HAMMERNEWS- Michael Hammerschlag

Current Political Commentary by journalist Michael Hammerschlag; Thoughts on foreign policy, Republican outrages, liberal strategies, science by 8 year correspondent in Russia/Ukraine over 22 years and longtime commentator; Website: http://HAMMERNEWS.com

Monday, June 27, 2005

LAT WIKITORIAL + Crossfire on women

I wrote about 1/4- 1/3 of the LAT Wikitorial and edited the lousy writing of the rest of it, as it went through rapid and violent permutations, and my changes were holding through other peoples alterations. Some were quite stupid: changing the name to Dreams About War and Retribution, was inappropriate, but I tried too much to respect others ideas and cleaned up lousy paras rather than delete them. Earlier Version from 2am Fri night June 18 . Right wingers would periodically try to change the whole point of the article to the opposite- notably the long suppressed Downing St. Memo info, but it would quickly be reverted to the liberal version. It had become much more liberal and anti-administration than the original, but became more moderate and accurate as extreme views were pruned, as wikis are wont to do.

THEN on Sat night, some scumbag (presumably in Eastern Europe or Russia) put up some porn picture, which I deleted. Then we engaged in running battle for over 3 hours 3:30am-7:30am EDT, me (and one other) replacing the gnarly pic with the article and the e-terrorist replacing it every minute. The history shows all changes and user names, but obviously there was no control on registration, which only required an email address. Called LAT, but nobody works anywhere in the middle of the night- the security guard said if some big news event happened, they'd "turn on the TV". But by 7:30am, others had taken over and the editor had locked out changes.

By Sunday afternoon, they had yanked it; and I thought they would just replace it after blocking pictures, but it's stayed down. Apparently they're terrified by the ramifications or liability; really too bad, but it's inexplicable they couldn't predict this.

Great experiment- they should have courage to finish it- just needed to block image or video links. Michael Kinsley is right- the unsigned editorial is weak- I really don't read them, because they're committee productions rife with poor writing, compromised ideals, and fuzzy thinking. He and Andrew Newman deserve much credit for taking such a clever populist step. NYT is too stogy, WashPost has become a sneering pro-war rag, any real innovations could come from LAT.

Rather than give unlimited control to the masses, how about replace some of the forced commentaries by spent columnists with one rotating column, written once or twice a month by 15-20 of the best commentary writers without regular venue. Like, uh, me, who has been turning out prescient commentaries for 25 years.

The horific bombing/shooting of mostly women Marines who search Iraqi women in Fallujah show a quantum leap in insurgent tactics. This wasn't a typical bomb and run- this was a bombing followed by triangulated fire from 3 sides- it's surprising any survived (4 women died and 11 were wounded). It's possible they were specifically targeted to maximize shock to US populace; so far we've been lucky that Muslim fear/distaste/respect of women has precluded gang rape or targeted killings of women (like probably would have happened in Bosnia if we'd had female ground troops). 40 women have died now in Iraq, more than in 10 years of Vietnam. As someone mentioned, men with 4 kids once received deferments- why should similar women serve in combat? Feminists who demand this "right" are locked in a 70's flashback of feminism. I've seen women in Russia forced to work all kinds of government jobs- they have no such illusion that killing in combat is a "right" they should aspire to.

"In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll last month, 54 percent said they opposed female combat troops, while 44 percent said they favored it. " -CNN

Meanwhile Iraqis are being blasted by the thousands in industrial level bomb attacks. Yet, the Dick Cheney thinks the "insurgency is in its last throes." By, uh, deadenders. That might be right, since they are all blowing themselves up.


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