If there is such a thing as a Journalistic Code of Practice, it should include a protocol that states, When you tell a lie, at least make it remotely believable. This would be of some benefit to so witless a blackguard as Tariq Ali:
A few miles to the north of the disaster zone there is a large fleet of helicopters belonging to the Western armies occupying parts of Afghanistan. Why could the US, German and British commanders not dispatch these to save lives? Is the war so fierce that these were needed every single day? Five days after the earthquake, the US released 8 helicopters from war duty to help transport food and water to isolated villages. Too little, too late.Tariq Ali, “Things are Bad and Getting Worse: Pakistan Will Never Forget This Horror”, CounterPunch, 11th October 2005.
Quite how Mr Ali expects us to believe him, when he tells us three days after the earthquake, that the Americans released eight helicopters five days after the earthquake, is beyond me. Perhaps he should be called upon to update the Journalistic Style Guide, detailing the use of a new tense: Prognosticated Future Past.
One may wonder if the development of this new tense has interfered with Mr Ali’s ability to heed the numerous reports and pictures from the past few days that testify to the arrival of US helicopters. For instance, late on Monday 10th October, less than three days after the earthquake, Sadaqat Jan of the Associated Press reported the arrival of eight US helicopters:
Eight U.S. helicopters were diverted from the war in neighboring Afghanistan. They carried supplies, tarpaulins and high-tech equipment.Three military cargo planes with blankets, tents, meals and water also arrived.Sadaqat Jan, “Pakistan: Desperation sweeps through the rubble”, (AP), StarTribune.com, 10th October 2005.
It is only Mr Ali’s report, however, that tells us that these helicopters will arrived in the next day or so.
(Update: I see that Mr Ali's report has appeared in The Guardian ("Pakistan will not Forget", 12th October 2005.), one day after it appeared at CounterPunch, with one noticeable change: five days has become three days. Perhaps his powers have failed him.)