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Iseema bin Laden

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Asked and answered

Jonathon Delacour is trying to keep me honest. He has a response to the essay below. The relevant part is this:

So I agree with Meryl that "terrorists get fewer rights" and that "anyone who thinks a single American POW would have been treated well [by the Taliban] is lying to us and to himself." But she concludes with the statement: "the terrorists lost their claim to humanity long ago. If you ask me, human rights are for humans." From where I stand, that looks like the top of a long and slippery slope. The finest soldiers balance ruthlessness with compassion.

Jonathon then goes on to quote a letter from Admiral Nimitz to the Pacific Fleet after WWII was over, directing our officers not to use insulting epithets towards the Japanese--reminding them, in effect, that the Japanese are also human, in spite of the way they treated American POWs.

Okay, Jonathon, you got me. I still have a tendency to visceral reaction. Part of me keeps saying, "Why do we have to act honorably when everyone else treats their people and prisoners shamefully?" But I think that's the child in me, wishing that this were a perfect world, or at least, wishing that we get to be the biggest bully in the schoolyard, so what we say, goes.

You're right. We do have to treat terrorists humanely, or we risk losing our own humanity--which would be intolerable for all of us.


One of the things that I mentioned right from my very first blog was that I have to grow and change; a static life is a living death, to me. Sameness and same-thinking-ness are the evils I prefer to fight. But today, I found a few websites that made me think about my attitude of the last few months, post-9/11. A lot of that attitude was a visceral reaction to seeing--and smelling--buildings within eyeshot, buildings that were icons in the day-to-day view of my surroundings--fall to the ground, victims of murderous, hateful men whose mission in life was to bring death and destruction to Americans. And in those buildings, thousands of innocents, slaughtered. The smell of the burning wafted my way several times during the last few months. I turned my eyes from the sight of people leaping to their death off the towers, and won't read reports that get too detailed about the carnage that day.

I think what I've been doing is giving the anti-terror contingent a blank check, or ignoring the more egregious actions--the cutback of personal liberties, the detention of non-citizens, Camp X-Ray's open-air prisons.

Which brings me to my crisis in conscience. I have no sympathy for the members of Al Qaeda that we're interning at Guantanamo. They have stated, and shown, that they will kill Americans simply because we are Americans. Their hatred of us resulted in the murder of journalists covering the war--killed because they were Westerners. Their hatred of us resulted in 3,000 deaths. Their hatred of us is so profound that a 14-year-old boy killed an American soldier in an ambush. A 14-year-old boy.

In one account I read, during the prison uprising in Mazar-i-Sharif, the American CIA agent was killed by an Al Qaeda prisoner who ran into the room and hugged him before blowing himself up, thus assuring the agent would die. These people hate us so much they will kill themselves if they can kill us, too. The Western mind reels.

I read accounts of how we're calling the Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners "illegal combatants" instead of prisoners of war to satisfy the Geneva Convention. People all over the world are outraged that we would do so. Of course it's a war, and of course they're POWs, they shrill from every letters and op-ed page around the globe. They deserve to be housed better than in chain-link dog kennels, Human Rights Watch tells us. Which brings me to my crisis in conscience. II wonder why I feel so--wrong when I read these letters and articles. Like I almost agree with them.

And I've finally hit upon it. It's the hypocrisy of it all. The fact is, I don't care overmuch if the "illegal combatants" have their hair and beards shaved for health reasons. I don't care if they're hooded and shackled and sedated for the plane ride to Cuba. I'm not shedding any tears over their having to live in roofed chain-linked cells outdoors on a tropical island in January. All of these measures are taken to save American soldiers. And as an American, I have to be honest: I care a lot more about an American soldier's life and comfort and safety than I do about, oh, all the terrorists in the world.

What bothers me is that John Ashcroft and George Bush don't have the honesty to say the same. Come on, gentlemen--just 'fess up. Terrorists get fewer rights. So what? People who abuse the rest of the world's human rights have no claim to such rights for themselves--and yet we are still treating them fairly well. Especially when you consider what a captured American soldier's lot would have been. Some are using the captured Christian workers' plight as an example of how well the Taliban would have treated our people.

Bullshit. Those people were treated well because the eyes of the world were upon Afghanistan, and because none of them were soldiers. It was a propaganda coup for the Taliban--look, World, we can be kind to prisoners, we're not terrorists! Anyone who thinks a single American POW would have been treated well is lying to us and to himself.

So basically, I don't care what The Guardian, or, or Australian letterwriters have to say. The terrorists lost their claim to humanity long ago. If you ask me, human rights are for humans.--MAY



The truth isn't in here

Saw this story over at Yahoo! and couldn't resist. There's a quote from Chris Carter that begs to be pummeled:

``It's the ninth inning. We want to go out on top,'' Carter told the Hollywood trade paper Daily Variety. ``We wanted to go out as a strong show.''

Psst--Chris--too late for that by about two or three years.

Lunchtime Reading

Found this via Metafilter, and I just had to share it with you. It's about warblogging, a term suddenly gaining great popularity. (Are you listening, Bbird?) Here's a sample, go to the article:

The blogging community was recently torn by controversy when Joanne Jacobs failed to show sufficient knowledge of blog history. (Jacobs's experience in the field began in 2001, the great era of celeblogs that allowed professional writers like Sullivan, Kaus and Joshua Micah Marshall to post their writings online, at prices more accurately reflecting their value.)

IOU, again.

Sorry, folks. I definitely need to sit down and write the blogs I promised I'd write last month, plus the ones I keep thinking of, plus any new blog that pops into my head.

The problem has been a combination of work and tiredness and I just realized this--I started taping and watching my soap operas again. Wow, what a drain on my time. No wonder I can't find the time to blog. TV is mushing my brain.

Okay. I'll stop taping them. After I see what happens on GH this week.

First blog I'll be writing is going to be a doozy, I think. My thoughts on how we're treating the "illegal combatants" over at Guantanamo. Here's a challenge for my regulars: Can you guess who I'll be agreeing with on this issue, John Ashcroft or Human Rights Watch?

Okay, so that's not really a challenge. But it was fun to ask.

The Blogicon

Over at Burningbird, there's a request for Blogicon entries. I've come up with a few. She's asking for more. Now folks, no one else on the Web is creating a Blogicon, so here's your chance to be famous. Shelley gives credit to the creators of the terms. Check out the blog, and help us out. Or send me feedback if you're too shy to do it yourself.

It's a Merylring

Thanks to my name-twin over in Texas and Burningbird, there's a new Meryl in town. We've made Burningbird an honorary Meryl, because she's an honorable wiseass (read the notes in the message thread). So we have a three-member webring, also known as the Merylring: TX Meryl, NJ Meryl, and BB Meryl. Kewl.--MAY



Sick day

Quick--name something worse than a stomach virus. Okay, here it is: A stomach virus that isn't bad enough for you to stay home from work, especially because tomorrow is the big meeting with the boss regarding the work you've been doing these past four months.

Result: Don't expect anything intelligent today. My mind is too mushy to concentrate on two things.

Hit list

Okay, take a bow, everyone who dialed in yesterday. It was my biggest day ever, just under 500 hits before 8 p.m., with some prime-time hours to go before ending the day. And the more people come to say hello, the harder I work to make sure you come back.

Go ahead, people. Make me blog.--The Lone Blogger

Update: 627 hits, 114 visitor sessions. Wow. You guys are great. Thanks!--MAY



The Meryl Network

At long last, I have found another Meryl that I'm getting along with! And she blogs, too. Meryl K. Evans is my new pal, and I decided it's time to add her website to my links page.

You have no idea how incredibly weird it is to see my name in email in both the sender and receiver parts. You folks may think of it as pretty common, but this is the first time in my life I've ever received a letter from someone who has the same name.

We're differentiating ourselves geographically to keep from driving people crazy. I'm NJ Meryl. Hm. I wonder if I'll have to change that to Richmond Meryl later this year?

Daypop Top 40 rocks!

Try this one: They fight crime!

Why not give little kids markers for Christmas?

The Lone Blogger

Burning Bird is updating the Blogicon, and she included my entry, which is the title of this blog. And to answer your question, Shelley--nah. Being a Lone Blogger isn't bad at all. I like the independence of being able to choose my own structure and backgrounds and themes, without having to worry about code bugs and fixes and breakdowns. The only page that doesn't have the equivalent of permalinks is this one--I archive the content about once a week. Of course, it's a bit of a pain doing it myself, but hey--it's what I do for a living, after all.

And look, we've now started a Blog Thread. That Blogicon is starting to become ubiquitous.

It's a small 'net

A few days ago, I received a feedback message from someone asking me if I was related to some Yourishes that were part of her family. It was a message from a cousin of mine that I never got the chance to know, because before either of us were born, her mother had a disagreement with our grandparents, and afterward, my father never bothered to keep in touch with his only surviving sister. Of course, he never even told me about the one who died in a mental institution, but let's not even go there.

So my cousins grew up just an hour or so away from me, but I never even knew they existed until I was in my late teens or twenties. And now, thanks to the Internet and (and the search engine!), my cousin has found me, and we can finally start getting to know one another.

I'm happy.

Ooh. You don't suppose old boyfriends are going to be able to find me this way, do you? Yikes.--MAY



More Twain Notes

Twy to be patient. (Ahahaha, sometimes I just slay me with my own humor... Okay, I'll stop now.)

Last night, when they started playing the first background piece, I flashed back onto my childhood and immediately the words to "Sweet Betsy from Pike" came into my head. All I can say is: God damn whatever teacher forced us to sing that furshlugginer song over and over again.

Did you ever hear tell of sweet Betsy from Pike
Who crossed the wide prairies with her lover Ike,
With two yoke of cattle and one spotted hog,
A tall shanghai rooster, and old yaller dog?

Sing too rali oorali oorali ay
Sing too rali oorali oorali ay

Actually, please don't. Sing.

You should read the rest of the lyrics, however. Somehow, I don't think this version was what they taught me in grammar school.

1, 2, 3, 4

If you didn't catch the first part of Ken Burns' Mark Twain documentary on PBS last night, you missed a fabulous biography of America's most famous, and some say greatest, author. I read a few reviews about the show, and all I have to say to the critics are: Get a real job.

I couldn't believe they panned the show. As my regular readers know, Mark Twain is my favorite author and my literary idol. I started reading him in third grade and never stopped. Ken Burns did him right. Twain would have hated the movie "biography" that Hollywood had done of him, but I'm pretty sure he would have liked Burns' documentary.

Which leads us to the title. I have a coffee mug with a Twain saying on it. When angry, count four. When very angry, swear.--MAY

Here, kitty kitty kitty

I've finally decided to succumb to an Internet cliche: Below is a picture of my kitty-cat.


Isn't he just the sweetest thing? Cute and cuddly, that's my kitty!



Hey, Jackson!

And today's shout-out goes to Jackson, Mississippi, which is far easier to spell than to type. I think I'll also say hello to Herdon, VA, which is supposed to be Herndon, but Web Trends programmers obviously didn't have any professional proofreaders check their work. They should have hired me.

Jackson: Y'all come back now, hear?

I'm so confused.

File this one under "Extremely annoying occurrences". I dialed my mother's phone number, or at least I thought I was dialing her phone number. The problem is my mother moved a month ago, into an area that has the same exchange as a person I no longer have any contact with. But the problem is the first six digits of their phone numbers are identical, and the last four are so similar that my brain seems to burp every time I try to call my mother's new number. The last four digits of her number are 4141. The last four digits of the other number are 2424. So today, I thought I dialed my mother and wound up dialing the ex-friend. She said hello, I realized what I had done, and did what any self-respecting person would do in this situation: I hung up without saying anything.

I guess it's a good thing she doesn't have caller ID.--MAY


Meryl Yourish's Radio Weblog         

  Sunday, January 13 2002

Dudes! It's awesome! My first post!11!!1!   12:52:14 PM    


My first radio weblog

What with the advent of Radio 8.0 and the incredible outpouring of new webloggers cluttering up the bandwidth, the above is my salute to all of the newbies. It looks best in IE, alas. I have to run. I'll figure out that size bug later.

It's all about the humor

Did you know that Ellen Degeneres is in a new sitcom? Did you also know that this one is actually funny? I caught it Friday night. I couldn't stop laughing about the restaurant bit. It was called "The Abattoir", a laugh-getter to being with. (Slaughterhouse, for those who don't want to check out The specialty of the house was the "turducken"--a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. I can't stop laughing over that one, particularly after Ellen asked for just a duck. "We'll see if we can pull one out."

Turducken: The new white meat. Now there's a slogan for you.

Saturday night I went to "A Chamber of Cellos", a concert featuring all cellists, as a member of my synagogue, Alan Stepansky, is a former cellist with the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Pops. He brought seven of his students with him, and gave us a marvelous evening of cello music.

Alan's cello is nearly 300 years old. It was made in 1724. I can't really imagine a cello made today lasting 300 years. I wonder if there are any modern Stradivariuses working out there, creating new instruments intended to last centuries.

Think about it. The oldest item I own is a set of brass candlesticks that were my mother's during her marriage to my father. Oh, and her Mahjong set. I'm not sure either of them have hit the half-century mark, even.

A 300-year-old cello. The mind reels.--MAY