Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Kevin Sites (spit) Blog

Kevin Sites Blog

I was intrigued by the motivation behind the release the video of a marine shooting an terrorist in a mosque in Fallujah. Did a video of this incident really need to be shown on Al-Jazeera? Is it not adding fuel to the fire of hatred? Whose team is Kevin Sites on? We are at war, giving the enemy the tools to fight us is wrong.

My gut tells me to look closely at the source. It could be a case of self-aggrandizing, or even worse, a reporter with an anti-war bias. It turns out to be both. Kevin Sites is both a self-promoter and against the war. Great, Sites has a blog, which constantly seeks to humanize the enemy, and has posted to, a site that is very much against the war.

I ask this question: If the storyteller is biased, can the story be trusted?

Turning to the Marine, did he do something wrong? I don’t know. But, putting myself in his place, I would have to say I would be more inclined to shoot booby trapped holy warrior terrorists, than to offer aid. When you shoot from a holy place, blow up innocent people, cut the heads off non-combatants, and execute aid workers, a bullet in the head is well… fitting and just.

Kevin Sites, in your own words "you are either with us, or against us", it looks like you are against us.


Anonymous said...

woah, are you serious here Dad?

I dont know what the whole video thing is about, but "it looks like you are against us?" Its just his take on the situation. Can the story be trusted? in a AP news story, just spit the numbers sort of way, no, of course not. But that doesnt mean that his work is invalid through bias alone.

I just read through a little chunk of his entries and it isnt anything I would subscribe to, but I can understand the sentiment. He's putting a face to war, and there is nothing wrong with that. You, as a photographer would understand this, right? You dont have to agree with him, but you should be able to understand where he is coming from.

I myself have become doubtful that Americans understand just what war is. We can be angry, demand vengence, and Afghanistan happens. Understood. But as we began raising our hands in favor or opposition to Iraq I think the vision of war became extremely blurred in America. Even now, as we get reports of attacks and skirmishes, it comes in the form of numbers, this many Americans died, this many injured. I dont think there is anything wrong with trying to show a touch more honesty in the lives that are scarred or put to an end because of this war, both friend and foe.

War means dying, pure and simple. "blow up innocent people, cut the heads off non-combatants, and execute aid workers, a bullet in the head is well… fitting and just." Thats fine, thats your opinion. But the fact is, When you say that you are saying that you want to kill someone. Again, its understandable but I dont think people are paying enough attention to that statement. Its easy for us to say yes, I support the war, I support killing those that would want to kill us, but we often say it with a touch of fervor. If you slow down, and say the statement to yourself, "I want to kill him" not them, but him. Take a look at a photograph of a soldier and say very slowly, to yourself, "I want to kill him". It may still be justified in your mind, it may be a just cause, but just think of the impact of the statement.

To be able to say those words honestly, I feel, is an incredibly scary thing. It is something that I feel America is not doing. The wars dont happen on our land, we dont know what war is. We say we are opposed to the ideals of another country or religion or organization and because of that we are willing to kill them until they change their views? Something sounds incredibly wrong, and tragically faulted in this reasoning. I mean, just why is it America is always the focus of hatred? Why is our country scorned by so many others. I would think this emerging pattern of policing the world and mentally distanced, or even detached support we provide has much to do with it.

But back to what I was saying, It seems Kevin sites is trying to ask his readers to more closely consider just what is happening now, and I dont think that is a bad thing at all.


Mojoey said...

Ah, and this is where we disagree my son. Kevin Sites is telling a story to his readers based on his worldview, which paints America as the bad guy. I would have just as much of a problem with his work if he painted America as the good guy. I want facts, not his opinion. As a photographer I know I can either shoot a flattering picture of a person, of an unflattering, I choose the outcome and the intended message. Sites believes the war is wrong, Bush is evil, the insurgents are hero’s, and we big bad Americans villains. He is dangerous, his message hurts people, our people.

Sites tells a story of murder with his video, then sends it to our enemies. He helps build the story that others want to believe, that America is here to conquer, when we are there to help. It is not the Iraq’s who fight us, it is the fanatic, the Muslim jihadist, or the old regime. They fight, because to give democracy a chance in Iraq threatens everything they believe in.

You ask as question, could I kill. The answer of course is yes. But if you ask, could I kill in cold blood, the answer is no. If I must fight in defense of my country, I would kill. The problem I have is that the fighting in Iraq is not in defense of my county. It is a mistake caused by our over zealousness in response to 911. I supported the war at the time we went in, I support it now because to do anything else would be cowardice. We have made a commitment as a county to help Iraq become free. We must see it through, no matter what the cost. People will die, good people will be murdered for no good reason. Some of our young solders will never come home again; some will come home torn and broken. Responsibly for this rests War rests with Bush, and for those who supported it, like me. I hope we made the right decision.

We are not at war in Iraq. We are at war with radical Islam. It will get worse before the end. Many innocent people will die. I fear our future looks bleak. I have often told you that I am an Atheist because of how tribal, war-like, and hateful religion can be. This time, the war targets everyone who is not already Islamic. I would rather it be fought in Iraq than I New York.

And one last thing… the older I get, the more inclined I am to distrust the press. We saw so many examples of bias during the elections. Everybody seems to have an agenda. I cannot accept what I see coming from an agency like AP, who would even use the term terrorist to describe some of the most alarming groups active today, like Hamas. The official policy is to appraise these types of groups at our expense. It is dangerous and people like Sites make it worse.

Anonymous said...

thanks dad =o)

That was good times, I was a little scared after reading your first post, I think it was just the language used that made it come off with a touch more fervor than was intended. But it was great to see your reasoning behind this, as people tend to be so cut and dry with support or opposition to the war I that I rarely get to hear a firm, confident, reason-based opinion.

Again, I didnt know what the whole video deal was about but was basing my opinion on his website, which when judged on its own I still dont see as criminal. As far as your touchiness to bias goes though, what do you see as fair? It is of course impossible to avoid bias, as you stated even a single word can color an article one way or another, but do you see an alternative means, or a press entity that is doing it right? Or do you just see skepticism as an essential tool in processing the news?

I have actually come in the favor of blatant bias lately, charged, opinionated narratives peppered with personality have started to suit my tastes. It is an entirely different beast than mass media news of course, but I find that its just fun to see exactly where someone stands and you dont have to analyze to get past a journalistic mask. They wear their opinion on their sleeve and because of this you are able to have a mental debate with the reporter, of course always while utilizing your own vast array of skeptic devices. Hmm, I think that whole paragraph was saying "I like This American Life".

thanks again dad.

Mojoey said...


For a war correspondent, skepticism and a healthy does of common sense must be the rule of the day. Oh, and a correspondent must understand there are sides to a war and understand which side he or she is on. Take this case for example, I ask, was it right to release this video tape to the world? I’m afraid I don’t actually know the answer, but my intuition tells me that there are numerous explanations for what looked like a murder but may not have been. The video might have been of terrorist playing dead so as to kill or maim Marines with a booby-trap, a grenade, or a hostile attack. The rules of war call this kind of action perfidy, and it is criminal. Was the Marine right to put a bullet in the head of a man faking dead? Well, maybe. Given that the other terrorists in the room were silent, and that there had been several verified reports of the same kind of behavior, the case becomes much stronger. Was it murder? No. The Marine was limiting risk to his squad. If the terrorist was faking dead to feign attack, then now he is dead, if he was dead anyway, then he’s still dead, and if he was too injured to respond, then his silent terrorist associates could have spoken up to save him when the whole mess started. Any way you want to look at it, there are other aspects to the story that did not come out. Now the tape is in the hands of our enemies, which makes Sites no better than a terrorist.

Btw – I agree, this American life rocks. I think it is some of the best journalism available, plus it appeals to my underdeveloped liberal artsy side.