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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Nikkos: "Why Sy Hersh is Wrong (just this once)"

Spot The Arab (by their style of doorway)

Thanks to NIKKOS who contributed this great piece on Sy Hersh - THANKS NIKKOS!

Hersh's latest piece in the New Yorker is as terrifying as usual. Among
other things, it posits a shift (the "redirection" of the article's title)
in the Bush administrations' strategy in the Middle East, specifically, an
explicit decision to support Sunnis rather than Shia. If true, this would
represent a stunning reversal in alliances, considering it was the
virulently Sunni Al Qaeda that attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and that the U.S.
is currently fighting a counter-insurgency war against Sunnis in support of
the Shia Maliki government in Iraq. However, for anyone that's been watching
the unfolding disaster which is the Bush administration, these sorts of
vertigo-inducing paradoxes are par for the course.

As usual, it's hard to tell if these are acts of stupidity, strategy or
desperation. The mind reels and grasps for a "logical" explanation, a
narrative which can impose some semblance of order upon the chaos which Bush
and his cronies seem to foment everywhere they traipse. And it is here where
I think Hersh- or more accurately and fairly, his sources- get it wrong.
They get it wrong because they seek to make to make sense out of what the
Bush administration is doing, when there is, literally, no sense to be made
of the situation. Or, to use a favorite phrase of the President, "in other
words," what's going on here is not a rational re-alignment of alliances and
interests in the pursuit of some rational goal- democracy, peace and
stability in the Middle East, for instance. Rather, as has been amply
documented, the Bush administration believes in "constructive chaos" in the
Middle East; that is, the belief that, phoenix-like, a modern Middle East
can emerge only from the flames of destruction. Therefore, conflict is to be
embraced, not feared, for it is only through conflict that the Middle East
can be reborn (though there may be some "pangs," as Condi pointed out).

When viewed in this context, then, Hersh's reporting makes more sense: it's
not that we are switching sides; we're merely making sure both sides are
properly armed and that as a whole, the region is left perpetually
off-balance and unable to respond with any unity to the increasing hegemony
of the United States. The increased tempo of this destabilization may in
fact be part and parcel of an impending military strike against Iran- what
better way to blunt a unified Middle Eastern response than to make sure the
locals are busy fighting each other? Heck, it's just like in the good ol'
days when we armed Saddam on the one hand and clandestinely armed the
Iranians on the other. (Interestingly enough, Iran-Contra is back in the
news, with reports that Negroponte stepped down from DNI in order to go to
State precisely to avoid another Iran-Contra-like debacle which he saw

So, yes, it IS a redirection- but not the kind Sy Hersh's sources envision.

- posted by Nikkos

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