10/02/2005

There's something about Niger

Neocon pundit Mark Stein has a good point: Sometimes we liberals are way too US centric. For many of us, Niger is the country that got Valerie Plame 's cover blown and Bush's lies exposed two years ago. Yet we forget that there are almost 1 million kids dying of hunger this year, now, on Niger. I don't agree with much he writes, but anyone that can poke fun at the NYT shills like he did is worth a look see. Scroll down to the bottom if you don't want to gag at the rest of his reich wing pap -- law

THE LEFT'S EXTRAS

What would you say the most famous African country in America was right now? I’d go for Niger. Nary a day goes by without a dozen e-mails from aggrieved lefties claiming that I’ve “lied” about what Ambassador Joseph C Wilson IV found on his famous mission... you’d think, if he’s accomplished nothing else since he elbowed his way into the spotlight, he’d at least put Niger on the map...

Here’s the thing: There is an actual news story in Niger right now. Not the two-year controversy over Joe Wilson’s tea expenses, but rather a massive drought followed by a plague of locusts and a third of the population on the brink of starving to death. In Vermont the other day, I bumped into a leftie acquaintance who was convinced Karl Rove was about to be brought down for his campaign against the Wilsons for “telling the truth” about Niger. “Ah, Niger,” I said. “Eight hundred thousand dying kids.”

“Really?” he said, nonplussed but only momentarily, and barely pausing for breath he was soon speculating wildly about whether Rove’s “lies” would also bring down Rice and Cheney. To the left, Niger is what Alfred Hitchcock used to call “the MacGuffin”: the thing – the secret papers, the formula – that kickstarts the plot and gets Cary Grant on the run but which no-one really cares about. If Niger has Karl Rove on the run, that’s all well and good, but it’s served its purpose. ..

The hapless citizenry of Niger – or Iraq or Afghanistan - fulfill the same function as the natives in a British Empire yarn or the Injuns in an old western: they’re extras filling out the background in a story about competing factions of A-list white guys.

Take, for example, this New York Times editorial, in which disparate events on three continents are assumed to be mere local franchises of the Plame wars:

As the New York Times reporter Judith Miller enters her fifth week in jail for refusing to disclose a source, the repercussions are being felt abroad… In Burundi, government authorities jailed the journalist Etienne Ndikuriyo - for a story questioning the health of the president… In Nepal, a police inspector demanded that one newspaper editor reveal his sources for a report on fighting between the government and Maoist rebels… And in Serbia and Montenegro, two police officers visited an independent daily newspaper demanding…

Whoa, hold up a moment. This guy in Burundi, he’s a “repercussion” of the Judith Miller case? Like Burundi was a beacon of press freedom until they got the word from the Bush Administration that you can toss journalists in the slammer? Tell it to – to pluck at random - the guys at In-Burundi.net who were beaten up by gendarmes in Bujumbura three years ago. I know “all politics is local” but, if you think Etienne Ndikuriyo’s arrest in Burundi is a “repercussion” of Judy Miller, man, you’re getting way too local.

SteynOnAmerica

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