Friday, January 27, 2006

Battle-hardened


An email from a reader associated with Students for a Free Tibet (site; blog; both with lots of info on Chinese/Google [Choogle?] censorship) reminds me that I meant to write about Google, actually google.cn’s censoring the internets on behalf of the Chinese government. Clearly, their resisting the US Justice Dept subpoena was less about not being evil than protecting trade secrets. It would be nice to figure out exactly what they’re doing, and to keep track of which search terms are censored as they’re added to a no doubt constantly increasing list. The day they rolled out google.cn, for example, I checked it for the only really important metric: does it block my site? It didn’t then, a few days ago, but it more or less does today, when searches for “WIIIAI” and “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It” no longer yielded no hits for this site, but whateveritisimagainstit.blogspot.com works (of course, if you know the URL, you don’t need Google). I don’t know (not being able to read Chinese, much less those boxes that show up on my screen instead of Chinese) if Google mentioned that it was censoring the results of those searches, but as an interesting Cnet News report on what sorts of things are being censored indicates, Google is failing to inform users when they censor stuff, like they said they would.

It’s kinda fun watching everybody talk about shunning Hamas as the scum of the earth while attempting to absolve the people who elected them. Which is great for Americans, because it means we should also bear no responsibility for the chimp-like resident of the Oval Office. So as I understand it, a large majority of the Palestinian people are supposed to have said, “Yes I know they want to launch a war to the death against Israel, but they did promise to fill the potholes.” It’s like a protest vote, we’re told, a Ross Perot/Ralph Nader kind of thing. Me, I don’t know exactly what the Palestinian citizenry were thinking, and neither do you. If their lives are miserable and their economy is in bad shape and they’re all unemployed, I doubt that they entirely blame Fatah, corrupt and inefficient though they certainly have been, and probably assign a jot of blame to, well, you fill in this phrase: “Death to I_____l”

Rumsfeld said something a couple of days ago that’s still annoying me. Denying reports that the US Army was “broken,” he said that to the contrary, it was “battle-hardened.” They’ve been shot at, blown up, and kept in a constant state of tension for months on end; suggesting that they’ve been hardened by the experience strikes me as insulting. Maybe it’s just me.

Update: Or not:

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