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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 2:43 pm 
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To kick off this thread, The Bush administration is withholding the publication of the third UN Human Development Report on the Arab world because it isn't sufficiently flattering on Iraq.

For those of you who can't be bothered to register with the NYT, the article is an op-ed by Thomas Friedman, who says that the report in question is a serious piece of work by Arab scholars on the debilitating shortcomings of autocratic government in the Middle East. "It was going to tackle the issue of governance and misgovernance in the Arab world, and the legal, institutional and religious impediments to political reform."

This is exactly the sort of thing that Middle Eastern scholars need to write, in Arabic, for Arabs to read, and it can only help advance the cause of democracy. But the Bushies are shooting themselves in the foot because the dislike the bits in the introduction that are critical of their actions in Iraq. They're apparently too dense to see that the scholars wrote that bit to prove that they aren't just toadying Western stooges when they blast their own governments in the rest of the report.

So they're trying to get those bits changed, or squelch the report altogether. And the Arab governments that also find themselves lambasted in it are more than willing to go along with the Bushies.

Gyaaaah.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:53 am 
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On the plus side, if the report does get published over US objections it will get a boost in credibility in the Arab world. I would go so far as to suggest this is the real purpose for the Bush administrations objections, but I don’t think they are that smart.

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 Post Posted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:35 pm 
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it will get published, i dont know why it would be held back for possible anti-bush writing however i can see it being held back for operational security for a mission that might be in the offing.....jut my oppinion

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 12:52 am 
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So...the Arab world is now, apparently, only allowed to change for the better if the US gets the credit.

*wap*

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 4:39 am 
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warrior_allanon wrote:
it will get published, i dont know why it would be held back for possible anti-bush writing however i can see it being held back for operational security for a mission that might be in the offing.....jut my oppinion


Operational security? I doubt these scholars had any access to classified information. Their paper was about the lack of political reform in the middle east in general. They only criticized the war in the introduction. And what could they have said about the war that isn't already all over the news?

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 10:52 am 
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All over who's news, Kea? We've got half a nation that is happily kept pig ignorant of what Dubya and the GOP have been up to over there; in order to avoid political embarrassment and cognitive dissonance (the other half is largely ignorant, but not happy about it). All of the major media outlets favored by (or even available to) the heartland and the lumpenprole are controlled by the corporate right, after all; so it's very easy to do.

Now if this report speaks simple and obvious truths in the intro, it will be news to most of the Republican base. So why take the chance that one of the usually friendly corporate media outlets might decide there's money in carrying it, pick it up, and reach said base? Kill it, sayeth Karl Rove; and it is killed.

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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:27 am 
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I meant the news the insurgents are likely to be watching. Arab news. How else is it going to conceivably affect "operational security"? (Nevermind the idea of Iraqi insurgents running around waving copies of a UN report on Arab political development to justify their attacks strikes me as...unlikely.)

I also find your explanation, namely that the White House is squelching this because they don't want negative reaction from the domestic press, to be unlikely. First of all, Bush no longer has to worry about reelection. Second of all, only the most wonkish of wonks in the American media would have even bothered to read a UN report on Arab political development. And thirdly, if the Media Wonks decided to seize on the fact that a report which is mostly about the dismal state of politics in the Middle East also happens to criticize the Iraq war in the introduction, they would be missing the point as much as the White House is.

I find it much more likely that the foreign policy hawks are trying to squelch this because they don't want the UN (or any other international body) to publish materials critical of their Official Position at all. Same way they manipulated appointments to the international climate change monitoring body. Same way they're (probably) trying to get rid of the head of the IAEA.

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