New York Times Dumb Editorial

The New York Times is basically calling for economic sanctions on Sri Lanka in order to force a cease-fire. This includes the $1.9 billion emergency IMF loan which is basically to prevent the economy from cratering. I know that the Times doesn’t advocate terrorism, it’s my favorite paper. However, I can’t think of a greater weapon than if Prabhakaran wrote it himself. The LTTE wants the ‘international community’ to bail them out. The New York Times wants to do it.

The proper thing to call for is the LTTE to lay down their arms and let go of their human shields. The proper thing is to choke their international funding and support.

Instead the Times wants to point an economic gun at Sri Lanka in order to preserve the LTTE for ‘negotiations’. The LTTE doesn’t want a ceasefire to negotiate, they just want a ceasefire to not lose. I don’t even understand where the Times gets off.

Sanctions generally don’t work in any of these situations. All they do is entrench local despotic tendencies and drive countries into the arms of China, Russia, Iran, etc. How are the sanctions going in Burma, for example? Cuba?

The Times says there are no ‘good guys’ in this fight, but there actually are. I’m no big supporter of the government, but in the fight against the LTTE they are the good guys. My government is running the camps and hospitals that feed and clothe these people while the LTTE is keeping them as human shields. My government has elections while the LTTE has boycotts and murders moderate Tamils. We can fix our government. We cannot fix the LTTE.

God knows this war has a terrible cost, I have seen it. But for the New York Times to step in now and ask for the West to basically attack Sri Lanka economically is unconscionable. The IMF loan isn’t for war, it’s to keep our financial markets from tanking. I’m not one to defend handouts normally, but this is a messed up time internationally and there is huge instability across the system.

How would impoverishing Sri Lanka help? How do we care for the refugees then? How do we rebuild the land that the LTTE occupied and left fallow? How do we rehabilitate their child soldiers? How do we repair their human shields?

Seriously, you want to step in and punish Sri Lanka and save the LTTE now? What the fuck are you thinking? Thankfully the UN Security Council has blocked any moves so far. Now is the time to help Sri Lanka. Not bail out the LTTE.

And yes, I understand the hyperbole involved in that statement. I know the Times doesn’t support the LTTE. The consequence of their ideas, however, would be to bail out the LTTE.

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2009-05-01 11:06:17

I am still waiting for them to write an article on water boarding and asking to take bush and the gang in for war crimes. Effing Morons.

2009-05-01 18:13:36

“I know the Times doesn’t support the LTTE” – you know awhile back I would have agreed wtih you…now though after reading so many articles in Western papers like this one, I’m starting to wonder whether the Diaspora is calling in favours, greasing palms, etc.

2009-05-01 20:30:08

My goodness, now the shadowy diaspora cabal is pulling strings at the paper of record? At some point you’ll have to realize that Sri Lanka really is approaching pariah status by virtue of its increasingly hamfisted military actions and diplomatic incompetence alone, and you’ll have to hold the country to account rather than blame Tamils for its ills.

When will conspiracy theories to villify Tamil people be passe in Sri Lanka?

2009-05-01 21:35:19

Paper of record cannot get an interview with leader of free world.
They looked the other way when bush lied in 2003 about WMD ,even they they had information disputing that.Rember Judy Miller who was a puppet controlled by Scooter Libby.
way to go “Paper of record”!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2009-05-01 23:14:42

Note I’m not vilifying or blaming the Tamil people…just the Diaspora LTTE supporters and their representatives who have a vested interest in this war continuing irregardless of their ‘people’ suffering on the ground. Just look at the transcript from the British Parliament debate on Sri Lanka, the MP’s were pretty much channeling Tamilnet.

The LTTE Diaspora should be ashamed of themselves, we are at this stage now because they did not pressure the LTTE to stay in the CFA negotiations and engage in a meaningful way, they looked the other way while the group they funded violated the CFA over a thousand times, while they assassinated moderate Tamils, disenfranchised the Tamil people and marched the people of the Vanni as human shields. What happened iwth the $200-300 million a year of profit the LTTE made? What did they do to help the people they so vociferously say they are protecting? The LTTE Diaspora dug their heads in the sand, lived their lives in the West and paid lip service and funds for the fight for Eelam. Unfortunately they will not pay the price for their irresponsibility, instead it is the people of the Vanni who are paying with their lives.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2009-05-01 19:52:20


What is you opinion on this lot at the ground level in Sri Lanka ?

They are gearing up a HUGE campaign here about collecting aid for Sri Lanka and has even started putting TV ads and creating a media circus.

Are they a LTTE front organization ? Do they have acces to govt controlled areas ? What is the situation at ground level about this group ???

2009-05-01 20:52:20

Dunno, can’t really comment. They say they’re partner is World Concern. I know that World Concern operates here, but don’t know much about them

2009-05-01 20:21:16

NYT got a chance to ask a question last night from Obama(They are still pissed off about not getting the first interview of the president).Here is what the guy asked.

There is whole economic situation,swine flu,energy situation,torture,his picks being not confirmed by senate and republicans refusing to play ball ,cuba,iran,north korea and the list could go on…and on…..
This guy asks about enchanted !
my ass.
Of course this being NYT the editorial carries weight but I would ignore it for the moment.

2009-05-01 22:57:45

you assume that your government can be fixed. That is premised on the fallacy of professional rent-seekers suddenly giving up their sources of power and funding. No parliament is filled with altruists but you do need to have more incentives to do right than incentives to maintain rents in order to enjoy the myriad fruits of BRIC-level GDP growth.

Good guys do not detain, harass or otherwise molest innocent people–tamil/singhalese/whatever. Good guys do not adopt every coercive method possible to acheive policy objectives. Good guys are not made so by a relative comparison with villains but an absolute comparison with an immutable moral standard. Sophistry thrives in such a relatavist environment and sophistic arguments perpetuate and validate, by grant of honest citizen, coercive rule.

2009-05-01 23:52:21

Well, the Rajapakse government has gone after the tigers with such brutality and vengeance with dismissive regard for the civilian casualties, treating it more like a PR problem than anything else.

Government basically said to everyone, look we are going to screw the LTTE and eliminate them, but we might kill a few Tamils, abduct some, cripple the free press and spend shitloads of money in the process. Most people are perfectly happy with the deal. That’s the big secret in Sri Lanka. you know it, I know it, everyone with eyes on Sri Lanka knows it. They might not publicly substantiate due to all the diplomatic theatrics, but that’s the basic story. and they have done all this while saying Fuck-all to the internationals while standing in photo ops with all the dickheads in the world, like Gaddafi and Ahmadinejad.

and after doing all that, and the chest-beating go-to-hell-you-tigers patriotism induced here, are you really surprised that our little begging scheme with the IMF gets screwed up?

2009-05-02 00:52:05

Are there any estimates on how long it will take to end this war? one month? months? a year? over a year? How long has it been since the government launched this hardcore attack?

Has the government really weighed out the real consequences of letting in humanitarian groups for a short time to aid and get out the Tamil victims of this tragedy? Would that automatically imply that the LTTE would have sufficient time to regroup or would it not significantly alter the final outcome other than to save lives?

The long term consequences of putting thousands of people in such a vulnerable situation should be considered more carefully. Whether or not the government’s war strategy is right and though we may hate the LTTE, there is a causal effect that cannot be ignored. Yes, the LTTE using people as human shields is deplorable but the sharp increase in the number of people dying and suffering is a direct consequence of the government’s actions. Are these action justified because of wanting to vanquish the LTTE? I don’t think so. The government and the military are responsible for protecting the lives of all Sri Lankans. Would the government’s actions be the same if the LTTE had a stronghold in the South and they wanted to eliminate the tigers from there?

Is this the optimal strategy that will lead to a long run equilibrium of peace, tranquility and well defined rights for the Tamil people? The psychological impacts that these IDP’s face will probably make them hate the government even more. Maybe the LTTE will disappear, but I have a feeling that it will be replaced by another Tamil terrorist group that will feel just as duped as when the LTTE originally began and then our future generations will go through this cycle all over again. I hope for the sake of the country the government will restore enough rights to what’s left of the Tamil population after this crisis.

Two wrongs never make a right. The LTTE have the blood of the people on their hands. But so does the government – a representative social planner, I think not.

While it’s fine and dandy to think ‘enough already let’s vanquish the LTTE buggers’, going back to history it seems that this may drag on for longer than we anticipate. It’s “my” government too. I don’t know yet if I support the current attack. However, I do know that not everything adds up.

Could someone please explain why, as mentioned in the NYTimes, reporters and humanitarian groups are not allowed to go to these regions? Why should we be afraid if they have something to say that we don’t agree with? All we’re doing is proving that we can’t handle other opinions. And the humanitarian groups? They are risking their lives to help our people. Why is that bad? Are we opposed to altruistic deeds of others? It’s great if local Sri Lankans themselves are stepping up to the task but the more helpers the better for us. And no, most of these people are not doing it with some underhanded motives.

In fact, looking back to what happened during the Tsunami, so much aid was given to us and sure most of our regular localites really stepped up. However, for the amount of money we were given the level of improvement that we achieved was way under par. How much of this landed in government coffers? Do we think Mahinda did a great job handling that situation?
Do we really think that all the international delegates are that stupid and have no idea about what’s going on? Maybe they have an outsider’s perspective that we don’t. Maybe they have considered the experiences of other nations that we haven’t.

I’m just playing devil’s advocate.
I could not even imagine how it must feel to know that where I come from is no more. That all my possessions are lost. That above all, the ones I treasure are dead, dying or sick. To have no idea if and when I shall ever return to familiarity. To be treated as a number. To become numb to it all.

2009-05-02 13:06:02

so the good guys aerially bombard and shell civilian safe zones, lie about it, attack anyone who disagrees with them and still manage to convince pseudo liberals that they are indeed, the good guys. fantastic.

2009-05-04 03:02:25

Actually I don’t think the NYT editorial is all that bad. I think we’ve become too paranoid. I don’t believe the US et al are trying to ‘save’ Prabhakaran. I think what they’re trying to say to SL is stop, open your eyes, and look – you’ve won the war already.

history student
2009-05-04 08:07:00

Except we have not won the war. Some of us are old enough to remember Vadamarachchi, we have been this close before.

Gun Gun
2009-05-06 03:16:27

Here is some independent report on your ‘good guys’ conduct.

2009-05-07 06:05:47

Thank you for posting this. It’s good to get a different perspective.

2009-05-07 23:38:54

Agree totally with Nayagan.

Indi, it’s important to remember.

You are over simplyfying the matter. Sure, the GoSL has sprung into action now and they are apparently doing all they can, but remember all the hurt they caused. Remember all the lives they took. Remember all the corruption and kidnappings and assassinations. Of course now they have no choice but to take care of the IDPs. The whole world is looking at them and they have a massive humanitarian crisis on their hands. Our government is a government, so it is doing its duty: it’s not supposed to be some great bonus that they are taking care of their civilians, it’s their duty.

I am not at any level saying that the LTTE is not to blame. They are to blame for the current situation, and now their cowardice is showing more than ever before.

But you used to believe that a government cannot be measured up against the terrorist group. It should not be. You cannot make them the ‘good guys’ by reminding us how bad the bad guys are. We all know they’re the bad guys. They’re fucking terrorists. Of course they’re bad. They’re meant to be mad. But the government is meant to be good, and still they have been bad.

Sure, the government has ‘elections’ but every single time it is rigged and corrupt and real votes don’t matter much in who wins in the end. People die and fake votes are cast and ballot boxes are stolen. Is this your idea of a democratic election run by a good government? They couldn’t even get through a Provincial Council election without someone being killed. The government kills those against it, too. It oppresses too. And it’s a government, not a crazed terrorist group.

I don’t think it’s a matter of good guys or bad guys, I don’t think there are any good guys, period. At least, not in this war.

I think you have to remember, Indi. It’s easier to forget, but important to remember.

2009-05-08 23:07:01

I don’t think there has ever been — or ever will be — good guys in war. Just winners and losers. Some of the winners are less bad than the losers, but that’s about it.

2009-05-26 00:58:11

[...] seen some terrible Op-Eds on our situation, but surely this must rank in the Top 10 Full Retard [...]

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