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Monthly Archives: May 2005

Counting Civilian Casualties in Iraq

Instapundit: “TIM WORSTALL notes a new UN report on Iraqi casualties that’s rather at odds with the Lancet report, and wonders why it’s not getting nearly as much attention.” READ MORE

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News Roundup #8

Selected summary of United Nations related news and events

Report paints grim picture of Iraqi life

German prosecutor to head UN inquiry into murder of Lebanon’s ex-premier

Heat Rises Over Meeting on Climate Change

UNICEF to RP: Address rights violations vs children READ MORE

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AIDS Project Launched With Help From UN, World Bank

UN News Service: “Four Central Asian countries which have suffered a dramatic increase in HIV infection rates in recent years today launched a nearly $27 million project to lessen the human and economic impact of the pandemic … At a project launch workshop, whose organizers included the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Bank, representatives of the four countries signed agreements for a $25 million grant from the Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) and a 1 million pound sterling grant from the Department for International Development (DfID) in the United Kingdom.” READ MORE

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More Bloggers React to the Roger L. Simon Post

Digby: “On the UN Foundation’s blog UN Dispatch, Peter Daou took issue with Roger Simon’s obsessing over the Oil For Food program, while never having a kind word to say about the good things the United Nations does around the world. The right blogosphere is incensed that he would dare to tell a blogger what he should blog about, and besides the oil for food scandal is, like, really really bad. Now call me crazy, but I seem to remember some wingnuts bleating every five minutes or so about how the news media is obsessing about all the “bad news” in Iraq to exclusion of the “good.” It’s been their mantra for the last two years as a matter of fact.”

Stirling Newberry: “A few days ago [Peter at UN Dispatch] took on Roger Simon, who has been making hay by being the wingnut world’s designated repeater on oil for food. Peter Daou caught him grinning at the camera about how many hits it was getting him.”

John Cole: “I don’t, however, buy into the notion that the UN is fatally flawed. It does do good work, and that should be acknowledged. I have a helluva lot of things I would like them to do, but that would require committments that no one in the world, tragically, appears willing to make. That was part of the reason I believe The UN Dispatch took on Roger Simon…. I have read Roger Simon for a long time, and I am fully convinced he is passionate about UN reform and deeply appalled by the Oil-for-Food scandal.”

Ambient Irony: “The UN Dispatch, a blog sponsored by – but in no way representing the opinion of – the United Nations Foundation, has developed an unhealthy fixation on Roger L. Simon.” READ MORE

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Roger L. Simon: UN-Balanced Blogging, Part II

Not surprisingly, our previous post about Roger L. Simon’s hyper-focus on the Oil-for-Food controversy elicited a strong response from the UN’s blog critics.

And not unexpectedly, the responses were largely dismissive, derisive, and betrayed a shallow reading of the original post.

Michelle Malkin, Captain Ed, Redstate, Glenn Reynolds, Hugh Hewitt, Pejman Yousefzadeh, and a number of others have weighed in. Here are the main lines of argument, with comments:

1. UN Dispatch is the UN’s blog, and the post in question represents the UN’s displeasure with Roger Simon.

False. Here’s a brief quote from the ‘About’ section of this blog: “UN Dispatch is sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, though the views expressed herein do not represent the official views of the United Nations Foundation, or the UN.”

2. UN Dispatch does nothing to refute Simon’s contentions about Oil-for-Food and simply takes issue with his topic selection.

A non-argument. The post is clearly about an examination of why Simon is fixated on the subject, not what he says about it. A March 3rd entry on UN Dispatch quotes Mark Malloch Brown, chief of staff to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, on Oil-for-Food: “There was wrongdoing at the UN, an organization which must live by the highest ethical standards, and we’ve got to correct it and root it out.”

3. Simon has the right to blog about anything he pleases, whether or not the UN likes it.

Again, this isn’t in contention. The point is not to deny Simon the right to post, but to examine his rationale for focusing on a single issue, however significant, to the exclusion of other issues of equal – if not greater – impact. The question seems reasonable considering that most issue-oriented bloggers such as Brad DeLong, Volokh, Juan Cole, etc. have an area of specialization that dovetails naturally with their blogging. In Simon’s case, it seemed like a fair question to ask why this particular topic is of signal importance to him.

Finally, an unfortunate reaction from some bloggers is their willingness to simply shrug off the examples of UN-related issues listed in the original post. It’s clear that many of these bloggers have become accustomed to knee-jerk attacks and are unwilling (or unable) to engage in a reasoned debate.

For the record, we’ll re-post the issues we think warrant attention and let readers decide:

Tackling the threat of transnational organized crime

Shipping supplies to millions of Iraqi schoolchildren

Controlling the Marburg virus

Building thousands of homes for tsunami victims

Partnering with the private sector to meet humanitarian needs

Reducing child mortality rates

Rehabilitating Iraq’s marshlands

Eradicating polio

Rebuilding lives in Afghanistan

Fighting the global malaria epidemic

Curbing the world’s most hazardous pollutants

Improving global disaster and emergency response

Building a sustainable future READ MORE

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Roger L. Simon: UN-Balanced Blogging

20% of Roger L. Simon’s blog entries during the month of April make reference to the Oil-for-Food controversy.

0% of Roger L. Simon’s blog entries during April make reference to the following UN-related issues:

Tackling the threat of transnational organized crime

Shipping supplies to millions of Iraqi schoolchildren

Controlling the Marburg virus

Building thousands of homes for tsunami victims

Partnering with the private sector to meet humanitarian needs

Reducing child mortality rates

Rehabilitating Iraq’s marshlands

Eradicating polio

Rebuilding lives in Afghanistan

Fighting the global malaria epidemic

Curbing the world’s most hazardous pollutants

Improving global disaster and emergency response

Building a sustainable future
________

Is Simon’s hyper-focus on a single UN-related issue based on deep convictions? Unbending principles? Moral outrage? Maybe. Then again, there’s his explanation:

Thanks to the Secretary General of the United Nations for providing this blog with its first 50,000+ visitor day.” – Roger L. Simon READ MORE

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