Daily Star: 3 Worthless Editorials in 3 Days
I am trying to stay away from the Daily Star for a little while, and will do so soon. However the past three days the DS printed three consecutive editorials that were so weak that even I, with my low expectations, was flabbergasted.
Day One: December 26, 2005. The DS editorial talks about the arrest in Egypt of activist/presidential candidate Ayman Nour, chastises the Mubarak government, and reluctantly credits Bush for criticizing the Egyptian government's assault on democracy and freedom. So far so good.
Then, the editorial takes a dramatic turn to tell us of the legal woes of Jose Padilla who was arrested 3 years ago in the US. Padilla, a US citizen, is suspected of planning to blow up residential buildings in New York, as well as of helping al-Qaeda get its hands on a "dirty" (radiological) bomb.
Padilla, who was classified as an "enemy combatant", was afforded less than the usual legal protections US citizens normally get. His case has been in the courts. It is a complicated, long legal tangle which does not concern us here.
My question is: What the hell is the DS thinking or attempting by drawing parallels between:
-the US, a free constitutional republic, dealing with Padilla, a suspected criminal terrorist
-and Egypt, a corrupt dictatorship, dealing with Ayman Nour a political activist turned politician?
Again, this post is not about civil liberties and protections in the US. The US has tons of newspapers criticizing the Bush administration hourly, flanked by all sorts of NGOs. The DS writes in a region where problems are enormous and no one cares two craps about Jose Padilla. So what could the DS' point be?
If it is to equate rare supposed abuses in the US with Egypt's legal and political circus, bad idea. If, like the DS, you are trying to fight Mubarak-like regimes, what is the point of saying: the abuses are the same here and there?
OK, the DS tries to be more subtle but it fails (look at the title of the piece: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander").
Or could it be, the DS wishes to tell their readers that they are as "sophisticated" as the New York Times, and that they can write about these types of "trendy" issues too? Sin of hubris that will backfire.
Is the DS really trying to help Padilla and/or bash Bush? A waste of time and paper, the US has plenty of better-suited outlets, and you have more pressing problems in Lebanon and in Egypt and elsewhere, to say the very least.
I fail to see any purpose to this disjointed piece. It gives ammunition to Mubarak/Arab League/Al-Jazeerah types who argue that "one US abuse and one Egyptian abuse" implies US = Egypt. Idiotic.
PS. I will try to follow-up in the next two days, on the other two pieces, but if I don't:
December 27 editorial wants, as usual, the Arabs to do nothing, and the US to get Israel to free the Shebaa farms. Ask other people to do your work (for free), and then complain that "they" are meddling.
December 28 is "special". The editorial board actually expects (against hope) that the Arab League's Arab parliament will actually work for the good of the region. Hearty Har Har!!! I thought New Year's Eve was around the corner, not April's fool's day.