January 12, 2009

Don't Forget to Vote

Don't forget to vote for me in the 2008 Weblog Awards. The Best Middle East or Africa Blog category only has two serious contenders left, and I'm one of them. You can vote every 24 hours, and it just takes a second. Don't let Juan Cole win.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 12, 2009 8:11 PM
Comments

This article is alleging white phosphorous projectile shells:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5497338.ece

Any reaction?

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 8:59 PM

Anand,

I was reminded yesterday or the day before to refrain from commenting on individual cases like this before the fog of war has been lifted.

Maybe the IDF is lying, and maybe the report is based on Hamas propaganda. I don't know.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 9:24 PM

"The 1980 Geneva treaty says that white phosphorus should not be used as a weapon of war in civilian areas, but there is no blanket ban on its use as a smokescreen or for illumination."

What else needs be said ?

It's a LEGITIMATE action. Nasty but legitimate.

What exactly IS your point? WAR IS A NASTY PROCESS.

Posted by: dougf Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 9:34 PM

Got my extended family voting on all of their computers, so between us that's at least another 6 or 7 for you.

While it's possible IDF is so stupid as to commit a high-visibility, made-for-prime-time, inarguable war crime for no good tactical reason, I have my doubts. A few days ago some UN type white guy said it was his understanding it was used legally as smoke and illumination, but that in his opinion it was 'unnecessary' and excessive.

Now per their reports at the time, when their own tank blew a building down on a 30-plus man Golani platoon, including the Brigade commander, killing 4 and wounding 25, IAF provided several rounds of 'illumination' and 'cover' while they dug out and evacuated the dead and injured. Again, I suppose if IDF is so clumsy that friendly fire has caused far more Israeli casualties than Hamas thus far, they might also be incompetent enough to use white phosphorous on their own Med-Evac people and casualties...

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 9:47 PM

On a somewhat related note, I'm told that deleting your cookies will enable you to vote multiple times in an online poll. (You delete the cookies after you vote, then vote again, repeat the process)

True?

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 11:06 PM

Don't cheat!

They will know if you cheat. I lost an award once after I thought I had won it because voters cheated.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 12:02 AM

I wouldn't want to win that way, anyway. It has to be clean, or I do not want it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 12:03 AM

Hi MT,

Firstly I want to say I voted for you. I follow several ME blogs and I have to say that I am always most impressed with the quality and range of your posts.

I did want to use this opportunity to bring to your attention a report on the Cost of Conflict in the Middle East that my organization has prepared, which I do think you and your audience would be interested in. IS there an email where i can send you more information. In the light of everything that is going on currently I think this is especially important.

Hope to hear from you,
Ambika

Posted by: ambika Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 2:32 AM

On a somewhat related note, I'm told that deleting your cookies will enable you to vote multiple times in an online poll.

Ten years ago, sure. Now outfits that care about the poll's integrity also log the ip address the vote came from. Multiple votes from the same IP get dropped.

Don't bother trying to cheat, it's unethical and unnecessary. While I would prefer to deprive Juan Cole of whatever bragging rights might be associated with the award, if he wins, he wins.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 4:43 AM

Why can people vote once every 24 hours? I don't get it. Doesn't that reward, um, intensity as well as numbers?

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 5:41 AM

The point of these 'awards' is to generate page hits. Every time someone votes, they're seeing banner ads.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 5:51 AM

Oh. You can legitimately revote after a day. Done.

Posted by: ElMondo Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 7:46 AM

Best luck.

Posted by: mooncakesbear Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 8:51 AM

Michael,

I've urged my readers over at Iraqi Bloggers Central to vote for you if they've appreciated your reporting and commentary as much as I have. I'm sure I've sent more than a few votes your way.

One question. Not that a commentator must have first-hand experience, but do you know if Juan Cole has ever been to Iraq? What Middle Eastern countries has he visited?

*

Posted by: Jeffrey Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 9:05 AM

Michael,

I can tell by the way you denounce cheating that you do not support Palestinian initiatives in the peace process...and probably drive an SUV!

Or maybe it means you should go in a ride in my new SUV we got from the state last week, preferably on the way to a beer and chat about work.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 9:49 AM

I voted for you using my computer, my dad's laptop, my siter's laptop, and the city library's public computer. Your inexplicable fetish for integrity sickens me.

=P

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 2:32 PM

So I was going around all day chanting BEAT JUAN COLE! BEAT JUAN COLE!

and you did! MJT wins, 44.7 to 30.9!!

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 6:26 PM

Congratulations, Michael!

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 8:24 PM

Is it final or there are few ballots laying forgotten in the trunk of a car?

Michael, my congratulations!

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 8:25 PM

It's not final until they subtract every voter who cheated. I'm not announcing that I won until after they do that. I won one of these things once only to to have my victory taken away from me because some voters cheated.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 8:50 PM

Lee: I voted for you using my computer, my dad's laptop, my siter's laptop, and the city library's public computer.

You cheated! Your votes will be subtracted.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 8:51 PM

Wait -- that's not cheating. They don't know who was pecking the keys -- different computers are just fine. I might have had.... uh... three houseguests this week. Yeah, that's it!

If Cole overturns your win, then a fix is in. The wrong fix!

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 9:06 PM

Anand,

The Red Cross says the IDF's use of white phosphorus is not illegal.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 12:41 AM

The Red Cross says the IDF's use of white phosphorus is not illegal.

Once again we face the contrast between illegal and cruel.

A better question is, does it make sense that it's not cool to poison people with VX gas that kills them in seconds, but that it is cool to use incendiaries that frequently maim people horrendously and leave them in such condition that killing is a mercy?

There is often no ethical logic, or logic of any kind, to the formal international laws of war. They're a hopeless tangle between the occasional good idea and the incredible gymnastics those ideas will be put through by states seeking to gut them.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 2:59 AM

Glasnost,

The Red Cross is saying that Israel is using white phosphorous only as illumination and smoke screen. If that's true, then there is no problem. White phosphorous is only cruel when it is used against people.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 3:04 AM

Glasnost',

"Once again we face the contrast between illegal and cruel."

War is cruel business unless you disagree.

Posted by: leo Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 4:36 AM

Oh. Well, good for Israel. One leg up on America here. I should have read the link before posting.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 4:49 AM

Once again we face the contrast between illegal and cruel.
-Glasnost

War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out.
-Major General William Tecumseh Sherman

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 5:35 AM

Yeah, I didn't cheat, I just used different computers. Different IP addresses (or I hope so).

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 10:50 PM
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