November 26, 2004

Yushchenko's ailment

The Toronto Star's website inexplicably declined to post their most interesting letter to the editor from yesterday, so hopefully they won't mind me doing so here:

"Viktor Yushchenko probably has one of two possible medical conditions that would account for his rapid facial changes. The diseases are scleromyxedema or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. He needs a skin biopsy. I cannot conceive how poisoning could cause these changes."

--Howard Bargman, MD, associate professor of dermatology, University of Toronto

Um, shouldn't reporters be CALLING guys like this? Yushchenko has been proclaiming since September he's been poisoned by his enemies... either he has, and there's some fearsome new manmade or natural agent at work here, or he's getting really bad medical advice a la Arafat, or he's bordering on being a little unbalanced himself. Also, the condition has clearly worsened considerably month by month since his initial hospitalization, making one wonder if he'll even be able to take elected office in Ukraine if it's given to him.

Certainly it's a mystery... the dioxin-induced chloracne explanation certainly doesn't seem to be holding up.

PS: Excellent example of an expert stepping up to the plate on an issue of major public importance, btw. But the blogs' capability of parsing out the truth from dozens of sources, a la Rathergate, so far seems to be misfiring on this one.

Posted by BruceR at 11:21 AM

More Fallujah mail: the LT's role

More thoughts on the Fallujah killing-on-film, from regular correspondent Dave T.:

"An aspect that interests and disturbs me is the way Sites deals with the lieutenant in his account:

"'When we arrive at the front entrance, we see that another squad has already entered before us. The lieutenant asks them, "Are there people inside?" One of the Marines raises his hand signaling five. "Did you shoot them," the lieutenant asks? "Roger that, sir, " the same Marine responds. "Were they armed?" The Marine just shrugs and we all move inside.'

"It's seems an odd exchange. Then once inside, Sites tells the lieutenant that these men were the wounded from the day before. The officer goes outside to radio in a report and the now-famous event then unfolds... but even though significant time unfolds in Sites' narrative after the firing of that additional shot, the lieutenant doesn't reappear -- despite presumably being close enough to have heard the shot and be able to tell it was from inside the mosque.

"Here's an officer who established his men may have killed unarmed, wounded individuals but did not exert control on the situation (Sites doesn't indicate the lieutenant gave any instructions before leaving to radio in). And then when an additional shot rang out from where he knew his men had surviving wounded in custody, this officer apparently did not immediately come racing back in.

"I haven't been able to closely follow the U.S. public discussion of this or the other blogging, but I haven't heard this addressed -- and Sites doesn't address it in any overt way (though he seems to intentionally dangle it out there to be picked up by others).


Posted by BruceR at 10:30 AM