t byfield on Mon, 21 Jun 1999 03:23:35 -0400

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Re: Syndicate: Fisk stories and column

srhodes@well.com (Sun 06/20/99 at 09:01 PM -0700):

> Robert Fisk has a couple of stories on how the
> damage to the Serbian military wasn't as much
> as NATO claimed.  Unfortunately, the urls
> may only be good for a day (though they may
> be mirrored on some sites).  He also has
> a stong column which will follow.

every time i read a story by fisk, i get the feeling--a growing
feeling--that he really feeds on hatred and lies. which isn't to
say that what he says is necessarily false, it may be true, i
don't know. but it seems as though he's sort of storming around
in some gothic psychic landscape and reporting 'the facts as he
sees them,' i.e., seeing them through the lens of a worldview 
in which his enemy's enemy is his friend. and he does seem to
have a really terminal case of insiderism: he desperately wants
to get the real 'scoop.' so if NATO says it crushed the FYU
army, he gads off in search of a story about how the serb army
emerged unscathed, how they painted all of kosov@ in motley and
were setting fires just to fool heat-seaking missiles, &c., &c.

i guess i'm much less interested in the 'real' reason that some-
thing happened than in the consequences of the fact that it did
indeed happen. the example i ususally use is this: i don't care
if the CIA is 'really' behind AIDS, what i care about is what's
*in front of* it--for example, a safe, cheap cure. so, if the
'real' reason the FYU regime buckled is that russia threatened
to cut off it's gas, so what? maybe the 'real' reason russia 
made that threat was that the 'freemasons threatened X,' because
the 'knights of malta' were threatening them, because they, in
turn, were being threatened by the 'illuminati,' &c., &c. it
doesn't really matter, after a certain point: what matters is
what's happening to all us poor suckers who aren't in the 'real'
loop. i don't mean to caricature fisk as a conspiratorialist,
that's not my point. my point, rather, is that in a cultural
and political environment poisoned by lies, the solution will
always be at the ground level. and the ground level is this:
the yugoslav army has pulled out of kosov@, and there's a very
ambivalent 'struggle' going on wherein NATO has to make a show
of disarming the KLA et al. it comes as no great surprise that
NATO troops would take a devil-may-care attitude toward albanian
kosovar excesses. and, in the wake of this war, the FYU regime
will, i think, think twice about embarking on more militarist
escpades. that's a Good Thing. to say that isn't to endorse the
why or how of what NATO did: what they did is done. nor is it
to excuse tudjman or to dredge up any other done deeds, what-
ever their merit or lack or merit. and i guess that's my problem 
with fisk. it seems like he's a historian running around a bit 
too close to events, when what's needed is something much more 
directly constructive.

i should add: none of this is intended to discourage you from
passing on fisk's stories or pointers to his work or anything
else, or anything of the kind. these are just some idle thoughts,
that's all.


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