Tuesday, July 06, 2004

For those of you who got an early break on the holiday weekend, here's a brief list of Dubya's crew's propaganda points which seem to have started fraying at the edges...
  • The widely-played shot of a crowd in Baghdad pulling down the statue of Saddam in Baghdad's Firdos Square has been exposed as a staged event, instigated and controlled by American officers. (I might add that this is the point where the views of the al-Jazeera reporters in Control Room -- the documentary you must see if you already knew all that stuff Moore was talking about in Fahrenheit 9/11 -- diverge most from the consensus American media picture, as it emerged at the time. Good on them).

    (via Atrios)

  • Then there's the case of the terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi, who the Pentagon has cited lately as a main cog in the Iraqi resistance. And (surprise!) nobody has any reason to doubt that. But Zarqawi's been causing trouble for a while -- he was cited by Dubya as part of the reason for going to war, even though we knew where he was, and it was in a part of Iraq where our air force was denying Saddam control. And given all that, people are asking why we didn't attack Zarqawi before the war. Jim Miklaszewski claims that the Pentagon had plans to do exactly that -- and that three separate times, Dubya's national security council killed the plan because "the administration feared destroying the terrorist camp in Iraq could undercut its case for war against Saddam."

    Jacob Levy at the Volokh Conspiracy(!) has been digging into the story. His reluctant conclusion: it holds up, and the official denials don't:

    The character of that official denial seems to be: unless we had 100% certainty that Zarqawi himself was in the camp at any given moment, the failure to attack is not an oddity requiring explanation.

    That's as contrasted with the much lower standard of proof demanded for the "decapitation" bombing raids on buildings where somebody thought they overheard something in a tea shop about Saddam maybe being there sometime this week -- raids on civilian areas (as opposed to, say, isolated armed camps in the desert) which killed dozens of innocents each.

    via Brad DeLong.

  • Major General Janis Karpinski, former head of detention operations at Abu Ghraib, says Rumsfeld did too approve "interrogation" techniques that violate any reasonable interpretation of the Geneva Conventions. And she's also got a lot of other things to say about, among other things, Israeli interrogators at Abu Ghraib, and plans to detain the poor zhlubs at Guantanamo, without trial, forever:

    One of the members of [Gen. Miller's Guantanamo] team was a JAG officer, a lawyer from down there. And I said to her ? she was a lieutenant colonel, I believe ? and I said to her, "You know, we're having problems with releasing some of these prisoners. What are you doing?" And she said, "Oh, we're not releasing anybody." And I said, "What's going to be the end state?" And she said, "Most of these prisoners will never leave Guantanamo Bay. They'll spend the rest of their lives in detention." And I said, "How do they get visits from home?" She said, "These are terrorists, ma'am. They're not entitled to visitors from home."

    The Israeli bit is one of these things which people are accustomed to call an explosive charge -- except, like the Abu Ghraib photos themselves, it might conceivably have less of an effect than Americans would expect because the Iraqis themselves already knew.

    Incidentally, Karpinski has obvious personal motives for trying to pin the blame on higher-ups, but even so, in what universe is a U.S. military officer making claims like this in public not a story that anything calling itself a news bulleting should shout from the rooftops?

    via King of Zembla.

  • Lastly, if that's not enough, The Poor Man is putting up a Dubya Lie of the Day. Sometimes more than one a day. Frankly, I hope his original material doesn't get lost in the flood...


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