August 15, 2002



For the second time in a year, Lebanese-Colombian singer Shakira has a hit song commenting on the size of her own breasts. What does this have to do with the Argentine economic crisis? Beats me.

Posted by BruceR at 09:31 AM



Pro-Taliban blogger Amir Butler claims the Afghans were better off under the Taliban. Not counting a Robert Fisk paean to Mullah Omar, he cites exactly four pieces of evidence:

1) Members of Northern Alliance committed human rights abuses. (From the Age). WHAT BUTLER IGNORES: The undeniable truth that the forces the Northern Alliance fought against, first the Soviet-installed government, then the Pashtuns under the lunatic Hekmatyar, then the Taliban were all far, far worse, by any conceivable measure. War crimes by Hekmatyar's forces specifically are frequently blamed on the Alliance for some reason: as the Age article says: "In 1994, at least 25,000 civilians were killed in rocket and artillery attacks on the city. Rockets fired by Hekmatyar into a then-Alliance controlled city, the article neglects to mention. Given that Hekmatyar is still in exile in Iran and the Alliance is part of the ruling coalition again, I fail to see the problem.

2) The Taliban were anti-drug. WHAT BUTLER IGNORES: In his own cited source: "Since the mid-1990s the Taliban had earned millions of dollars from the heroin trade." As everyone who's done any research knows, the Taliban years saw vastly increased poppy production in areas they controlled, up until a few months before Sept. 11. We've covered this already.

3) The burqa business is still thriving. WHAT BUTLER IGNORES: Again, in the very source he cites: "I sell much more burqas than before because the women are now free to go out alone and choose their clothing for themselves," another stall-holder Karim Wahid, 28, said. (This is too easy: does Butler even try to read past the headlines?)

4) According to Yvonne Ridley, the kite-flying story was a bum rap. WHAT BUTLER IGNORES: Ridley is a certifiable nutball. Again, in the very story Butler links to, we see her also claim:

*British and American intelligence conspired to have the Taliban kill her to give the U.S. a real casus belli against the Afghans (as opposed to that lame Sept. 11 thing they had), in a fiendish scheme that involved breaking into her apartment and sending her tax returns to Taliban interrogators, who no doubt crazed by the recent lack of opium would summarily shoot her once they read her deduction of her mother's car purchase as a "business expense"; and
*when she was released, in a bizarre reverse of the Fisk experience, she was physically assaulted by a crazed mob of Western journalists. "The car was suddenly surrounded by about 50 Western journalists, they just started shaking the car saying 'get the bitch out'.

No, really! Brit Hume ripped off her driver side mirror, while Ashleigh Banfield shot up the radiator grill with a Webley... it's all true, she swears...

Posted by BruceR at 09:15 AM