Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Are US conflict journalists guaranteed non-combatant status? Pentagon narrows Law of War manual


Missy Ryan has an important “checkpoint” story on P A17 of the Washington Post on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, “Language on journalists is revised in Law of War”.  Online, the title is more specific, “Pentagon alters Law of War manual to remove suggestion journalists are combatants”

The Pentagon reinforces the idea that the services may have their own war correspondents, and that journalists could jeopardize their status by reporting classified information, like the positions of artillery forward observers.  Oh, that memory of Army Basic comes back.



Journalists who break the rules have sometimes been detained without charge.

There’s a mentality that journalists should “pay their dues” with conflict reporting.  But it's always been interesting to me that Clark Kent becomes a journalist.
(See related post June 19.)

Friday, July 15, 2016

To take care of "others", you have to learn to "take care of your own", first (David Brooks, Johathan Haidt essays)


David Brooks gives us a critical essay today in the New York Times, “We Take Care of Our Own”   Much of what he says is related to a credited long essay by NYU sociology professor Jonathan Haidt in the American Interest, "Whey and Why Nationalism Beats Globalism", link here  There is a substantial paywall, and given the booklet-length of the article (four chapters) the user may want to pick up (“purchase”) a hardcopy of the periodical at a local Barnes and Noble or similar bookstore.



I’ve pretty much nurtured the same line of thought.  I have become a self-expressive “globalist” myself and sometimes been heavily “criticized” for my lack of psychological loyalty to “groups” that have “nurtured” me, ranging from original family to activist or communal groups later in my life.


I think there is another point here, about socialization.  It’s important that people (“me”) learn to take care of others, with some intimacy when necessary.  This goes way beyond narrow ideas of personal responsibility, as modern libertarians see the idea, as people can become responsible for others besides their own voluntarily conceived kids.  The process is integral to making the lives of everyone, of varying quantitative abilities, in a family chain valued, so it’s important to democracy (and for “democratic capitalism” as we know it, a bit ironically).  This capacity usually has to be learned at home, in the family, before it can be exported to caring for the situations in other parts of the world.
 
That said, some churches I attend send youth groups to Belize, Nicaragua, and even El Savador and Kenya.  One has a ministry in South Sudan.  But it has to start at home.



Monday, July 04, 2016

A new Facebook profile picture, and "Ephram's inability to change"


I got pestered repeatedly by Facebook to update my profile picture, and so finally I did, with a photo taken on me at an AGLA social on July 1, and got four likes for the new profile.

The old profile has a picture of me at a candlelight service.

Some other remarks:  I understand that some people see organizing others as their mission, their form of activism.  It may be circumscribed by what they do at work, that is also publicly visible.  I generally don’t announce all my activities in advance (security is one reason). I generally don’t go to the same event repeatedly unless something new would happen at a particular occasion (like a meal, or being held in a new venue).
 
I can remember that in the WB show “Everwood”, starting back in 2002 and running a few years, the piano prodify Ephram (Gregory Smith) wrote an essay that was published for a while on WB’s site for the show, “Ephram’s Fatal Flaw.”  Ephram said that his fatal flaw was his inability to “change”.

So it is with me.  I feel much more pressure to become connected socially, maybe in volunteer activities, to others, in situations where I might have been unwelcome in the past.  I did the kind of work for a living that is often best done individually, and that was very demanding of detail and attention, sometimes putting personal relationships (dating and marriage) on a backburner as a lower priority.  Not everyone would tolerate this.   And I don’t like to be the one to make someone else “all right” if that someone isn’t so, but this remark takes me into a troubling area that will be explored another time.
Section picture  Event with Gregory Smith and Chris Pratt at King of Prussia Mall, PA, August 2005.