press for misidentifying her car."Girl blogger" Riverbend writes from Iraq, "After everything that occurred in Iraq- Abu Ghraib, beatings, torture, people detained for months and months, the stealing, the rape… is this latest so very shocking? Or is it shocking because the victims weren't Iraqi?" In the same post, she complains that the Western media overlooked the aftermath of an explosion in Baghdad last week. Riverbend claims that when doctors in a Baghdad hospital refused to give wounded members of the Iraqi National Guard preferential treatment over civilians, a few guardsmen beat the doctors up.
Read more about Sgrena here.
Cultural destabilization: The Indian press reveals that Kashmiri insurgents planned to attack several Indian call centers and IT firms. A commentator on Slashdot wonders why consulting firms that reap rewards from offshoring don't point out that "[s]afety is much much lower in India…Someone may steal your data, source code and there is nothing you can do about it." A blogger based in Bangalore writes, "From an information security perspective, we are definitely ready to face any situation. However, from a physical security perspective, IT companies say that since matters like terrorist threat concerns the government, it should step up security measures."
In this month's GQ, Russell Crowe declares that he was targeted by al-Qaida in 2001 as part of a "cultural destabilization" plot. "Cultural destabilization? Couldn't they take Britney Spears instead? Or perhaps bomb the Baldwins, ala South Park?" muttersSecure Liberty.