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Tilting at Windmills

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June 16, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE ZARQAWI DOCS....Hmmm. Those documents allegedly found with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi suggesting that he hoped to start a war between the U.S. and Iran? Marc Lynch thinks they're fakes.

Kevin Drum 12:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

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well, D'uh!

Posted by: beb on June 16, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they're real and Zarqawi was on Dick Cheney's payroll.

Posted by: JJF on June 16, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon! Bush would never lie to us!

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

I bet somewhere in there is the proof that Hillary killed Vincent Foster.

In the Conservatory.

With the Knife.

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

It would be a very convenient way to justify the recent cooling of US rhetoric on Iran.

"Of course we're being nice to them. Only Zarqawi would want the US in a war with Iran!"

Whatever.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on June 16, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Yet another thing Bush and Osama have in common. They both want war between the US and Iran.

Posted by: reef the dog on June 16, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Marc Lynch says, "had I just killed an insurgency leader such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and I wanted to follow up on that operational success by sowing confusion and disarray among his followers (and maybe even scoring some points with the domestic public opinion which my Secretary of Defense has identified as a principle theater of conflict), I might very well release a bunch of 'documents' showing that the recently deceased was highly pessimistic about his prospects and that his movement was on the run."

This is goofy. How many people would have to be involved in this plot? Why would anyone risk pissing on the good news of the Zarquawa killing by trying a scam that might be exposed? And, who does Lynch imagine did this? The American soldiers who went through Zarqawi's safe house? Rumsfled personally?

It's true that nobody knows who wrote the document, but that's different from saying that the military is lying about it having been found with Zarqawi.

Lynch confirms his tin-foil hat status by speculating that the identification of a new Al Qaeda in Iraq leader is another US military trick. It's sad that this person is an Assoc. Prof. at a top school.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I guess it bears reposting:

From April 10:
"MILITARY PLAYS UP ROLE OF ZARQAWI"
The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/09/AR2006040900890_pf.html

Excerpts:

"The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...

"Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents in Iraq have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers"...

"In a transcript of the meeting... "Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will -- made him more important than he really is, in some ways"...

"For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign...

"It is difficult to determine how much has been spent on the Zarqawi campaign, which began two years ago and is believed to be ongoing...

"One internal briefing... concluded that, "The Zarqawi PSYOP program is the most successful information campaign to date..."

---> SO CONSIDER THIS INVERSE CASE, where a cut-throat was given an importance that was out of proportion to his real influence, in an apparent psy-ops set-up and hit: with the purpose to gain a momentum in Iraqi politics by blaming "foreigners" for the violence (although, to read Riverbend, the Iraqi people won't be fooled anyway) -- and with the nice little spin-off of a poll boost in U.S. DOMESTIC politics (where gullibility exceeds global norms.)

So, we're all glad the bastard is dead, but what does it mean? If the Iraqis don't buy it, then the only benefit is to the U.S. House Republicans, who can schedule a politicized diversionary "debate?"

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on June 16, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

a couple points:

1. the folks over at the counterterrorism blog http://counterterrorismblog.org/ (certainly the most well-informed speculators on these matters) have some interesting thoughts on the supposed identification of al Quaeda's new leader in Iraq but haven't questioned this doc yet.
2. I suppose the Iraqi government could have faked this...I doubt we would have.
3. On the whole I think the doc is probably genuine...what it says makes sense and the fact that it doesn't use the same language as al quaeda press statements is hardly damning...this was a document intended for internal consumption. of course there will be incongruities.

P.S. on the other hand...the fact that U.S. personnel were crowing up and down to the press over Zarquawi having been betrayed by one of his own...tells me that he probably wasn't...we're just trying to get them to turn on each other. smart play.

Posted by: Nathan on June 16, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, it's not like we haven't seen this before. Some of us remember the "letter" from Zarqawi released last year--the one that said pretty much all the things this letter says. Too bad it turned out that THAT letter was planted by the Pentagon, supposedly in an effort to undermine support for the insurgency within Iraq.


Given that, I'd say that suspicions about the origin and intent of this latest document are well warranted.

Posted by: Derelict on June 16, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

hose documents allegedly found with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi suggesting that he hoped to start a war between the U.S. and Iran? Marc Lynch thinks they're fakes.

Iraq's National Security Adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie says you're wrong Kevin. Why should we believe you instead of the National Security Adviser of Iraq?

Washington Times Link

"Al-Rubaie said a laptop, flashdrive and other documents were found in the debris after the airstrike that killed the al-Qaida in Iraq leader last week outside Baqouba, and more information has been uncovered in raids of other insurgent hideouts since then. He called it a "huge treasure ... a huge amount of information."

When asked how he could be sure the information was authentic, al-Rubaie said "there is nothing more authentic than finding a thumbdrive in his pocket.""

Posted by: Al on June 16, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, two 500 lb bombs blow the shit out of a cottage, and not only is Zaqarawi's face intact for the cameras, now there are laptops and other goodies in fine shape that have all this incriminating evidence?

Of course the US military would always tell the truth, they never lie.

Posted by: Slience is deafening on June 16, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Lee A. Arnold - I recommend you read Iraq the Model as a more realistic counterweight to Riverbend.

Poor Riverbend. She's so focused on bad news, she's blind to good news. Yet, even her post acknowledges that the Iraqi leaders she's heard are all ecstatic about Zarqawi's death.

Derelict, was that letter you referred to actually the one (allegedly) written al Zawahiri, UBL's 2nd in command? If so, it has never been debunked as being created by the Pentagon, AFAIK, although it hasn't been absolutely proven either.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Why would anyone doubt information coming from the US military? After all, they've never lied to us about the death of Pat Tillman, the rescue of Jessica Lynch, how civilians were killed at Haditha, how prisoners are being treated, whether WMDs have been found, or anything else, right?

Posted by: KCinDC on June 16, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Derelict:

that letter was not proven a forgery. and, fwiw, the counterterrorism blog folks deemed it genuine.

slience: the U.S. military said that this document was not found at the Zarquawi house but rather at a different location. regardless, its certainly possible to recover hard drives, flash drives and the like in recoverable condition...you'd be surprised what survives explosions...objects aren't necessarily vaporized...

Posted by: Nathan on June 16, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, two 500 lb bombs blow the shit out of a cottage, and not only is Zaqarawi's face intact for the cameras, now there are laptops and other goodies in fine shape that have all this incriminating evidence?

Remember when Mohammed Alta's passport was found lying intact atop the millions of pounds of rubble at the World Trade Center even though his plane was incinerated?

These things happen.

Posted by: Silence is deafeninger on June 16, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

The document's authenticity is basically impossible to verify. It is odd that the document constantly refers to "Shi'a" rather than the pejorative term "rawafidh" commonly used by al-Zarqawi and his takfirist circles (this may be cleanup in the translation, or a sign that this document originated outside of AQZ, either within the Sunni insurgency, the greater al-Qaeda organization, or as a forgery); it's also beyond passing strange that the document basically says that (A) Iran does not pose a threat to the U.S.; and (B) any evidence to the contrary has been faked by the Iraqi insurgency and/or AQZ. (No. 6: AQZ/insurgency will "disseminat[e] bogus messages about confessions showing that Iran is in possession of weapons of mass destruction or that there are attempts by the Iranian intelligence to undertake terrorist operations in America and the west and against western interests." Uh-huh.)

Suggesting that this is American black propaganda is absurd, but believing that it's a genuine AQZ document is, I would suggest, naive. It seems calculated to most directly help Shi'a interests in Iraq and designed to try and reduce pressure on Iran regarding its WMD efforts and paraterror adventurism. It may indeed be genuine, but few media outlets seem willing to treat it as such without further evidence.

Posted by: WatchfulBabbler on June 16, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, guys, we're slipping here. Seventeen posts and no one's made a joke about kerning yet?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on June 16, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Check the kerning! Just kidding...

Seriously folks, please read the link before commenting. ex-liberal missed the point that if the US has faked anything it is likely a psy-ops program to sow confusion in the terrorist cells.

Posted by: ecoboz on June 16, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq's National Security Adviser, Mouwafak al-Rubaie says you're wrong Kevin.

Sorry Al, he was appointed for 5 years by Bremer/Allawi before the elected government took power. If there are CIA puppets in the government, he certainly is one of them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8665-2004Jun26?language=printer

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Astro turf, plain and simple

They probably found the USB thumb drive in Afganistan in one of those stalls just outside the gate of a U.S. base

Looks like a lot of red fish got pulled in with this one

Silly people

"There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept." - Ansel Adams

Posted by: daCascadian on June 16, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Its pretty clear that one of the aims of 9/11 was to get the U.S. to retaliate miliatarily.

And they had been talking to one another, supposedly expressing disappointment that the United States had not chosen to retaliate more seriously against what had happened to the Cole. And one Al Qaida operative was overheard saying to the other, 'Don't worry; we're planning something so big now that the U.S. will have to respond.'

"And I was obviously floored by that information. I thought it was a very good story: (1) the source was impeccable; (2) the information was specific, tying Al Qaida operatives to, at least, knowledge of the attack on the Cole; and (3) they were warning that something big was coming, to which the United States would have to respond. This struck me as a major page one-potential story.


http://alternet.org/story/36388/

The invasion of Iraq was exactly what al Queda hoped for. An invasion of Iran would also suit their agenda, whether or not this source is accurate.

Posted by: Catch22 on June 16, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Lynch doesn't have any evidence. It is interesting speculation. I assume the answer will come out soon enough. But if they were fakes, don't you think the bad guys would be claiming that, not just our anti-military liberals?

Posted by: brian on June 16, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

And, who does Lynch imagine did this? The American soldiers who went through Zarqawi's safe house? Rumsfled personally?

Someone who actually bothered to read the article would know what Lynch thinks:

But - and here I enter pure speculation mode - in whose interest would including that bit in the documents be, were we to assume that the documents are not 100% authentic? Let's assume that the drafters think that all other things equal, the US (at least under this administration) is more likely to do the opposite of whatever it thinks al-Qaeda wants (never having heard of Brer Rabbit, I suppose, so that bin Laden telling us to do something is good enough reason to do the opposite... Bin Laden tried to beat Bush, we must vote for him! Bin Laden said we should get out of Iraq, we must stay in!). So documents showing that al-Qaeda wants a war between the US and Iran would make such a war less likely, all other things equal. Just the sort of thing a pro-Iranian Iraqi Shia Prime Minister might want, no?

UPDATE: the Washington Post notes several irregularities in the "document": "The authenticity of the document, which closely echoes accounts of insurgent strategy offered by Iraq's Shiite political leaders, could not be independently verified. It was written in a style different from typical statements issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq, which refer to Shiites as "rejectionists" or "dogs" and to U.S. forces as "crusaders."" There are other reasons for doubts, too. All of which reinforces my suspicion that the document (released and publicized by Shia national security advisor Mouwafak al-Rubaie) was whipped up by the Iraqi Shia-led government for PR purposes.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Riverbend. She's so focused on bad news, she's blind to good news.

Yes, poor Riverbend, so focused on all the bad news about the beheadings and the bombings and her friends who are being murdered left and right and the fact that she can't walk out on the street anymore without fear of kidnap and rape that she's blind to the good news, like how many freshly-painted schools there are. Pity her myopia.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Pity her myopia.

Plus, if she waits long enough, there's a good chance that Bush will fly in secretly to serve her a (fake) turkey. How ungrateful can she be?

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Of course they're not fakes. They were hand-written by Zarqawi's Adjutant General in his spare time between filling out supplies requisitions, drafting letters to the bereaved families of fallen terrorists and after-action reports. During meetings of the general staff when Zarqawi turns his back to put up little diagrams with x's and o's on the blackboard. Jeez.

Posted by: American Eagle on June 16, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

It is hard work to find dupes like Bill Burkett, Mary Mapes, and Dan Rather. Mark Lynch has uncovered us!

Posted by: Karl Rove on June 16, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, I'm glad to see Lynch has at least let the American military off the hook and found an Iraqi scapegoat.

BTW why shouldn't this document be in a style different from typical statements issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq? It wasn't designed to be issued by aQI. It's an internal analysis. Similarly, internal corporate memos don't have the same tone as advertisments and public statements. (although it's amusing to imagine GEICO's and AFLAC's internal work being done in gecko and duck talk.)

Nor is it surprising that the document couldn't be independently verified. I don't think al Qaeda's central offices would respond to a Freedom of Information request.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 16, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I recommend you read Iraq the Model as a more realistic counterweight to Riverbend.


Evidence? I thought not.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think al Qaeda's central offices would respond to a Freedom of Information request.

Just one more thing they have in common with this administration.

Posted by: feh on June 16, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

The invasion of Iraq was exactly what al Queda hoped for. An invasion of Iran would also suit their agenda, whether or not this source is accurate.

Absolutely right. Why is it hard to believe that Al Qaeda would wish us to bog down in as many senseless military pursuits as we desire? Especially since we aren't pursuing them.

Posted by: ckelly on June 16, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Digby's take on this:

Now, "some" might say since the Bush administration has been proved to be planting propaganda in both the Iraqi and US press, since we've "found" many spurious documents in Iraq before, and since they are lying scumbags about virtually everything including whether the sun came up this morning --- that we should be skeptical of such things. I am not one of those people. Clearly, the war is won and we can bring the troops home.

I think it's really lucky, though, that al-Zarqawi was keeping such meticulous notes and blueprints. Why do you suppose he was doing that? Was he required to send regular reports back to headquarters? A potential book deal perhaps? Maybe he was a blogger.

Anyway, note to revolutionaries, terrorists and insurgents everywhere: my mother told me many years ago, "never put on paper what the world can't see." You might want to think about that. Coz' look what your sloppiness has done. Now the infidel knows all your plans and that you know they are winning. Gawd, how embarrassing! Moral [sic] is going to be shit after this.

Can you believe it? Why George W. Bush was right on every single thing! Boy, is my face red.

There's a lot more at the link --- example after example of how the insugency is being beaten down by the superior US battle plan. There can be no more doubts. We've turned the corner. When the evil mastermind himself writes on his blog that he is helpless in the face of your superior superiority and that he's just about to give up because you are so much stronger and better and gooder --- well, there can be no further doubt that the US has kicked some terrorist ass but good. It's morning in America folks. The war is won!

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: How many people would have to be involved in this plot?

No, you are goofy.

The number of people would need to be no more than the number of people involved in the Niger forgeries or the pre-war cover up of contrary intel regarding Iraq.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Poor Riverbend. She's so focused on bad news, she's blind to good news.

Poor ex-liberal. He's so focused on partisan support for Bush that he's blind to reality.

Poor, poor deluded ex-liberal.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

brian: But if they were fakes, don't you think the bad guys would be claiming that, not just our anti-military liberals?

Since the people claiming that aren't "anti-military liberals", you really have no factual foundation supporting your conclusion.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: It's an internal analysis.

It is an alleged internal analysis proffered by the same people who brought us the Niger forgeries, fake intel, false stories about Jessica Lynch, lies about the unavailability of vehicle armor, and lies about Abu Ghraib.

LOL.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

The document is titled Q33 NY.

Try typing Q33 NY in Wingding font on MS Word (larger the font size, the better)!

That will show the libs who our enemy is.

Posted by: nut on June 16, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

(although it's amusing to imagine GEICO's and AFLAC's internal work being done in gecko and duck talk.)

And "some say" that conservatives have no sense of humor. I can't think why...

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Lynch guy is a terrorist for seeding doubts on state secrets.

Posted by: nut on June 16, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't you hear? They also found Zarqawi's Ipod, and he listens to Neil Young, Springsteen and the Dixie Chicks! And on his hard drive, they found photos of him posing with Murtha and Kerrey! And a signed letter confessing that Zarqawi, not Bin Laden, was the man behind the 9/11 attacks! And....

Posted by: Red on June 16, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Look for my expose in the next issue of Weekly Stndard. You will be surprised at my findings in the cache of documents found in Zarqawi's bathroom. Hillary and Bill will throw fits.

Posted by: Stephen Hayes on June 16, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Zarqawi's death hurt you people like hell, didn't it?

Posted by: dan on June 16, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post article is interesting. However, the rest of his post -- which preceeded the article -- is pure speculation. In fact, it's a wild hypothetical situation. Without more substance, it's like bad historical fiction -- Robert E. Lee with a Tommy Gun.

Posted by: Chris on June 16, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Why shouldn't this document be in a style different from typical statements issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq?"

Because it's as odd as finding internal KKK memoranda using the term "African-American." AQZ, inasmuch as it is an al-Zarqawi organization, /hates/ the Shi'a and considers them to be perverters of Islam, and the use of "rejectionist" (or "deserter") as a slur is common amongst the anti-Shi'a takfiris. There's no reason to believe that al-Zarqawi wasn't as hate-filled and evil as his rhetoric; why would AQZ be so much more restrained in internal documents? They never were before.

Of course, it may have been that this was not an AQZ document, but one from the local insurgency or bin Ladin/al-Zawahiri's al-Qaeda (which, it must be recalled, is a totally separate entity from AQZ, though al-Zarqawi's death may change those dynamics). But it still doesn't explain the whole "Iran's no threat to the U.S., just good solid war-on-terror partners, so let's cook up some evidence that they've got WMD and are sponsoring Iraqi Shi'a militias" bit. Accepting this document as authentic would mean reconsidering the evidence of Iranian WMD programs and complicity in Iraqi paramilitary violence.

Posted by: WatchfulBabbler on June 16, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

The whole Iranian part of the letter suggests that it was NOT a US fabrication, but possibly the Shia Iraqi government.

Posted by: xyz on June 16, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

The way I figure the document stash was supposed to be the same old military propaganda about the strength and moral of the insurgents. We probably utilized Iraqi intelligence to place or "find" it and they inserted some pro-Shia/pro-Iran propaganda for good measure. This is just the straightest line between two points, based upon recent Iraqi history.

As to why the insurgents aren't holding a press conference to tell the world "we are not weak" in a whiny little voice, they probably think their bombs speak for themselves.

Zarqawi's death hurt you people like hell, didn't it?

Well, I'm not the least bit sad. I'm most hopeful that it means more Iraqi's are turning on these guys. Right now it's a wait and see. I won't actually celebrate till my cousin's tour ends.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

... And it would be a trivial matter for Iran or its Iraqi proxies in the government to start seeding the channel with disinformation. A small investment that could easily generate a lot of noise.

Posted by: WatchfulBabbler on June 16, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

And it's a bad thing if they're fakes written to help the Iraqi government win the war against al Queda in Iraq?

Posted by: Birkel on June 16, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Since I suspect Iraqis sympathizing with the insurgents don't believe any press releases put out by the Pentagon or the Iraqi Intelligence chief, I'd guess it probably doesn't matter.

However, if this is their master plan for defeating the insurgents or if the main goal is to affect public opinion in the US, I'd say it was a bad thing.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Accepting this document as authentic would mean reconsidering the evidence of Iranian WMD programs and complicity in Iraqi paramilitary violence."

which is why there is no way in hell that this is a U.S. or U.S. abetted (at least consciously) forgery...

Posted by: Nathan on June 16, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

rewolfrats,

Perhaps to call something that may be a piece of disinformation a "master plan" is a bit disingenuous, no? Why can't this be some small bit of an informational war that has been fought by al Queda in Iraq for three years and which has finally been joined by a duly elected Iraqi government? And if that's accepted then we can dispense with your ridiculous either (A) or (B) silliness.

As for affecting US political opinion I must ask whether you are one of those whose opinion about the Iraq War could be swayed. If not you're not the target audience of the propoganda war and thus unlikely to be a very good judge about its effectiveness.

It seems likely to me that if this is a gambit in an informational war there are open questions about whether it will be effective.

What, it seems to me, is not open to debate is the credulity of the MSM which believes every allegation of abuse put forward in al Queda's information campaign while being equally suspicious of everything put out by the American/Iraqi government side.

And some folks wonder why some other folks question their patriotism.

Posted by: Birkel on June 16, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of nut doesn't believe that Iran wants a nuclear bomb and has been arming Shiite militias in Iraq?

This silly document won't change anyone's mind.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Birkel,

I didn't call anything a master plan. I said it would be bad if anyone thought forging documents to demoralize insurgents was a major component of a winning strategy. It's not. Largely because after 3 years of spitting the crap out about the weakening insurgency, they have no credibility.

you're not the target audience of the propoganda war and thus unlikely to be a very good judge about its effectiveness.

The reason domestic propaganda is bad has nothing to do with it's effectiveness.

I don't question your patriotism. I just think you're delusional if you think Rumsfeld's and Bush's incompetence is an al Queda (sic) disinformation campaign.

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

You see, rewolfrats, I was questioning who some of the commenters support in the ongoing conflict. If you, as some surely do, think the American/Iraqi efforts are to be viewed with great skepticism while eagerly anticipating the next Abu Ghraib/Gitmo/Haidtha then I think I know for which side you pull.

And, just so you know, if you're part of the "Reality-Based Community" and you're calling me delusional then I scoff in your general direction.

Posted by: Birkel on June 16, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

When asked how he could be sure the information was authentic, al-Rubaie said "there is nothing more authentic than finding a thumbdrive in his pocket.""
Posted by: Al

That's right, Al, the bomb blast was powerful enough to rupture his internal organs, but the thumbdrive in his pocket stayed intact! No reason to be the least bit suspicious.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 16, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

you're not the target audience of the propoganda [sic] war and thus unlikely to be a very good judge about its effectiveness.

As Lee Arnold posted above, it seems that we are indeed the target audience of the propaganda:

From April 10:
"MILITARY PLAYS UP ROLE OF ZARQAWI"
The Washington Post

"The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program....

"For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign...

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

That's right, Stefan. The US military is engaging in propaganda.

If you're the least bit surprised by that you're a moron of the first class. That is and always has been the case in every military conflict throughout history.

The question is whether you only support al Queda's efforts at propaganda.

Posted by: Birkel on June 16, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you, as some surely do, think the American/Iraqi efforts are to be viewed with great skepticism while eagerly anticipating the next Abu Ghraib/Gitmo/Haidtha then I think I know for which side you pull.

I pull for the side where we don't provide misleading intelligence in order to invade a country and bring it chaos and tens of thousands of dead and wounded and put troops in harm's way while capitalizing on the invasion for political gain by exploiting wartime fears and patriotic sentiments.

If you're eager to overlook the dead and wounded and daily misery of Iraqis and reliance on forgeries and hype and misstated intelligence, I think I know for which side you pull.

Posted by: Windhorse on June 16, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

I, Windhorse, support the American side. You see, I'm an American.

You?

Posted by: Birkel on June 16, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

That's right, Al, the bomb blast was powerful enough to rupture his internal organs, but the thumbdrive in his pocket stayed intact! No reason to be the least bit suspicious.

Maybe he had and xD thumb drive:

http://it.slashdot.org/hardware/04/08/01/1254242.shtml?tid=198

Posted by: rewolfrats on June 16, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK
which is why there is no way in hell that this is a U.S. or U.S. abetted (at least consciously) forgery...

Assuming its a forgery, several possible explanations would seem to be:

1) The Iraqi government, seeking to dissuade the US from going to war against Iran.
2) The Iranian government, seeking to dissuade the US from going to war against Iran.
3) Iraqi Shi'ite militias, seeking to appear independent of Iran by casting the idea that Iran was supporting them as a bit of al-Qaeda propaganda.
4) al-Qaeda, who deliberately engineered the leak of Zarqawi's location as a kind of involuntary retirement (or perhaps "promotion to martyrdom"), and wanted the US to think that it was a forgery, that #2 was explanation, and therefore encourage the US to go to war with Iran.

(Okay, #4 is a far-to-clever version that is almost completely implausible.)

Posted by: cmdicely on June 16, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

melosebrain says: "That's right, Al, the bomb blast was powerful enough to rupture his internal organs, but the thumbdrive in his pocket stayed intact! No reason to be the least bit suspicious."

actually, if you knew anything about human anatomy and anything about blast effects you would know that it's perfectly plausible.

cmdicely: I agree that any of the first three are possible (well, I think #2 is dependent upon the cooperation of #3)...but it looks like we agree that it doesn't make any sense for this to be a U.S. created forgery (which was my point). and I find #2 somewhat unlikely because it's not in Iran's interest to portray the insurgency as losing steam (which it is by any metric...a civil war not directly related to the insurgency is the real threat now)

Posted by: Nathan on June 16, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I, Windhorse, support the American side.

No I really don't think so, because the "American side," as you so childishly tried to frame it, is about respect for the law and evidence, about not taking war lightly and engaging in it for dubious reasons.

Blindly following authority, dismissing criminal negligence as either unimportant or an unfortunate wartime necessity, being indifferent to the plight of others, obfuscating the political situation and daily realities in an occupied country to post facto justify an invasion and pacify voters back at home -- last I checked none of these are American, at least not true to the American ideals that I was taught or that I find in the words of the Founders.

On the contrary, I find the Founders warning about these very abuses at every turn and working to construct the best system of government they can to prevent their happening.

Posted by: Windhorse on June 16, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

I, Windhorse, support the American side. You see, I'm an American.

Why do I picture Birkel saying this while standing before a giant American flag, a la Patton?

And that support is expresed by....? What? Voting for lower taxes, or to cut the soldiers' combat pay? By cheering? Because it's certainly not expressed by sacrifice or by enlisting to actually go over to fight in Iraq.

This is "support" of the emptiest, most pathetic kind. It's nothing more than cheerleading. You might as well say "I support the Red Sox. You see, I'm a Bostonian" and it would mean as much.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

That's right, Stefan. The US military is engaging in propaganda. If you're the least bit surprised by that you're a moron of the first class. That is and always has been the case in every military conflict throughout history.

Except, of course, that it is illegal for the military to direct propaganda at a domestic American audience. Propaganda is generally directed at the enemy, not at one's own people. The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, amended in 1972 and 1998, prohibits the U.S. government from propagandizing the American public with information and psychological operations directed at foreign audiences; it directs that information about the United States and its policies intended for foreign audiences "shall not be disseminated within the United States, its territories, or possessions."

Moreover, several presidential directives, including Reagan's NSD-77 in 1983, Clinton's PDD-68 in 1999, and Bush's NSPD-16 in July 2002 (the latter two of which are still classified), have set up specific structures to restrict propaganda operations directed at the American audience.

Posted by: Stefan on June 16, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel: I, Windhorse, support the American side.

You support the Bush side.

You support the GOP side.

You support the conservative side.

You do not support the American side.

You simply are under the delusion that the American side and the Bush/GOP/Conservative side are equivalent.

But Bush and the GOP have proven that is not true by betraying our troops at every opportunity, real betrayal rather than the inane betrayal by implication that conservatives try to tag liberals with, and putting their own personal and partisan interests ahead of national security.

When it came time for Bush to put America first and get to the bottom of the causes for 9/11, he opposed any effort to do so until forced by the families of the victims to reverse course, putting a cover up of his administration's failures first.

When it came time for Bush to put America first with a new agency to oversee national security, Bush opposed the effort and put fighting unions (the only people working to protect American workers) first.

When it came time for Bush to put American soldiers first by providing body and vehicle armor, Bush put corporate profits and tax cuts first, then had his SecDef lie about it.

When it came time to put American port security first, Bush put foreign supporters of his administration first, even though their country had recently harbored terrorists and allowed funding of terrorists to flow through their financial systems.

When it came time to put American troops first by providing hazard pay for their duty in Iraq, Bush tried to cut that pay in order to secure his tax cuts for his wealthy contributors.

No, neither you nor Bush have ever put America first and if putting America second to one's own personal and partisan interests makes one not an American, then you are quite clearly not an American.

Posted by: Advocate for God on June 16, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

And Stefan hands someone else their ass. It's such a pretty thing to behold, this trumping of loonyness with facts.

Posted by: craigie on June 16, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Go to Juan Cole's site for perspective on this.

Posted by: secularhuman on June 17, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK


Birkel: I, Windhorse, support the American side.


"it is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government." - Thomas Paine


"Patriotism is loving your country always and your government when it deserves it" - Mark Twain


"Patriot: he who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about." -Mark Twain

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 17, 2006 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

SMELL THE COFFEE! It doesn't matter if they ARE fakes and down the road someone actually whispers so in the media! Those rabid wingnuts on the right will believe they are, run with it and continue to BLAST anyone who disagrees with them It's classic Rove...he's back on his game and ANYTHING GOES! That's America, folks!

Posted by: Dancer on June 17, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Birkel and his ilk are just disgusting fascists, akin to the good people of Germany in the 30s.

The sad thing is that people like him never admit their wrongdoings, but will instead pin the failure of this "war" on the liberals here at home who had the bravery and balls to question it from the get-go, rather than fall in line behind an obvious mistake.

Fuck him, and his pathetic need for Daddy Bush to protect him from the boogeyman.

Ah, that feels better. Got to get it out once in a while.

Who cares if they are forgeries or not? Does it matter? We're not going to war with Iran...that would only make the Republicans even more unpopular (as gas soars over 5/gallon). Since they do nothing except what is best for their re-election chances, the chances for real war with Iran are nil. We might bomb a few sites, but even that is doubtful, as the Iranians can call our bluff at any time.

Use your brains, people.

Posted by: Monkey on June 17, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

I think George W. Bush is a fake president. I think the 2000 and 2004 elections were a sham, rigged by cynical conservatives who have no respect for free elections. Oh yes, I think he is brain-damaged from prolonged drug abuse and alcoholism - What do you think?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 17, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

acne health

Posted by: acne treatment on June 17, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here is an interesting article at www.saneworks.us. "We are Confused. The Iraqi War is a Bad Thing; the Targeted Assassination of Zaqawi was a Good Thing?"

Posted by: GregJ on June 18, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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