Your Tax Dollars at Work

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

An Arabic-language magazine hitting newsstands in the Middle East this week may be America’s newest weapon in the war on terrorism, a White House official said Monday.

Hi magazine, which is subsidized by the U.S. State Department, will be sold in countries across the Middle East — including Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Algeria — for roughly $2 an issue….

U.S. officials hope the new monthly magazine, targeted toward 18-to-35-year-olds, will dispel misinformation and misconceptions about the United States by focusing on similarities between American and Middle Eastern cultures with articles about lifestyle, technology and health….

Along with the new magazine, [director of the White House Office of Global Communications Tucker] Eskew cited plans for an Arabic television network funded by the U.S. government as critical to communicating America’s messages to the Middle East.

I have my doubts about the TV network, but Hi magazine might really work. This month’s feature on actor Tony Shalhoub is great (or would be if I could read Arabic)– probably enough to make everyone forget the billions we send to Israel every year.

A New GI Blog

There has been a lot of buzz around the blog of an American soldier in Iraq who describes the occupation in stark, unfiltered terms. Now another soldier, this one in Kuwait, has followed suit. This entry on his newborn son illuminates the personal toll of empire:

He is six weeks old now and getting huge! Is the bump on his head the doctors said would go away going away? God I miss him! I only knew him for four days before I left to come back to the desert, but leaving him broke my heart unlike any breaking it has had to endure to this point. Is he letting my wife sleep through the night? She says the last few days he has slept like six hours straight. That is a vast improvement over the two hours he was giving her before. Now my thoughts shift to her. I know she is holding up alright as I have some form of communication with her every night, but she is deteriorating. I think back to the morning that I left her standing in the parking lot of Battalion at three in the morning. She was crying and seven months pregnant. I tried to console her by telling her I would be back in time for the baby, but would I? They told me I would and ultimately I was. I am lucky (relatively speaking again). As I left her I couldn’t help but think about the ordeal she had coming her way. We had decided at the last moment that she was going to move back home with her mom. All of our friends were deployed and both of our families live in California (over a thousand miles away). She would have her mom to help her out especially if I didn’t make it back. My thoughts shift to being back home myself. When would I be able to walk the streets of my home town again? I re-enlisted in March for the opportunity to be a recruiter, but with all that has happened and is happening that plan may never come to fruition. My stomach turns at the possible things I may have gotten myself into by re-enlisting.

Is anyone in the White House reading this stuff? Stupid question.

The Wall will transform the West Bank into three prison camps

With the American taxpayer money burning a hole in their pocket, the Israeli government is building a two hundred mile , twenty-four foot high concrete wall replete with gun towers, that will isolate the hapless Palestinians into three large prison camps. Surely this construction project, begun last summer, represents one of the most despicably evil acts ever undertaken by a government noted for its cruelty. An impassioned Ran HaCohen examines this grim development in his most recent two posts on, and

One positive outcome for the Israeli government of the wall has been the free acquisition of thousands of acres of prime Palestinian farmland.

US Military Hospital “Full” With Iraq Casualties

The current occupation is more dangerous than Operation Iraqi Freedom. The article reads:

    Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is receiving more than twice the number of patients from Operation Iraqi Freedom that it did during the major combat phase of the war.

    An average of 48 patients a day were being treated last week, compared with 22 patients a day in March, said Col. David Rubenstein, who relinquished command of the hospital last week for a new post.

    Of those patients admitted, about 5 percent were combat-related injuries, “although that’s starting to grow a bit,” Rubenstein said last week, referring to continued attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. During major combat, which officially ended May 1, 40 percent of Landstuhl’s patients had battle injuries.