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March 30, 2006


Nur al-Cubicle

Hooray for Jill and her friends and family! But to ransom or not to ransom? --That is the question. The new strategy is to pay up, apparently. But I feel sorry for those Americans who did not have the pull or the connections to get Bush to turn a blind eye to the no-pay doctrine.

I believe the Italians were right to ransom their kidnapped. Why let them die for no good reason, other than a "hang-tough" attitude? But I guess we won't see the wingers scorch the blog pages with a condemnation of the negotiations and payment leading to Carroll's release, as they did in the case of Giuliana Sgrena.

Jay C.

Actually, Nur, the wingnut bloggers have found a lot more to carp about, besides "negotiations": A sample here - and from these gents .

An astonishing amount of vitriol: and most of it from the usual suspects who love to complain about "no good news reported from Iraq".

Nicholas Ridout

Yes, it really hasn't taken much time for ugly comment to surface. Can anyone from the States, perhaps even Abu Aardvark himself, give me some explanation for the poison that seems to have become a significant element in US press and web commentary? There are some seriously and worryingly angry people out there.

Jay C

Nicholas: As do you, I'd like to hear Prof. Lynch's take on the nontrivial level of hatred flung Jill Carroll's way after her release: but for now I might suggest a few factors which have magnified these reactions.

First: the rise of the Internet as a medium for dissemination of opinion: Anyone with a website, a blog, or email can get their unmoderated (and often immoderate) view on anything "out there", which anyone with an online computer can read.

Second: a large bloc of American public opinion (I can't opine about other countries) is prone to view the Iraq conflict in a simplistic "war" situation: - US v. THEM - and one where "we" are the unambiguously Good Guys, and "they" are the embodiment of Evil. Anything that diverges from this black-and-white scenario is likely to be viewed with suspicion by those with a psychological stake in the outcome: and they tend to react with anger when challenged.

Third: the lasting shadow of Vietnam: it has been an entire generation since Americans had to deal with a "war" situation where US soldiers were in danger of their lives in a foreign war for goals that were/are not immediately discernable, and in which an clear-cut "victory" probably unattainable. Again, this generates a great deal of anger in the nationalistic rightwing: for whom the term "loser" is the ultimate obloquy.

Oh, and by the way: apparently Jill Carroll's "overly-sympathethic" comments seem to have actually been made under some duress : we shall have to wait and see, but it looks the poison-pixel brigade has, yet again, jumped the gun.


Jill has given a statement to the CS Monitor: http://csmonitor.com/earlyed/early_world040106.htm. Hopefully it will put these idiotic, nasty comments about her to rest.

Nicholas Ridout

I hope so too. However, since the attacks seemed to me to reveal an underlying hostility not directly related to what Jill Carroll said, I would not be sure. Even if she had meant what she said in her initial comments, give, as we now know, under extreme duress, I would still find the attacks on her troubling.

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