What began as a crusade for civility has soured into a cause of conflict and even censorship

What has the Right and Faux News focused on the past 24 hours? The dropped charges against the Duke Lacrosse players. Its great that the same people that smeared and continue to smear the honorable Senator Kerry have suddenly, if only for a second decided that the truth matters.

The ACLU has released Civilian Deaths: The Human Cost of War. While an incredible documentation of war’s brutality there is a surreality to putting a price on lose.

Claim filed on behalf of Iraqi [Redacted] by child. [Redacted] was shot and killed by Coalition Forces (CF) on the road after he didn’t stop at their checkpoint. CF had closed the road in order to secure a weapon from the middle of the road. Finding: denied due to negligence of [Redacted].

Claim on behalf of Iraqi [Redacted] by husband. Husband, wife, and children were returning home from a party when they were fired on by Coalition Forces (CF). An RPG had been previously fired at CF and CF were returning fire when they struck and killed [Redacted]. The vehicle was also damaged by gunfire. Finding: not included. A condolence payment of $4,000 US total ($2,500 for death and $1,500 for damage) is offered and justified as follows: “By making this condolence payment, MNF ensures the family and community recognize the MNFs’ sympathy for the unfortunate occurrence. Support will positively influence both the community and local Iraqi leaders.”

Next. NYT has a story on the release of these documents, Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War

The paperwork, examined by The New York Times, provides unusually detailed accounts of how bystanders to the conflicts have become targets of American forces grappling to identify who is friend, who is foe.

In the case of the fisherman in Tikrit, he and his companion desperately tried to appear unthreatening to an American helicopter overhead.

“They held up the fish in the air and shouted ‘Fish! Fish!’ to show they meant no harm,” said the Army report attached to the claim filed by the fisherman’s family. The Army refused to compensate for the killing, ruling that it was “combat activity,” but approved $3,500 for his boat, net and cellphone, which drifted away and were stolen.

In the killings at the gas station in Balad, documents show that the Army determined that the neither of the dead Iraqis had done anything hostile or criminal, and approved $5,000 to the civilian’s brother but nothing for the Iraqi officer.

In another incident, in 2005, an American soldier in a dangerous Sunni Arab area south of Baghdad killed a boy after mistaking his book bag for a bomb satchel. The Army paid the boy’s uncle $500.

This shouldn’t be taken as an indictment of the military. Iraq and Afghanistan are combat zones. Their lives are at risk 24/7. Imagine the stress they are under. Haditha aside most soldiers do respect life, but the stress of not knowing how, who or when they might be attacked takes a toll. Ultimately the responsibility for this carnage, avoidable carnage rests with Bush and the rest of the neocon cheerleaders.

Those missing e-mails Leahy: Missing RNC E-mails are like Nixon’s 18-minute gap are not an isolated incident. This kind of behavior is standard operating procedure, UPDATED: The 18-minute gap and the Saturday Night Massacre, all rolled up into one

Newsweek, February 28, 2007:

what happened to a crucial video recording of Padilla being interrogated in a U.S. military brig that has mysteriously disappeared?

NPR, June 24, 2004:

Key documents are missing from the batch of newly declassified documents the White House released this week on its policies on torture and the treatment of prisoners

USA Today, May 24, 2004:

some 2,000 pages were missing from a congressional copy of a classified report detailing the alleged acts of abuse by soldiers against Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison

More at the link.

Today’s intentional or unintentional humor courtesy Opinion Journal at the WSJ where conservative Daniel Henninger writes, The Rebirth of Civility? A revolt against people who are behaving badly. BY DANIEL HENNINGER, Thursday, April 12, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

In 1968, Abbie Hoffman, the Yippie saint and a founding father of anti-civility, wrote a book whose title alone still stands as the best summary of the new game: “Revolution for the Hell of It.” The Web democrats, the public hecklers, the loudmouths are Abbie’s children. They know it and are proud of it. No limits. Don’t like it? Get over it. If you object, they will, like characters in a Dick Tracy cartoon, scream, “I demand my constitutional rights!”

To make a point about discourse on the web Dan reaches all the way back to an obscure figure from the sixties who is most famous for participating in riots aimed at Democrats, so Dan can do a strange pretzel twist to lay the blame for all of the meanness on the web at the feet of liberals. Conservatives have set the standard for debate in our modern culture

Glenn Beck – nationally syndicated radio and has a program on CNN:
Beck called Rosie O’Donnell, co-host of ABC’s The View, a “fat witch,” claimed that O’Donnell has “blubber … just pouring out of her eyes,” and asked, “Do you know how many oil lamps we could keep burning just on Rosie O’Donnell fat?”

Referring to Senator Clinton: she’s the stereotypical bitch, you know what I mean?” Beck subsequently qualified his statement: “I never said that Hillary Clinton was a bitch. I said she sounded like one.”

Neal Boortz:
On the March 31, 2006, broadcast of his radio program, Boortz said that then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) “looks like a ghetto slut.” ( I’m not a big fan of M’s McKinney, but that doesn’t sound like civil criticism)

Boortz suggested that a victim of Hurricane Katrina housed in an Atlanta hotel consider prostitution. “If that’s the only way she can take care of herself,” Boortz posited, “it sure beats the hell out of sucking off the taxpayers.”

Multi-millionsire right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh:
Rush Limbaugh stated that “since [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-IL] has — on his mother’s side — forebears of his mother had slaves, could we not say that if Obama wins the Democratic nomination and then wins the presidency, he will own [Rev.] Al Sharpton?”

Limbaugh commented on a season of CBS’ reality TV program Survivor in which contestants were originally divided into competing “tribes” by ethnicity. Limbaugh stated that the contest was “not going to be fair if there’s a lot of water events” and suggested that “blacks can’t swim.” Limbaugh stated that “our early money” is on “the Hispanic tribe” — which he said could include “a Cuban,” “a Nicaraguan,” or “a Mexican or two” — provided they don’t “start fighting for supremacy amongst themselves.”

Bill O’Reilly, another major media figure and conservative with a TV show, radio program, books, and newspaer column:
Discussing Iraq during the January 24 edition of his radio show, O’Reilly claimed that “the Sunni and Shia want to kill each other. … They have fun. This is — they like this. This is what Allah tells them to do, and that’s what they do.” O’Reilly then asserted that the “essential mistake of the war” was failing to anticipate that “these people would act like savages, and they are.” Later, O’Reilly said that he had not predicted that the Iraqis “were going to act like savages in the aftermath of Saddam [Hussein],” and added: “[N]ow, Iran, we know they’re savages.”

On the January 15 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly said of Shawn Hornbeck — who was abducted at the age of 11, held for four years, and recently found in Missouri — that “there was an element here that this kid liked about this circumstances” and that he “do[esn’t] buy” “the Stockholm syndrome thing.”

There is a lot more at the link. Sure these guys have a right to speak their mind, what they have of one, but they are hardly followers of some marginal extremist from the sixties. These people are everywhere, in every medium in America for hours and hours everyday. If American culture isn’t as civil as Dan wants it to be he and OP might want to take a look in the mirror.

“The notion of political correctness declares certain topics, certain expressions, even certain gestures, off-limits. What began as a crusade for civility has soured into a cause of conflict and even censorship.” George Bush