Moonmaster: Ace Journalist!

Iceshadow

Well-Known Member
Very nice, Ex Machina is awesome.

One question though: have you ever been able to convince people to pick up any of the books that you reviewed? Like has anyone told you "Thanks for telling me about this."?
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
...And my other article, a new editorial


Rethinking the "War on Terror"
By Moonmaster


Since 9/11, we've been provided with a new vocabulary, a new lexicon of words and phrases to describe the global issue of terrorism. No one has contributed more to this vocabulary than President Bush and his administration, but the problem is that this vocabulary is flawed and maybe even dangerous.

Language is a powerful tool, and Bush must have a cunning roster of speech writers behind him. After 9/11, Bush was forced to adopt a decidedly "tough-guy" attitude, and it's something he hasn't really dropped in the intervening years. With it have come some memorable, but ultimately mocked phrases. He's still catching flak for billing himself as "The Decider". Other phrases have been accepted, to a certain extent, such as the ominous "Axis of Evil". Frankly, these sound like the titles of rejected Steven Seagal films. Not to mention the constant and quite tactical invocation of September 11th and the fact that the man uses the word "freedom" as frequently as most people use the word "is". But out of all of these phrases, the most widely accepted and perhaps, most telling one is of course, "war on terror".

It's easily become a part of the national vocabulary. Politicians, news organizations, and everyday people use "war on terror" as the collective title of America's current foreign policy efforts. But it's a uniquely American term. In other countries, it's not only not used, but it's mocked. The truth is that "war on terror" is indicative of a greater problem with American foreign policy, which is a basic lack of understanding as to who we're fighting or what we're doing.

The first issue is one that is incredibly simple and incredibly profound: you can't fight a war on terror. Terrorism is an ideology. It's a philosophy, it's a tactic, call it whatever you want, but don't fool yourself into believing that it's anything tangible. There is no country called "Terrorism", there is no leader named "Terrorism", there is no physical space or group to which it is confined. No matter how hard you try, you can't wage war on an ideology. There's a reason why the Cold War lasted four decades.

And terrorism is not only not a single tangible nation or a single tangible power, but it comes in many, many forms. From Al Qaeda to Hamas, there are dozens of major terrorist groups across the world. And, believe it or not, they're not all the same thing. Terrorism immediately brings to mind angry clerics preaching Jihad, but there's more to it than that. Different groups come from different places, with different motivations and different tactics. Lumping them all together as one movement is simply irresponsible and shortsighted. It's like fighting an enemy in five completely different environments but using strategies that are only tailored to one.

When you start lumping these different groups together, you start to find confusion in where your efforts should be focused. This is why we're in Iraq. Instead of dividing our attention, we were duped into pouring everything we have into a single country that turned out to have little to do with terrorism anyway.

At this point, you may be wondering: if I think the "war on terror" is so flawed, then what do I think would fix it? Well, for one thing, a little less of the "war" part. Expounding upon my earlier point, a war on terrorism is impossible because it's an ideology. As the character V says in Alan Moore's V for Vendetta, "There's no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill. There's only an idea. And ideas are bulletproof." The government seems to have an old and serious problem with this notion, the notion that there are some things that you can't bomb or shoot. There are some problems that can't be solved with military might, even the titanic force of the US Army.

If terrorism is about ideas, then there's no way one can solve it using purely military methods. A social problem must be foremost dealt with by changing society.

The Middle East obviously has an unfavorable opinion of our country, fostered by the propagation of a generally negative image by oppressive leaders. But it’s not like we do much to help this image. We talked about spreading democracy to Iraq, but that mostly just seemed to translate to "bloody, full-scale invasion". Instead of large-scale operations, anti-terrorism efforts should consist of highly focused, surgical strikes against confirmed terrorist leaders. Why do we have to invade entire countries to stop rather small groups of terrorist leaders? In this way, we can actually subtract from the violence in the Middle East rather than adding to it. I find it hard to believe that the average Al Qaeda recruit is really all that obsessed with conquering the world in the name of Allah. It seems that many low-level terrorists are motivated less by their religious fury and more by what they perceive as everyone else filling their lives with war and chaos. Getting rid of the "bad apples" so to speak would begin to break up the structure of terrorist groups and decrease terrorist attacks. A gradual decrease in violence would beget even greater decreases, and maybe, a little bit more hope.

Another way we can curb violence is through economics. It would be unreasonable for me to blame the amount of money that gets pumped into the Middle East by the oil industry as the sole cause for all the violence, but I think it definitely fuels it. Decreasing our dependency on oil would go a far way towards bringing about change in the Middle East. The Middle East could be helped greatly by well thought-out economic efforts. While I think Capitalism is a system that’s becoming quite stagnant and dangerous here in America, it may be exactly what the Middle East needs. Many countries over there are, quite frankly, behind other parts of the world socially. They're at a stage where they could benefit from Capitalism.

But we need to be careful about what kind of ideas we export over there. There's already a lot of distaste in the Middle East for the excesses of Western culture. That's not to say that there isn't substance to our culture, it's just not what we're showing them. We're throwing our culture in their faces without letting them develop their own. As a result, the only culture of ours that they know is one that's hollow and superficial. The Soviet Union dissolved, in part, because people over there started realizing that they were missing out on a lot of good things. That attitude could be a good thing in the Middle East.

There's also a need to curb terrorism at home. Europe has a problem with usually moderate Muslims turning to extremism. Why? Again, it's an issue of culture. We've created a society that makes young Muslim men feel endangered. Many of them feel that they're people are being killed all over the world for no reason. While this is no excuse for terrorism, this is an issue that should be addressed. We have a serious problem in America with Islamophobia and it's understandable that a sizable segment of Western society feels hated, threatened, and ostracized.
I could go on about the topic of terrorism for hours, but I think I've made my point. I doubt that many would agree with my thoughts, and I know that few politicians would, but I feel like we're obviously doing something wrong and we need to figure out what to do right. The cultural battle to slow terrorism has already claimed minor victories. Here in the West, others are rethinking terrorism as well. British international development secretary Hilary Benn recently made a speech about the need for a fresh approach to the “war on terror”. "In the UK, we do not use the phrase 'war on terror' because we can't win by military means alone, and because this isn't us against one organized enemy with a clear identity and a coherent set of objectives.” He went on to say, "The fight for the kind of world that most people want can, in the end, only be won in a different battle - a battle of values and ideas." In the Middle East, there is also an unexpectedly strong cultural movement against oppression, specifically in Iran. College students have embraced Western culture and campaigned for civil rights. Last year, students risked imprisonment and death in order to protest oppressive leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, chanting “dictator” in reference to him.

In order for this to happen, we as Americans must change the way we think. Ham-fisted terms like "war on terror" only demonstrate the archaic bluntness with which we treat a very modern struggle. 9/11 was a terrible tragedy, but it seems to have stolen our rationality. We can't let grudges cloud our judgment. It's going to take rationality and imagination to impede terrorism. It's going to take a different language, a language of understanding, peace, and most of all, hope.
 

Random

Didn't **** any of those *****es
Damn they dont call you Ace Journalist for nothing. Mooney for President!
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
Here's that newspaper article I wrote that will most likely be way too long to print. Tell me what you think.




The Engine of War: Why We're Really In Iraq
By Moonmaster.

March 19, 2003. 5:30 UTC: The city of Baghdad seems awash in silence, so still and so calm that nary a sound or sign of movement can be perceived. A high-pitched cry dissects the obsidian sky, followed by a trembling cacophony of sound, flashes of light, plumes of smoke. In the proceeding chaos, the F-117 Stealth bombers soar back to the clouds from whence they came. U.S. forces have just struck Dora Farms, failing to eliminate their intended target but managing to kill one civilian and wound 14 others. America's invasion of Iraq has begun.

It would be trivial to speak of the war's growing unpopularity. It seems that Americans have become more dissatisfied with U.S. foreign policy than they've been since Vietnam. But despite how much we seem to dislike the war, so few of us seriously ask why we're there in the first place. If there were no WMDs to speak of, if Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with Al-Quaeda, if we're not "liberating" people in the name of democracy, then why in the world did this war start? The story is complex, and it won't likely be familiar, but you're going to want to hear this.

America's road to Iraq originates in 1941. (Yes, 1941.) It was that summer that the Allies invaded Iran, gaining control of its government and its oil supply. Ten years later, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was elected Prime Minister and he swiftly nationalized the country's oil industry. The Brits were very unpleased. Backed by Eisenhower and the CIA, they tried to pin Mossadegh as a communist and had him overthrown in 1953. The strict monarchy of the Shah was restored to power for the next several decades. In 1979, anti-Shah rebels overwhelmed the government and appointed Muslim scholar and outspoken critic of the monarchy, Ayatolla Ruholla Khomeini to be the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It was on the heels of the Revolution and Iran's newfound unpopularity with the West that a young Saddam Hussein decided to invade his neighbor to the East, beginning the Iran-Iraq War. Iran wasn't a fan of Western nations or companies, so the U.S. was firmly pulling for Iraq. Enough so that we were willing to hand them intelligence, financial and military aid, and weapons. A lesser-known Donald Rumsfeld was sent by Ronald Reagan to speak with Saddam on several occasions. The readily available footage of these meetings would be funny if it weren't so disturbing. (It can be easily found on YouTube, for those who are interested.) Chemical weapons used by Iraq during the war - some of which were likely provided by the U.S. - claimed over 100,000 Iranian lives.

A U.N. truce put an end to the war in 1988 and America stayed chummy with Iraq. That is, until Saddam made the fatal error of invading Kuwait, a gesture that seemed to threaten prime American oil-partner Saudi Arabia. America quickly rebuked Hussein and quashed his ambitions during the first Gulf War. Iraq was officially on America's list.

In the intervening years, certain politicos kept Iraq on their minds. A recently rediscovered video from 1994 shows Dick Cheney making some revealing comments about the war. "Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in it's place?," said Cheney. "It's a quagmire if you got that far and try to take over Iraq." Despite these comments, Cheney seemed to change his tune on Iraq just a scant few years later. Back in '97, he and Rumsfeld formed a neo-conservative think-tank called "The Project for the New American Century." PNAC laid out just how "inevitable" another war in Iraq was as early as possible. A 1998 letter by the group states: "... the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. [...] The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing."

With Bush in office and Rumsfeld and Cheney at his side, all that they needed to go into Iraq was an American people that would believe their propaganda. September 11th delivered. The Bush Administration preyed on a nation that was embroiled in a broad and hostile post-9/11 zeitgeist in order to push us into a war that they knew would be an inescapable maelstrom.

Bush can keep denying it, but it's painfully obvious that Iraq was a target long before 9/11. This suggests only one logical conclusion: America's invasion of Iraq was based primarily in the protection of American corporate interests, especially those relating personally to Bush and the U.S. oil industry. Thousands of young Americans, and Iraqi men, women, and children, dead. And all it comes down to is keeping a handful of wealthy people up to their necks in cash. Once again, the rich and powerful shove the rest of the world off of a cliff to keep themselves aloft.

You may be outraged by this, but it's certainly nothing new. World War II taught American Business that war was the most lucrative industry of all. President Eisenhower saw the danger in this and prophetically warned America to beware the "military industrial complex". Nearly 50 years later, it's clear that no one was listening. Indeed, one could easily argue that America has not entered a single foreign conflict since World War II that has not been primarily influenced by financial interests. The Business of War is an engine that runs in perpetuity. It can't be turned off or broken and it is always growing. It feeds off of the lives of thousands of ordinary Americans, and yields a small product that is only to be enjoyed by a select few. And worst of all, to most people, it's entirely invisible.

And it continues to tear its way through Iraq. There seems to be no good way to end this war. Bush speaks of "victory", but what that word even means anymore is doubtful. As happy as I'd be if all the troops came home this instant, if we leave Iraq to suddenly, the country will dissolve faster than you can say "shock and awe" and the Middle East will go to war over the pieces. Unfortunately, it appears that the only thing that ever did and ever could hold Iraq together was a tyrannical police state. By the time you read this, coalition deaths in Iraq will have far surpassed 4000, with civilian deaths since April 2005 past 27,500. Commanding general in Iraq, David Patraeus, will have released his long-awaited report on the state of the war. Bush has urged critics to withhold judgment about the troop surge until they read the report. Unfortunately, Patraeus isn't actually writing the report ... the White House is. I'm not sure how much longer I can take this kind of stupidity.

I suppose many think it immature to sit around and talk about why we're in Iraq. It's all blaming and finger pointing, they say. We should be thinking of how the war will end rather than how it began. That's a shortsighted assumption. Once Iraq is behind us, we cannot afford to forget what we've learned. They're already pitching war with Iran and North Korea won't be far behind. Despite how they'll try to convince you, war is not a necessity. Ask questions, and keep asking them. Maybe we can't stop the engine, but we can certainly slow it down.

And that's a good start.
 
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ProjectX2

Don't expect me to take you with me when I go to s
I haven't read the article yet, but I think you should read Pride of Baghdad.
 

Gideon Stargrave

Well-Known Member
Very nice, moonmaster. Honestly, I really enjoy your writing style. Everything seems almost fictionalized, like you're telling a story. It goes against the current grain of Iraq coverage; That being a circumstantial and incomplete list of facts that assist the author in whatever message they're trying to shove down their reader's throat.

Being a former writer for my school's paper I've grown accustom to reading a lot of crappy political articals where the author will just regurgitate whatever they saw on Fox or CNN, depending on what slant they want. Honestly, your writings are not only better than mine (which generally boil down to a knock-off of Hunter S. Thompson's writing style) but more expertly written than almost everything I've read at a high school level.

Now that I'm done with my lavish praise, I'm going to go and email my principal and demand that I be let back on my Newspaper's staff.
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
Thanks, everybody.
Very nice, moonmaster. Honestly, I really enjoy your writing style. Everything seems almost fictionalized, like you're telling a story. It goes against the current grain of Iraq coverage; That being a circumstantial and incomplete list of facts that assist the author in whatever message they're trying to shove down their reader's throat.

Being a former writer for my school's paper I've grown accustom to reading a lot of crappy political articals where the author will just regurgitate whatever they saw on Fox or CNN, depending on what slant they want. Honestly, your writings are not only better than mine (which generally boil down to a knock-off of Hunter S. Thompson's writing style) but more expertly written than almost everything I've read at a high school level.

Now that I'm done with my lavish praise, I'm going to go and email my principal and demand that I be let back on my Newspaper's staff.
I'd like to know why you're not working for the paper anymore.

I'm imagining that you took a photo of some inappropriate body part and had it put on the front page.
 

Gideon Stargrave

Well-Known Member
Thanks, everybody.

I'd like to know why you're not working for the paper anymore.

I'm imagining that you took a photo of some inappropriate body part and had it put on the front page.

Generally? The student editor hates me (though I don't quite know why), I refused to write anything that I thought was pointless (We hired a new cafeteria lady? oooh!) and generally was too liberal with certain words that I was asked not to use.

I also may have compared the Principal to Kenneth Kaunda. Personally, I thought that the analogy was brilliant.
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
Generally? The student editor hates me (though I don't quite know why), I refused to write anything that I thought was pointless (We hired a new cafeteria lady? oooh!) and generally was too liberal with certain words that I was asked not to use.

I also may have compared the Principal to Kenneth Kaunda. Personally, I thought that the analogy was brilliant.
:lol:

I've only ever been assigned one story. It was something about the Fall play, freshman or sophomore year. It was terrible. I was just rewording an interview someone gave me. I've never done an assigned story since.
 

Random

Didn't **** any of those *****es
Moony you are awesome, you definitely have talent, seriously go to college for journalism
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
Moony you are awesome, you definitely have talent, seriously go to college for journalism
No thank you. I'm planning on majoring in fiction writing.

I have absolutely zero interest in anything to do with journalism beyond what my crazy little heart wants to write. I don't want to be roped into the specifics of running or putting together a newspaper. I just like to write.
 

Gideon Stargrave

Well-Known Member
No thank you. I'm planning on majoring in fiction writing.

I have absolutely zero interest in anything to do with journalism beyond what my crazy little heart wants to write. I don't want to be roped into the specifics of running or putting together a newspaper. I just like to write.

You can be a journalist without working for a newspaper.
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
You can be a journalist without working for a newspaper.
I know that.

A friend just asked me if I wanted to write something for a magazine she's trying to publish. Her description of the political attitude of the magazine:

"Blow up the police station, burn down the building, shoot all the cops."

I don't think I'm anarchist enough for that.
 

Planet-man

Well-Known Member
I know that.

A friend just asked me if I wanted to write something for a magazine she's trying to publish. Her description of the political attitude of the magazine:

"Blow up the police station, burn down the building, shoot all the cops."

I don't think I'm anarchist enough for that.

Going by statement number 2/3 there, I'm not sure your friend knows enough about anarchism to be trying to publish this....:?
 

moonmaster

Without him, all of you would be lost souls roamin
Going by statement number 2/3 there, I'm not sure your friend knows enough about anarchism to be trying to publish this....:?
Oh, I don't think anarchism is necessarily the main theme of the magazine and I'm sure she understands what anarchism really is, I was just using the word anarchist in the more non-political sense.
 

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