Slowly Collapsing The Cloud Of Uncertainty

Hmmm.

With the help of some friends who have been doing a smidgen of looking, and it appears – appears, but is not certain – that there is in fact a Jamail Hussein in the Yarmouk police station in Baghdad. We’ll know more tomorrow.

Not sure yet what this means in terms of the AP story – but will know more about that tomorrow or Monday as well.

Watch the skies…

124 thoughts on “Slowly Collapsing The Cloud Of Uncertainty”

  1. If Capt. JAMAIL[Jamil] Hussein was/is soooooooo easy to find why couldn’t the AP produce him. He seems to exist only as a GHOST reporter?

    I know! I Know! AP wants to keep JAMAIL hidden to protect their source. If the AP wants to protect their source(s) so they can maintain their ‘news?’ pipeline why don’t they have backup reporters. These backups could even be active by contributing STORIES. If JAMAIL becomes dead will AP have to quit reporting?

    Why not have Mary Mapes and Dan Rather verify his existence?

  2. An after thought. If the AP can not even get their own reporter’s name correct what assurance is there that the ‘stories’ are correct?

  3. ….damn! does that mean that Malkin doesn’t go to Iraq and walk around outside the green zone?

    As a resident of Philadelphia, I was hoping to challenge Malkin to a three hour walk — she will walk around baghdad alone, I’ll walk around philadelphia.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll make it home in one piece…. Malkin, not so much.

  4. If we’re interested in the truth of what Hussein (whoever or whatever he is) told the AP, it seems to me everybody ought to be looking for the mosque where the people were allegedly burned to death. Finding the mosque would not only be easier, but it would be the best way of finding out the truth – rather than locating some individual who just repeats what he told the AP, putting us back to square one.

    Obviously everybody wants Hussein instead, because the interest here is sticking another skewer into the AP. We already know the AP has routinely reported bullshit stories based on unreliable sources (such as the bogus “No Gun Ri Massacre.”:http://www.newsmax.com/articles/?a=2000/5/26/51734)

    Inventing sources is much worse than believing everything you’re told, of course, but inventing sources is nothing new, either. Watching the anti-Iraq crowd takes bullets for the AP is fun though, I suppose.

  5. Glen:

    You are correct. Find the mosques and the dead bodies.

    My problem with the AP, and other news outlets, is that they report uncorroborated events. Why? Two reasons; they want a scoop, and they do not trust the government.

    By the time the truth is revealed the damage is done. This type of reporting is nothing new. It is done all the time with all sorts of news here in the US.

  6. BTW, “Eason Jordan”:http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/196/Questions_and_Answers_–_Friday says Michelle Malkin has accepted his invitation to Iraq:

    Some of you have asked what’s up with IraqSlogger’s invitation to send Michelle Malkin to Iraq. It was a serious invitation, she accepted it, she asked if I’d also pay for her to take along Curt of the Flopping Aces blog, I said yes, and now we’re working to arrange the trip. This is an enormously complicated journey to arrange, with safety and security being paramount concerns. This is serious stuff, and I’m taking the conversation with Michelle offline until we have a meaningful advance in the story to share with you.

    It would appear – contrary to irresponsible asshat speculation, not mentioning any names – that Malkin accepted Jordan’s challenge without making unreasonable security demands as a precondition. Jordan, to his credit, is stepping up to the plate and making security a top priority.

    The “soi-disant champions of peace and compassion”:http://www.liberalavenger.com/2006/12/14/malkin-announces-that-shes-going-to-baghdad/ are still cooling their bellies in the mud, however.

  7. Glen:

    I would suggest that security would always have been uppermost in his mind. After all, he is the guy that admitted to acting as a propaganda arm for Sadaam.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he was arrested when he arrives in Iraq.

  8. Luka:

    Philadelphia’s Murder Rate Hits 384, Highest In 10 Years
    WCAU-TV 7:20 a.m. EST December 11, 2006

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16144232/

    As a resident of Philadelphia, I think your chances of survival in the City of Brotherly Love is less likely than outside of the Green Zone. Instead of challenging Michelle, why not challenge YOURSELF with that walk?

  9. As a resident of Philadelphia, I think your chances of survival in the City of Brotherly Love is less likely than outside of the Green Zone. Instead of challenging Michelle, why not challenge YOURSELF with that walk?

    I do. all the time. I’m a white guy who lives in a black neighborhood, in fact. And I walk to the grocery store and the 7-11 and the dry-cleaners and the local bakery. and I could walk to city hall from here in about three hours without any problem. So let michele malkin pick any point on the map that is a three hour walk from the green zone, and let her walk there alone.

  10. *Luka* You are an absolute jerk. To wish for harm to come to Michelle, or anyone else for that matter, shows that you are a very small person. Grow up and become a man and not a simple-minded wimp.

    To disagree with someone is one thing but what you imply is way out of line. Perhaps you need to see a psychiatrist and get some very strong meds.

  11. Luka,
    Just because your broke ass can’t afford an automobile doesn’t mean everyone has to live like a gubmint-freeloader. Until I see “the blacks” start beheading “the whites” for not converting to Islam, then your comparison of Philly to Iraq will be more appropriate. Until then, go back to your cardboard box and enjoy the freedoms being provided by those you hate.

  12. In order to more intelligently consider the facts one must know Arabs give their children a given name and then the names that follow are father’s, grandfather’s… and then cap it off with the tribal name (or surname/family name if you will).

    It was not uncommon for me to have (I taught in the UAE for six years) multiple students with the same name & father’s name. So for instance I might have Hussein Ali Abdulla, Hussein Ali Fawaz, Hussein Ali Saif in a class and once I had three such students.

    Luka, way to go with your warm wishes & turning this discussion immediately into a p!$$!ng match.

  13. I guess the question to this part of the equation is whether or not “Jamail Hussein” is “Jamil Hussein.”

    I find it unlikely.

    AP pointed us to this specific police station and provided Jamil Gholaiem Hussein as the full name of their source. It defies all logic to think that both the American and Iraqi forces involved here would not have combed every possible variant of his name, and have not run through through the personnel records of every single officer at the Yarmouk police station… not to mention the probability that they interviewed every cop at Yarmouk to see if they knew of Hussein. I think it more likely that your Jamail Hussein is indeed a real Iraqi policeman, but somehow I doubt he is a Captain, and I think you’ll find he will deny being AP’s source.

    But as I’ve said on my site, Hussein is only one aspect of the story reported on November 24.

    The AP reported 4 mosques were rocketed with RPGs, machine-gunned with both heavy machine guns and assault rifles, burned, and blown up… and yet the AP has provided no evidence that these buildings were damaged, and officials from the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, and Iraqi Health Ministry (presumably in charge of the fire department) report only one mosque suffering minor fire damage, with the other three untouched.

    The AP claimed six men were pulled alive from a rocketed mosque, doused in kerosene, and then burned alive. The AP also uncritically reported a claim by the Association of Muslim Scholars (long thought to be affiliated with the insurgency) that as many as a dozen people burned to death inside one of the burning mosques… one of the mosques that was found to be undamaged, much less destroyed.

    Not a single body has been found, nor does anyone seem o be able to locate family members of those killed, or friends, or anyone who can so much as name the victims.

    There seems to be zero physical evidence that the AP could produce in three trips to the area, and with three trips they’ve been unable to get anyone, official or unoffical, or go on the record supporting their claims with the exception of a Sunni elder that has since refuted his claim, and our friend, Captain Jamil Hussein.

    The AP insists Hussein exists. At this point, they must. He is the only thing they can hang this story on, and if that falls apart, this story is utterly discredited. Of course, if this story falls apart, the AP’s credibility takes a huge hit, not just for thist story, but becuase Captain Jamil Hussein was a named source on 60 other AP stories, throwing all those stories in doubt.

    Bylines to those 61 stories were provided by 17 AP reporters… not exactly helping their credibility, either.

    To further up the ante, Jamil Hussein is just one of more than a dozen “Iraqi policemen” cited by the AP in past (and current) reports for which the Iraqi Interior Ministry cannot confirm their employment or authenticity.

    I don’t think I’m overstating the case by saying that AP’s entire portfolio of Iraq reporting credibility rests on the existence and authenticity of Jamil Hussein being an authentic Iraqi police captain.

    For this very reason which the Associated Press undboutably understands, the AP would have produced an authentic police captain by now if they had one.

    More than likely, Jamail Hussein is not Jamil Hussein, just as these blown up mosques still stand.

  14. Luka,

    You sound like a racists to me. Comparing a prominently African-American area in Philly to an active warzone…that just tells me that you believe blacks are blood-thirsty murders. I hope *your KKK ass goes to hell*.

  15. Oh, no, here we go.

    Luka is a racist. He’s an idiot. He wishes harm on those who disagree with him to prove a point.

    Gee…if I didn’t know better, I’d think Luka was a Republican.

    Please spare us Chapter 2 of the Wingnut Manual on arguing with your adversaries. So friggin’ tiresome.

    Dollars to donuts that #11, 13 and 15 are regular posters around here using newly minted pseudonyms to make these below-the-belt attacks.

  16. Andy

    Don’t feed the trolls.

    We’ve got to get to the bottom of this important mission. Does the Iraqi exist or not?

    WE HAVE TO KNOW!!

    Otherwise we’d have to consider our own complicity in the biggest foreign policy disaster in US history.

    And dude, we don’t do mea culpas. We are far to interested in reasoned debate about meaningless “controversies” to waste our time with that.

  17. To wish for harm to come to Michelle, or anyone else for that matter, shows that you are a very small person.

    just for the record, the only “harm” i want to come to Malkin is the humiliation she so richly deserves —

  18. _After all, he is the guy that admitted to acting as a propaganda arm for Sadaam._
    Could you give a link to Jordan admitting to acting as a propaganda arm for Saddam? I’ve read NYT article of Jordan where he said he didn’t report some news that, he knew, would kill his sources. That’s not the same thing, is it? Do you think that news coming from the new Iraq don’t get suppressed for similar reasons?

  19. Andy – nope. I checked the IP’s to be sure. And while I’m not happy with the tone of this thread, if you keep tossing around accusations like that a) you’re lowering it further; and b) I’ll likely give you a week off from commenting here to see if a little calm consideration might improve the quality of your argument.

    To the commenters in general – let’s get out of the gutter NOW, please. If you’ve got something interesting to say, say it. If you want to go talk smack, go to your bathroom and write it on the wall. This isn’t that kind of place.

    A.L.

  20. #22

    Perhaps it wasn’t clear that I was repoducing accusations leveled AT luka from posters above-thread? If so then I’ll try not to forget the tags next time around.

  21. #25, 26:

    I for one welcome the question — long may it wave.

    There are at least four reasonably frequent comment posters here who are sure it’s wingnut-Right, but that’s far from dispositive {/understatement}.

    –Nort

  22. Do you think that news coming from the new Iraq don’t get suppressed for similar reasons?

    Well, yes, we do think that. That’s sort of the point.

    For instance, all these negative reports about Baghdad would never have made the news in Saddam’s time, when far more people were dying. There was no free press. People reporting things Saddam didn’t want heard about got dead fast.

    Vernon Jordan’s censoring wasn’t as bad as Walter Duranty’s, but they’re in the same league.

  23. #30 TallDave,

    Wrong Jordan. It is Eason.

    I really don’t mind reports by insurgents getting into the AP.

    As long as they are prefaced by something like “Sources close to the insurgency say…”

  24. Andyx, I don’t need to reinvent a pseudonym for myself as I have always used this name. BTW, this is only my second comment here so get off your loony ‘conspiracy’ thing and talk like an adult. I’m not feckless like luka, Davebo and yourself.

    I stand by my comments to luka, as it is quite clear his intent is for harm to come to Michelle. Why does he try to hide and not admit that? “Humiliation”? That is his weak defense for his inane comments? Silly lefties, I almost feel sorry for you (almost).

  25. Have people been hoodwinked by, ironically, the AP’s incompetence here? OK, so Jamil Hussein exists, what does that mean? Are the stories he reported true? Let’s talk to him now and get his evidence. And let’s put his evidence to the test (where are the burned mosques? where are the burned bodies? what were their names? who are their living relatives? where were they taken?) The AP’s incompetence has set the bar so low it seems as though everyone’s forgotten about actually finding out the truth behind these allegations.

    P.S. His name would be neither Jamil nor Jamail, but the Arabic equivalent which can have multiple transliterations into the English alphabet (much like Kaddafi/Qhaddafi/Gadaffi or the million variants of Mohammad), so that aspect is a non-issue, I think.

  26. Anyone want to bet that if someone named ‘Jamil Hussein’ actually IS found, the AP will say ‘Aha! Now this controversy is over. Move along.’?

    Isn’t finding this guy just the first small step in proving the stories true?

    Was he exactly who he said he was?
    Was he there at the time the incidents took place?
    Is what he reported actually true?
    Why should we believe him?

    I don’t think those are unreasonable questions for a news service.
    The AP still has a lot of ‘splainin to do; if they expect to have credibility.

  27. So, as I expected, no evidence of Jordan admitting to being a propaganda tool for Saddam.

    For instance, all these negative reports about Baghdad would never have made the news in Saddam’s time, when far more people were dying. There was no free press. People reporting things Saddam didn’t want heard about got dead fast.
    I’m afraid you are insane. The level of violence under Saddam was nothing compared to what’s going on there now. Saddam fought a bloody war with Iran, during which he used chemical WMDs (supplied by, among others, USA), he also repressed uprisings in a very un-PC way (isn’t it what you, guys, are arguing for anyway?). But the level of violence in the daily life was about as big as in an average American city.

  28. Coming somewhat late to the party, maybe I can synthesize what seems aggravating (or just plain weird) about this topic to WoC’s besieged left wing.

    First, we can’t figure out why this issue is worth so much attention in the first place, or, worse, maybe we can. Maybe, amidst the isn’t-it-undeniable-yet carnage of Iraq, you’re still fixated on the idea that the situation on the ground is much better than reported by the so-called mainstream media. Frankly, if you had been as worried as you should have been two years ago, instead of fobbing off the (then much smaller number of) domestic critics and skeptics with talking points about all the repainted schools the journalists ignored, the situation would be at least marginally better now. So, why the emphasis on this diversion? Even if the burning story turns out to be false, in the overall scheme of things, isn’t that like finding out the Germans didn’t really make soap from Jewish corpses?

    Second, it’s maddening to deal with the cognitive dissonance of people who appear to hold simultaneously that Baghdad is so incredibly dangerous that Michelle Malkin deserves kudos for daring to visit, and also so incredibly not dangerous that it’s no worse than Philadelphia. That’s a real link, guys. I’m using one of the two links I can without getting stuck in queue to give you an example of a Republican doofus who really thinks that. (For those too lazy to click, Baghdad’s murder rate is 13 times as high as Philly’s.) And it’s not an isolated incident; just last month the substitute host on Rush Limbaugh said the same thing with a different US city.

    Third, a lot of comments seem barely to realize that Iraq uses Arabic and names don’t transliterate exactly. Even more peculiar, in their hallucinations, not only is Iraq as safe as Philadelphia, it has the same sort of computerized payroll and employment infrastructure. Well, it doesn’t. The Iraqis are still being paid in cash because we couldn’t get a banking system up for them. What they would do with banks when they don’t have electricity either is unclear, anyway. I doubt, then, that their record-keeping isn’t so clear. Heck, our contractors’ record-keeping hasn’t been so good: aren’t billions unaccounted for?

    Finally, so much of the post-ISG commentary here is insisting that because finding a pony in Iraq is very important, there must be a pony. What sort of logic is this? I can hardly blame the other liberals on this thread for their bad manners in dealing with the ever-shrinking Bush cult.

  29. I was just wondering what exactly was wrong with Luka’s observations?

    How exactly could he be wishing Ms. Malkin harm? Why, I thought Iraq was a paradise of democracy, and it’s streets were paved with gold.

    Is it not true that the media is only trying to make Iraq falsely look like hell on Earth. Remember, the libs only report the BAD stories, and NEVER report all the wonderful things that happen there every day.

    Everyone knows that the worst part of Iraq, is better than the best part of Phily. How could it be any other way? We conservatives built Iraq.

    Why I hear Deputy Leader Dick will be erecting a winter mansion there soon.

    Why would Ms. Malkin need security? It’s not like she’s going to Detroit.

  30. Shorter Andrew Lazarus. Truth is optional, especially when it doesn’t match my world view. Now let’s stop with all this trying to figure out whether the AP has, at best, completely botched this story or has, at worst, reported the Al Qaeda line without so much as bothering to double check the facts, and get back to the important stuff… validating my own belief system.

  31. Shorter Chris,

    And if perhaps something awful should happen to Michelle Malkin that would validate my world view as well, and make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Because Michelle Malkin is the true threat to civilization…unlike Osama Bin Laden and Musab Al Zarqawi who are inventions of Bushilter and probably much better behaved than your average Roatarian. Come to think of it, Islamic Extremism itself doesn’t exist. Suicide bombers? Dick Cheney made them up. Those are actually Lutherans over stuffed on lutefisk.

  32. Andrew, it’s actually a pretty critical issue.

    Unlike a conventional war, where we can measure territory held or the state of standing armies, in an insurgency the perception of how we’re doing is often the best metric we can arrive at. Quantitative metrics are usually too slow in arriving, often misleading, or subject to precision-by-division (not that they should be ignored).

    In this war, one of the key issues is the ‘bottom’ of the American people – how long are we willing to stick it out? That’s driven in no small part by the way they see the war – which in reality, comes from the media.

    If the media have been misled or are misleading, then public support for the war is lower than objectively called for – and then policy, which is set in no small part by public and leadership perception, is derived from a too-bleak perception of where things stand, and of what people think of them.

    Objectively, we could continue to fight in Iraq for a long, long time. But the defining issue is the willingness of the Americal leadership – driven in large part by their perception of the situation and of what the American public thinks – to fight.

    So, unless you want to believe that while Abu Ghreib represented a systemwide pattern of abuse of prisoners, issues in this (or other) stories coming out of Iraq are entirely sui generis – as opposed to, say, being a systemwide pattern of distortion – this issue matters a lot.

    A.L.

  33. At this point it seems this story shows that reporting what one wishes to believe isn’t the same as reporting what actually happened, of course as we found out after the hysteria, the Katrina reporting showed the same thing. Whether the AP’s conduct has been merely inept or something more than that will decide where the story goes from here. My guess is that if they have merely been inept the story will die. If they’ve made up sources from whole cloth or put words in a source’s mouth that will be something else. Time will tell.

  34. To Chris # 38: You obviously have no clue. Did you actually read what he said? If you did, then you would have seen that he wished Michelle extreme harm and your angst over luka’s crap, get over it, he’s as big a fool, as you are. You actually think the streets of (name any city here) are lined with gold? Very stupid commentary. You question whether luka wishes harm to Michelle? What a moron.

    Try re-reading what the fool (luka) said–oh, sorry, I thought I was speaking to a sentient being as you may need reading lessons to be able to follow the story-line.

    Michelle is a much tougher person than either of you will EVER be. Get used to it punks.
    Let us all know b4 YOU go to Iraq, so we can let the “warbloggers” as well as the local Iraqi PD know you are present. After all, we do need to cover your a**.

  35. Andy X:

    Please spare us Chapter 2 of the Wingnut Manual on arguing with your adversaries.

    No, I’m not going to spare you. We’re going to keep going over this until you people learn it. Turn off your damn cell phones for five seconds and pay attention.

    1. The Argument from Spite does not assert anything, and cannot be refuted. The fact that it is logically impossible to refute the Argument from Spite does not mean that the Argument from Spite is valid, or even that it is the slightest bit meaningful.

    2. There are people who believe in truth, and there are people who believe that everything is propaganda (good or bad). The latter type cannot be reasoned with. The fact that it is impossible to reason with them does not mean they have anything to say.

    3. You can’t learn a pig to sing. In theory, however, it is possible to cure him of being a pig.

  36. To Corvan #40

    This is me giving you the purple finger.

    Stop spreading mus-com propaganda.

    Iraq has only been improved by our facelift.

  37. Well, I suspect that a better translation of the arabic name is ‘Jamal Hussein’. Just check google – 760 hits. Seems to be a common name in the middle east. And at least one of them has been a civil servant in Iraq in April 2006:
    “NO ONE was happier at the death in June of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the proclaimed leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, than Jamal Hussein. The morning before an American air-strike killed Iraq’s top terrorist, the 38-year-old civil servant woke up to find a note slipped under the door of his flat in western Baghdad.”
    http://www.economist.com/research/backgrounders/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7281204

  38. A.L., you seem to be seizing on this fire incident as an indication that the MSM coverage of Iraq is way off. But at the same time, neither you nor anyone else is suggesting that the counts of maimed corpses, or dead soldiers, or explosions is in any way exaggerated. The impression of Iraq as some sort of hell on earth really doesn’t depend on this one gruesome story—any more than our perception of the Holocaust depends on the discredited story of Jews turned into soap. The pony is dead. Now, it’s true American troops could stay in Iraq indefinitely, although if (for example) the Shiite political class turned actively against them it wouldn’t be very comfortable. But the point of staying has pretty much diminished to some overrated “show of strength” and “test of will”. The idea that we are leaving any sort of better Iraq behind us—admittedly denuded of what little infrastructure remained from the Saddam era, and with the upper and middle classes streaming out of the country as fast as they can go—is off the table, has been for some time. The American people are not interested in a Mussolini-esque demonstration of their love of war. Many commenters here think that makes us weak. I’d suggest that makes us sane.

  39. Unlike a conventional war, where we can measure territory held or the state of standing armies, in an insurgency the perception of how we’re doing is often the best metric we can arrive at.

    Indeed, information, factual information is critical.

    For instance, the number of attacks by insurgents on a daily basis might be considered a useful metric.

    However for the past three months our government has classified that information. Surely we would have lots of people complaining about that right?

    And yet here, in the serious world, not a word.

    What up with that?

  40. I think Andrew J. Lazarus, that the problem is not this ONE story, but the 60 other stories that depend upon this same source, and the COUNTLESS other stories that rely upon likewise unreliable and unverified sources. If all of those stories are called into question, then does not your view of Iraq change, since all the atrocities you cite come from a source proven to frequently lie to you on the Iraq front?

  41. And Davebo will stomp and hold his breath and turn all purple if he’s not allowed to change the subject, because, as we all know, the American military is the root of all evil. Fellas, I was sort of facetious before, but now I truly suspect that you are opposed to the proposition that the media should report what actually happens. I hope I’m wrong about that. Citizens of a Republic can’t go through life hoping to be deceived about world events, not if the Republic is going to survive.

  42. And Davebo will stomp and hold his breath and turn all purple if he’s not allowed to change the subject, because, as we all know, the American military is the root of all evil.

    Change the subject? I was replying to the AL’s comment. Read much?

    The american military the root of all evil? I certainly don’t think that, not now nor when I served in it.

    I hope I’m wrong about that.

    Well, considering your track record I’d say there’s a good chance your dream will come true.

  43. Davebo,

    The subject is the AP do you want the AP to get this story right. Do you want the AP to report what actually happens? You’re the one that dragged the military into it and implied they were engaged in some sort of cover-up.
    BTW, I appreciate your service, but that doesn’t inoculate you from criticism, especially when you’re engaging in a bit of sophistry so transparent Harry Blackstone would blush.
    Still, I’d love to have you answer the questions. Do you want the AP to get this story right. Should the media report what actually happens?

  44. BTW, I appreciate your service, but that doesn’t inoculate you from criticism

    Of course it doesn’t. But in this case, the facts do.

    Unless of course you can find some example of me claiming the American military is the root of all evil.

    A ludicrous charge, even for someone as pathetic as yourself wouldn’t you say?

  45. Baghdad is very dangerous, even an Iraqi can not walk 3 hours 10 miles in safety. Well perhaps he could if he kept walking around his own block.
    Jamilal is commonly spelled with several variants. It arises from the use of variants of our vowels. Jamal,Jamil,Jamail, etc.
    At least WOC is the first blog I have seen that now at least admits to the possibility of his existence. and for that congratulations are earned.

  46. The impression of Iraq as some sort of hell on earth…

    I, for one, would love to know a little something about the Iraq beyond Baghdad; the Kurdish north, the Shia south, etc. Baghdad seems to be hell. But there are reasons to think that the rest of the country might be doing pretty well, although I can’t tell from the news because, well, there isn’t any.

    I mean, if you just went by the nightly newscast, you’d think Charlottesville was a town of nonstop shootouts, escaped convicts, rape victims, and utterly irrelevant county-council decisions. But it isn’t, except for the county council part. So while I don’t deny there is much suffering in Iraq, I don’t have the information to say whether things are better or worse than before in places other than Baghdad, which seems worse.

    Many commenters here think that makes us weak. I’d suggest that makes us sane.

    Right. Because stalemate in Korea, withdrawal from Vietnam, failure to confront Iran over the hostages, flight from Lebannon, flight from Somalia, minimal response to the Khobar Towers and embassy bombings, etc. had no negative implications (and note here I mean negative implications for Americans; I’m leaving out any negative implications for Somalis, Lebannese, Vietnamese, Cambodians, and others). Really, all us hawks care about is “looking weak,” not the serious and very probable negative consequences of handing our enemies yet another victory.

  47. Davebo,

    I appreciate the personal insult, and I note your second attempt to change the subject. I’ll ask the question once more. Should the media report what actually happened?

  48. Corvan,

    In addition to the insult, I offered an opportunity for you to support your claim. (I find someone saying I think the military is the root of all evil rather insulting. If you don’t, then I needn’t ask if you ever served).

    But in an attempt to end your childish carping, yes, I do believe the media should report events accurately.

    Feel better now?

  49. Let’s not forget that in this particular story, Jamil Hussein was not the only witness cited by the AP. His account was corroborated by at least two other sources.

    Andrew Lazarus is absolutely correct; this story is not so much about Jamil Hussein but the fact that Iraq is rapidly devolving into unmitigated chaos. It’s this story that rightwing bloggers hope to deflect attention away from.

    I find it ludicrous that a number of rightwing bloggers sitting in the land of the Big PX purport that they know much more than reporters on the ground in Iraq.

  50. FabioC:

    Fair enough. So when Jamil Hussein is found to exist, are you prepared to hold your rightwinger bloggers to the same standard as you hold the AP?

    Somehow, I suspect not.

  51. _”#34 from Les Nessman at 2:25 am on Dec 18, 2006
    Anyone want to bet that if someone named ‘Jamil Hussein’ actually IS found, the AP will say ‘Aha! Now this controversy is over. Move along.’?

    Isn’t finding this guy just the first small step in proving the stories true? “_

    followed by Jadegold:
    _”So when Jamil Hussein is found to exist, are you prepared to hold your rightwinger bloggers to the same standard as you hold the AP?”_

    Well, that didn’t take long.

    Jade, (for the sake of argument)someone named Jamil Hussein has been found to exist. *So what*?

  52. Davebo,

    Yes I do I feel much better. And I will add that I believe you when you say that the military is not the root of all evil. Further I feel, and know that you do too, that the military is a noble profession. What’s more, I have great admiration for all those who have served, including you. And I’m sure we agree that the sacrifices military personnel have made in Iraq should be honored, that their service has truly been exemplary, and that we here in the public should pay more attention to their opinions on Iraq.
    Also, I am thrilled to pieces that you feel the news media should report on events of the day accurately. And since you feel that way I know you will be very supportive of AL’s attempts to sort this story out, and not at all dismissive of them as Andrew Lazarus seems to be.

  53. AJL #37,

    Good post – sober, reasoned, emphasis on the PRIORITIES of things – which the wingnuts keep missing.

    but you’ve laid out the points so that any reasonable person will get it.

    Now, UNreasonable wingnuts will continue to – analogy alert – insist that making sure the deck chairs on the Titanic are fixed “just right”, while ignoring the larger issue of the Titanic going down. Or, your analogy that Nazis didn’t really make soap from Jewish corpses.

    So, these guys will continue to assert that the details of THIS story, are super-duper important, even though their information is sketchy, they ignore all the other stories of chaos, the stories of great and well-sourced war reporting, such as Tom Ricks don’t get any play, etc. And all the while, Titanic sinks.

    All a matter of priorities – the practical and sane get it, the ideological propagandists do not.

    Which is all well and good. The more wingnuts priorities are unmasked as incredibly imbalanced, completely irrevelant to what needs to be done, the more likely these guys views get dismissed by the majority.

  54. Wow, this post seems to have started a firestorm. I don’t think of this as a right/left issue; my main concern with this story is what it reflects about journalistic standards in general. I am a little shocked that journalists and their editors are not doing basic things such as verifying sources and double checking key facts. This is irrespective of whether they are covering Iraq, Katrina, the DC sniper attacks, the town meeting next door, etc. It just makes you wonder what other mistakes are going unnoticed simply because they didn’t attract as much attention.

    Davebo – the number of daily attacks in Iraq is public information. Attack numbers come out every few months as a part of an overall presentation on Iraq from the DoD, which is a pretty good general source of information. The numbers presented tend to be on a weekly basis, but you can easily divide by 7 to get to a daily metric. The link to the reports is: http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/Iraq_Reports/Index.html

  55. Jade, (for the sake of argument)someone named Jamil Hussein has been found to exist. So what?

    Again, this kerfuffle is a common rightwing tactic. That is, don’t attack the facts; instead, try to attack some peripheral part of the story in an attempt to discredit it. The hope, of course, is to find something that isn’t exactly right in order to be able to discredit any MSM story that is displeasing.

    Fair enough. If we choose to hold MSM to this standard–can we not also hold bloggers to the same standard?

  56. “Fair enough. If we choose to hold MSM to this standard–can we not also hold bloggers to the same standard?”

    I think we should.

    Every blogger that serves as a new service for hundreds of media outlets should absolutely be held to this standard, both by the readers and the outlets themselves.

    That’s a great idea. So what, exactly, was your point? All I hear is:

    “Yadda yaddaa, evil rightwingers! Yadda yadda (waves arms here) Afraid of the truth! Yadda yadda (Smoke appears) Yadda yadda, Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain!”

  57. So I take it that Jade and hypocrisy (how appropriate that) don’t think the media should bother with reporting accurately so long as the meta-narrative seems right to them. Never mind, of course, that the meta-narrative must be constructed of smaller narratives based upon problematic sourcing and faulty fact checking. It’s the big picture that counts whether the construction of the big picture be factual or not. If I’m wrong about your position, fellas please let me know. But at this point you seem to be desperately arguing in favor of a Free Enterprise version of Pravda without government control. Of course that’s fine if you want to watch that sort of thing, but there’s no reason to pretend that you’re getting what really happened, or that you wish to know what really happened.
    Please do me a favor, when you reply tell me this. Do you believe that the media should report accurately on the happenings of the day?

  58. Every blogger that serves as a new service for hundreds of media outlets should absolutely be held to this standard, both by the readers and the outlets themselves.

    By edict, Daniel? Or should we allow market forces to take their course?

    The problem is that all too many RW blogs don’t factcheck or if they do–they cherrypick.

    So I take it that Jade and hypocrisy (how appropriate that) don’t think the media should bother with reporting accurately so long as the meta-narrative seems right to them.

    Mindreading again? Nope, I’m a big believer in getting the story accurately. OTOH, AP was unjustly pilloried on this particular story by folks who had no evidence to support their theories and complaints. Essentially, the rightwing was demanding the AP prove they didn’t beat their wife.

    Guess what? The MSM will make mistakes; many of these mistakes are trivial or largely meaningless to the larger story. Can the rightwing blogosphere say the same?

  59. Essentially, the rightwing was demanding the AP prove they didn’t beat their wife.

    No, the rightwing was demanding that the AP prove their “source” existed.

  60. So you think the story here is inaccurate, but it is just a mistake? Jade, if that’s you position it is diametrically opposed to the AP’s position. If that’s not your position please tell me what your position is, beyond “nasty wingnuts this, nasty wingnuts that.”
    Or, do you believe that the AP’s reporting here has been borne out by the facts and that their method is beyond reproach?

  61. Jade:”Guess what? The MSM will make mistakes; many of these mistakes are trivial or largely meaningless to the larger story.”

    I’m glad you finally admit the MSM got this story wrong.

    So, spell out what you are saying. Are you saying the MSM made a mistake: there is no Jamil?
    The MSM made a mistake: there is this Jamil but the burning six story is wrong?
    The MSM made a mistake: there is no Jamil but the story is correct?
    Something else?

    Where, exactly, did the MSM make their mistake?

    And should the AP own up to it and admit their mistake?

  62. Capt. Jamail Hussein is the sole issue because it was made the issue by Malkin and others. The AP story gave it’s story and the sources it used to verify the story. That is all that is required of them. From that, any one of us can if we so choose go check out the story ourselves. Instead of doing that, Malkin claimed that because she couldn’t find Jamail Hussein, who was exactly where AP said he was, that the whole story was false. Finding Jamail does not make the AP story 100% accurate but it does make her assertions false. Even if it turns out that the damage was to one mosque instead of 4 and only 3 people burned instead of 6, it does lessen the events that took place. This is just one more incident among the hundreds of daily attacks and bodies turning up by the dozens. The AP is there to record the news events as best and accurately as it can under less than ideal conditions. They are not the kind of news service that does months or years of investigative research and follow up reporting and the day to day events in Iraq dont warrant that kind of reporting. Malkin is implying we should not believe all of APs stories because one report may not have been 100% perfect rushed to print within hours. She had months to follow up on the story but her own claim that this police chief didn’t exist was completely false. She is holding them to an unreal expectation of perfection that she and the other AP critics are no were near achieving. She is trying to kill the messenger because the message doesn’t fit her irrational idealogical thought processes of what should be going on in Iraq and she is in a state of denial about it. She is going to have to put up or shut up. She is going to have to find proof that the whole story is a complete fabrication or her credibility is zero, which it pretty much where it was already.

  63. _”Capt. Jamail Hussein is the sole issue because it was made the issue by Malkin and others.”_

    I may be out of line, but im guessing the AP used his name first. Unless you are suggesting Malkin pulled it out of thick air?

    _”The AP story gave it’s story and the sources it used to verify the story. That is all that is required of them.”_

    Now thats the sign of a critical mind! The inquirer reported Big Foot runs a nightclub in Minnesota, thats all thats required of them I take it? Is that really the extent of what you demand from major media?

    _”From that, any one of us can if we so choose go check out the story ourselves.”_

    Aside from those of us lucky enough to have contacts in Baghdad, I’d say that is wildly innacurate. It also seems completely at odds with the idea of a wire service and a pool feed.

    “_Instead of doing that, Malkin claimed that because she couldn’t find Jamail Hussein, who was exactly where AP said he was, that the whole story was false._”

    Huh? FYI, literally nothing in that sentence is true. Malkin hasnt even gotten to Baghdad yet, so far all evidence points that Hussein is CERTAINLY NOT where the AP says he was, and whether the story is true or false may is obviously independent of whether the source is phoney.

    _”Finding Jamail does not make the AP story 100% accurate but it does make her assertions false.”_

    She didnt make any assertions, she asked questions which the AP disdained to answer.

    _”Even if it turns out that the damage was to one mosque instead of 4 and only 3 people burned instead of 6, it does lessen the events that took place.”_

    If the events took place at all, which you will not there is still no independent evidence to speak of. Doesnt it concern you that every step of the investigation makes the event _at best_ less and less accurately reported, and the investigation is just getting started? Doesnt that light up any bulbs in that head of yours? Oh wait, let me scan back to the top of this response.

    _”The AP is there to record the news events as best and accurately as it can under less than ideal conditions.”_

    Precisely, which is WHY this story is so important. If the AP is systematically, SYSTEMATICALLY MIND YOU -(Hussien has been quoted in dozens of stories), relying on invalid sources, there is a serious problem with the AP failing to accomplish its function.

  64. Marc,

    “If the media have been misled or are misleading, then public support for the war is lower than objectively called for”

    I disagree. In my view the amount of support the war deserves is not–and never can be–an objective assessment. It is itself a subjective value.

    It seems to me that your view is a different version of that of the war critics who believe that showing more coffins will help bring public perception to it’s “proper” anti-war level.

    The progress of a war, the death toll, matched against expectations and matched against the perceived benefits will all contribute to any single individual’s level of support for a war. But there is no one level of support that is more objectively correct than another. What level of support is called for in the matter we are all discussion is simply the product of one’s own opinion, not a thing with an objective existence.

    Worsening conditions–or perception of, or reports of worsening conditions will indeed lower support for the war. However, reports of the existence of stockpiles of WMD and the perception of an imininent nuclear arsenal contributed to increased support for the war. Neither level of support can be said to be objectively called for. There is no such thing. You and I might know the exact same set of facts and yet each of our level of support would be markedly different.

    I agree that support is wanning. But I don’t think it is attributable to misleading media reports. I think it is attributable to lack of progress in establishing order and withdrawal of US troops. The defeat of Saddam Hussein, the transition of power from Coallition to Provisional Gov’t, the Elections, the creation of a new Iraq unity government, none of these things have resulted in either a decrease in violence or US troops. It is these hard facts, not media-fed perceptions that lead to a decrease in support for the war.

  65. I think thats a pretty good point. We obsess far too much over polls and perceptions, that is not the way to lead. I’m far more concerned about objective truth, with both sides seem willing to throw to the winds for political considerations.

    Nobody seems to have the type of zeal i would expect to try to figure exactly what the heck is going on over there, with the interest of coming up with the most effective policy. Its honestly pretty sickening.

  66. a) the burning happened and AP quoted a normally reliable police captain who told the truth.

    b) the burning did not happen and AP quoted a normally reliable police captain who misinformed them on this occasion.

    c) the burning did not happen and AP quoted a police captain they knew to be unreliable.

    d) the burning did not happen and AP invented a police captain, as they often have in the past, as a “cutout” to represent rumors.

    e) the burning did not happen and AP invented a police captain, as they often have in the past, because they want to misrepresent the level of violence in Iraq to help turn the tide of US opinion against the war.

    These seem to me to be the only realisitc types of possibilities. If either a or b is true, AP did nothing wrong. They did only what they are supposed to do. Tell us what other people, who they believe are generally reliable, told them what happened. e.g., “Six insurgents were killed in a airstrike today, according to an army spokesman.”

    If either c or d is true, then the AP has a Jason Blair on its hands and he or she, as well as his or her boss, should be fired and a rexamination of all stories based on this source should be filed (ala the NYT).

    If e is true, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

    The problem is that there is no evidence to support the belief that anything other than b is true. How the AP rendered the english transliteration of an Arabic name, or which of a particular Iraqi’s many names they chose to use to represent what we call a surname in English, is not material.

  67. _So I take it that Jade and hypocrisy (how appropriate that) don’t think the media should bother with reporting accurately so long as the meta-narrative seems right to them._

    Hey man, take as priorities what you want to, as you ignore the rest. All I can say is – I see your point, you want THIS particular story to be accurate – okay, got it, it should be accurate.

    It remains the case that this is an UTTERLY small data point, in the flood of accurate stories from Iraq, books, etc.

    It also remains the case that this small controversy is no way shows anything – utter than the trivial meaninglessness that wingnuts will go to keep their precious “inaccurate liberal media” frame.

    I get it – it’s “your PPRECCIOOUSSS.” You can’t go on withouts your “PPRRECCCIIOOOUS”.

    It’s not my fault, in this pursuit of your trivial obsessiveness without an accurate larger context, you begin to look like Gollum.

    Tell you what corvin – you care about accurate reporting? About clear and accurate information provided?

    Same with Armed Liberal – you CARE about accurate reporting? About clear and accurate information provided?

    Let’s see 4 or 5 posts on how “the Bush administration will not release Iraq Attack numbers”:http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002169.php

    _You can see a larger version of the chart here. It tells a pretty compelling story — part of a compelling story. It was produced in December, but it’s missing data for the months of September, October and November of this year — a period of increased violence, according to news reports. What gives?_

    This of course, “is only one data point in a proud tradition of the Bush administration reclassifying public data”:http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002175.php.

    _ In March, the administration announced it would no longer produce the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, which identifies which programs best assist low-income families, while also tracking health insurance coverage and child support._

    _ In 2005, after a government report showed an increase in terrorism around the world, the administration announced it would stop publishing its annual report on international terrorism._

    _After the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovered discouraging data about factory closings in the U.S., the administration announced it would stop publishing information about factory closings._

    As they say, read the whole post.

    So I confidently wait the screeching condemnations, and the 5 or 6 posts!

    [Crickets chirping]

    On these here internets, I can’t convince you – but I’m confident the skewedness of your position shines through to the sane and less ideological.

  68. mark (#81)

    I’ve got another one for you.

    f) The only people who care that the burning happened are the Iraqis and the people arguing about it. AP quoted a source as named which in fact either does not exist or has a completely different name.

    If the diner burns down on Main Street and my local paper has a Captain Hussein of the fire department saying that giant Boweevils did it, then I’d like to talk to the good captain. If I try to look him up and he’s nowhere to be found, somebody has some spaining to do, whatever happened to the diner. The diner is a red herring. You don’t take on the patina of a sourced story with phoney names or titles, ESPECIALLY if you’ve spent the past year quoting the fire captain on a dozen other stories. It makes you look like an idiot.

  69. mark, I think you are missing the most likely scenarios:

    The burnings did (or did not) happen, and the AP relied on a source they believed to be valid but was in fact manufactured or otherwise altered by the stringers they have employed to do their legwork.

    Now this obviously removes the intent to do wrong, but i think we are into what would amount to ‘negligent homicide’ in the journalism realm. What we do know for sure is that the AP does not have a direct line on this guy they have relied on so often. This scenario readilly explains their reluctance to investigate thorougly- A.they feel theyve done nothing wrong and B.they are probably terrified of being wrong.

    People can spin this how they like, but at least at the moment it seems all but certain that _at the very least_ the man that the AP claimed was a police captain at a specific place does not exist. That in itself is problematic (if not fatally so). Even if it turns out there was a misunderstanding of name or rank or city, the AP should have done the MINIMAL followup work of confirming this before running all these quote from this guy. Thats journalism 101.

    Those who are claiming the AP isnt obliged to do this- you are flat wrong, and demonstrably wrong to claim it cant be done safely and relatively simply. AL is proving that from 2000 miles.

    Remember the old saw about if your mother says she loves you check it out? Well, maybe the new saw should be if an unknown Iraqi in a war zone claims to be a police captain with important information, DROP A DIME for gods sake.

  70. Mark B.

    You raise a good point. In this conversation, what does AP stand for? I should have been more clear. Sometimes, when I used “AP” I should have said the person–stringer, or reporter–who provided the text of the story. Other times, when I used “AP” I meant the bureu chief. And still others, I meant the organization as a whole. Using the same term for 3 distinct personages made my post nonsensical.

    In the chain of custody of the information, there is always the chance that someone between the original gatherer of the information and the final presenter of the information is the culprit here, if, indeed there is a culprit. Unlike you, I do not believe that has been established. I continue to trust AP–the organization–claim that there is a person, who can legitmately be described in English as Capt. Hussein, told an AP employee about the burnings, and that this person has been a source of information for them in the past. I don’t see sufficient evidence to believe otherwise yet. But we’ve been through this before, so I won’t restate my reasoning.

  71. Well now hypocrisy, you don’t mind if I call you hypocrisy? Since you claim you want the story to be truthful explain to me why you piss on anyone trying to sort the story? The Tolkein reference was good, but before you start accusing people of being Gollum you should take care to stop sounding like Grima Wormtongue.
    And by that I mean you should stop doing your best to belittle those attempting to discover the truth.
    So far your actions, obfuscating, changing the subject, arguing that the truth as you wish it to be is much more important than the actual truth, belie your words. I suspect you desperately want this story, obviously false though it appears to be, to stay unchallenged. Strictly because you feel a false story is much more helpful to you than a true one. Were it otherwise you could simply say, yep this story is real odd we need to get to the bottom of it without calling everyone that is working on it names.
    That said I understand your panic. Nothing ruins a propagandists day like facts.
    Do me a favor, in your next post, in between labeling me insane, and evil and whatever other ad hominem you can cook up answer me this. Do you believe this story is true? If you don’t why the theatrics? If you do why don’t you say so?

  72. Andrew –

    bq. A.L., you seem to be seizing on this fire incident as an indication that the MSM coverage of Iraq is way off. But at the same time, neither you nor anyone else is suggesting that the counts of maimed corpses, or dead soldiers, or explosions is in any way exaggerated. The impression of Iraq as some sort of hell on earth really doesn’t depend on this one gruesome story�any more than our perception of the Holocaust depends on the discredited story of Jews turned into soap.

    The problem, Andrew, is whether it’s hell on earth or heck (or Beaumont, Texas); that’s the point I keep trying to raise and that keeps getting slapped aside. More people are dying in all kinds of places – more on an absolute and a per capita scale. Are lots of people dying in Iraq? Of course. Would I sign up for the Sadr City Triathylon? Of course not.

    But because the data we’re drinking from leads us to believe that it is hell on earth – which is a specific qualitiative state and one that has significant moral implications – it’s important as hell that we look hard at the data and seek to make it as good as it can be.

    bq. The pony is dead. Now, it’s true American troops could stay in Iraq indefinitely, although if (for example) the Shiite political class turned actively against them it wouldn’t be very comfortable.

    Well, yes, if it is hell on earth, it is dead. Or if it is heck on earth, it’s gravely ill. Or if it’s Beaumont, Texas, it’s got the sniffles. The point of this whole exercise is that we really don’t know – and because all the pronouncements from your side start with ‘the pony is dead and therefore…’ I have a hard time follwoing along.

    bq. But the point of staying has pretty much diminished to some overrated “show of strength” and “test of will”. The idea that we are leaving any sort of better Iraq behind us�admittedly denuded of what little infrastructure remained from the Saddam era, and with the upper and middle classes streaming out of the country as fast as they can go�is off the table, has been for some time.

    Well, for grins, there’s always the possibility that the other side is suffering as well, is not inexhaustible, and will at some point be defeated or settle or go away. Just as a possibility, of course…

    bq. The American people are not interested in a Mussolini-esque demonstration of their love of war. Many commenters here think that makes us weak. I’d suggest that makes us sane.

    Well, it depends on the likely outcome of our simply stopping fighting. There is an array of possibilities, some of them good, many of the bad and some of them very damn bad. Make a case for the good ones happening, and I’m all ears.

    A.L.

  73. A.L.

    “The point of this whole exercise is that we really don’t know ”

    I would argue that, yes, in fact, we do know. We know quite well. We know that there is a consensus view from the US gov’t, US military, Iraq gov’t, and from the world’s media that conditions in Iraq are very bad and getting worse, not better. Reports and actions by all of the above indicate that conditions outside of the Green Zone in the capital city of the country, where a sizable percentage of the poplulation lives, are much more violent and dangerous than any of the above would have expected them to be 3, 2 or even one year ago.

    I do not understand how some can continue to claim that this AP story is really about whether or not we are getting the true picture of events in Iraq, when there is so much information from so many sources other than the US media, all of which paint an identical picture.

    We can dissect and discuss the particular evidence supporting or refuting one single newsstory. But, my God Almighty, to try to make the case that the truth or falsity of that story–or even a dozen like them–would alter the picture of Iraq in any material way is surely the height or rhetorical folly.

    By all reliable accounts, the administration is currently debating whether or not to send anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 more combat troops to Bagdhad. Surely that information is enough to tell the whole story, to give one an idea of what the situation there is like. To continue to claim or to believe that we don’t really know the true story can only be, to my mind, a desperate attempt to cling to unreasonable hope that the world may yet turn out to be as we would wish it to be.

  74. Mark,

    If that is the case you should have no objections at all to finding out if this story is in fact true. If Jamil Hussein exists and who he is and whether the mosques were destroyed and people were burned alive. You don’t have a problem with that do you?
    Because it certainly seems that you do. Arguing that Iraq is a mess and we all know it is a mess therefore whether the AP tells the truth or not is wholly immaterial is at best disingenuous and that’s giving you the benefit of the doubt.
    If you’re position were so strong. If you were so confident of it you wouldn’t be wasting your time propping up a story that seems to be false. Instead with you, as with hypocrisy, I’m beginning to sense a sort of panic stricken shrillness creeping into your defense of the AP.
    Look if Iraq is such a mess that retreat is the only option there will be a retreat. Insisting upon relying upon information that is false isn’t necessary, though. And the vehemence of the arguments extended here to bolster this false story do their authors no credit at all. It also leads me to suspect that they are not nearly as confident of their positions as they claim to be.

  75. Corvan,

    Did you actually read my post? I would love to find out whether the AP story is true or false. I am very interested in the outcome. I have my beliefs and have always said they are just that: beliefs. I have always said I believe the evidence against the story being false is strong; the evidence against the existence of this Capt is, however, I BELIEVE, weak. But the point I was making, and which you seemed to miss, is that whether it is true or not is largely irrelevant to the overall accuracey of the picture we all have of Iraq based upon news reports, gov’t reports, military reports, etc.

    I did not, despite your claim to the contrary, ever make the argument that because Iraq is a mess the AP story must be true. Again, for the record, for the umpteenth time. I believe the story is false. But its falseness is significant of nothing and all this is sound & fury.

    I’ll repeat: I believe people were not burned alive. I believe Hussein exists. This is an intersting story. But it has no large meaning.

    I’m sorry you find me shrill. I don’t mean to sound so.

  76. I read your post, and apparently I placed to much empahsis on you insistence that the story is irrelevant. I apologize. Still, I don’t happen to think it’s irrelevant when an major media outlet butchers a story this badly. I’m sorry you do, especially in light of the fact that you don’t know what really happend with this story yet.
    Maybe you should let the facts come out and see what the AP has or hasn’t done before you sweep this one down the memory hole?

  77. Corvan,

    I am not sweeping anything under the memory hole. Nor do I think it is an irrelevant story. I think the truth of the story is irrelevant to the overall picture of what is going on in Iraq–and, in my defense, I am only making this point in reaction to those who seem to feel it is symptomatic of a larger trend and that things are not as bad in Iraq as the media makes them out to be. My point is that the truth or falsity of this story has no impact upon how bad things are in Iraq.

    I do not think I am doing anything to stop the facts coming out. I check in every day to see what further facts have come out.

  78. Cool, We’re on the same page. I’m not arguing that things in Iraq are good or that Maliki hasn’t been a major disappointment. I’m just very dismayed at the folks that are willing to let the AP slide because this story reports things they wish were true. Facts are facts, one can’t pretend they don’t exist just because it makes one feel better.

  79. Those traitor, rat SOB’s over at the AP misspelled this guy’s name intentionally to throw us off. Look at all the time we have wasted that we could have used to attack the queers.

    Why does the AP hate traditional marriage so much that they would lie about telling the truth about this nobody police captain in Iraq? The louses!

    They must be stopped!

  80. #78 from Mark Buehner at 10:26 pm on Dec 18, 2006

    bq. I may be out of line, but im guessing the AP used his name first. Unless you are suggesting Malkin pulled it out of thick air?

    Yes, the AP article mentioned him by name as one of their sources. Malkin made it an issue by claiming it was proof the AP was making up stories. The correct approach would have been for her to contact the AP asking if she could talk to him and if they said no, doing what we are now doing. Instead she went off half cocked with allegations of the media, AP and Reuters especially, of making up bad news in Iraq to sway public opinion against Bush and the war and to help the terrorists.

    “Fake News vs real”:http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006431.htm

    bq. Now thats the sign of a critical mind! The inquirer reported Big Foot runs a nightclub in Minnesota, thats all thats required of them I take it? Is that really the extent of what you demand from major media?

    bq. Aside from those of us lucky enough to have contacts in Baghdad, I’d say that is wildly innacurate. It also seems completely at odds with the idea of a wire service and a pool feed.

    I was obviously talking in general terms, any of us with journalistic credentials and contacts in Baghdad would certainly get farther than the rest of us but any of us can start asking questions and the persistent ones will get more answers.

    bq. Huh? FYI, literally nothing in that sentence is true. Malkin hasnt even gotten to Baghdad yet, so far all evidence points that Hussein is CERTAINLY NOT where the AP says he was, and whether the story is true or false may is obviously independent of whether the source is phoney.

    You are correct that Hussein has not been found where they said he was. It seems now that the lead on Jamail Hussein was false and I jumped to conclusions. But I never claimed that Milkin had to go to Baghdad to look for him so the fact that she hasn’t gotten there yet is meaningless. And you are also correct that the truth of the story is independent of this one source, but that was my point on Milkin. Her implicit claim is that because CENTCOM says Jamil Hussein isn’t an approved spokesman, he therefore doesn’t exist and therefore the whole story is false.

    ” Curt at Flopping Aces has one of two must-read posts on the unreliability of MSM war coverage relying on foreign stringers in Iraq. The claim of the burned-alive Sunnis comes from a single source, one Capt. Jamil Hussein.”
    “Fog of War”:http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006429.htm

    She didnt make any assertions, she asked questions which the AP disdained to answer.

    She did ask the AP for a response to the allegations and they replied. She did not, as far as I can tell, ask them if there was a way they could put her in contact with Hussein or somehow verify his existence. She was on an agenda already and would rather he remain a mystery. As for assertions:

    “Churning out pabulum like this, defending the use of dubious Iraqi stringers with terrorist ties.

    Journalists in the legacy press are too busy trying to write the Bush administration’s obituary to notice that they are writing their own.”
    “same as above”:http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006429.htm

    bq. If the events took place at all, which you will not there is still no independent evidence to speak of. Doesnt it concern you that every step of the investigation makes the event at best less and less accurately reported, and the investigation is just getting started? Doesnt that light up any bulbs in that head of yours? Oh wait, let me scan back to the top of this response.

    It concerns me that every story out of Iraq is 100% accurate but I dont expect it because even under the best of conditions, mistakes happen in reporting, translating, editing, etc. This one story, accurately reported or not, does not matter in the larger picture that Baghdad is a hell hole. The AP or any other news agency cannot report every story or even get to some areas where the events took place. As AL is finding in trying to track down Jamail or Jamil, he is finding:

    “Baghdad was on high alert after the Red Crescent kidnapping, and thus movement got restricted. People – both at Al Sabah and other media now that this things is opening up – are working on interviewing the commanding officers and also to find out more about exactly what happened in the alleged incident.”

    The new stories are gathered under those conditions and most reporters do their best to verify the stories are accurate but there is only so much they can do. The stories are then wired out to editors who maybe need them translated first. They try to weed out the less important stories or the ones that sound weak or dubious and then they send them on. It is not a situation where a reporter or team of reporters work on a story for weeks covering all angles and getting documented irrefutable proof. They do provide as much information as they can so other news organizations can follow up.

    It is never going to result in 100% accurate reporting, just as covering a hurricane live at the point of impact is going to be 100% accurate. The reporters are going to hear rumors from survivors and rescue crews, etc that turn out to be false, but they report the best information they can at the time. What is important isn’t that the big oak on 27th didn’t fall down crush the Sunny Valley retirement home like earlier reported. What is important is the winds are 110MPH and are blowing down trees and power lines all over the city and people should take action.

    bq. Precisely, which is WHY this story is so important. If the AP is systematically, SYSTEMATICALLY MIND YOU -(Hussien has been quoted in dozens of stories), relying on invalid sources, there is a serious problem with the AP failing to accomplish its function.

    But you still haven’t established that Hussein is an invalid source or that the accuracy of any one story reflects on the hundreds of others from all the news outlets saying basically the same things. I still find it puzzling that you hold AP accountable to such rigid standards when they are reporting from within the chaos yet you don’t hold others outside the chaos to the same standard when they have ample time to get the facts and verify them and I dont mean only the MSM and bloggers. The Whitehouse and the military have all the time in the world to get the story accurate yet their stories often prove to be false. The AP has a better track record as far as accuracy goes.

    “Baghdad burns”:http://mediamatters.org/columns/200612120001
    “Government Stenographers”:http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/12/government-stenographers-vs.html

  81. bq. Cool, We’re on the same page. I’m not arguing that things in Iraq are good or that Maliki hasn’t been a major disappointment.

    There is only one person to blame for the debacle in Iraq. It is not Maliki, Bremer, the MSM, the French or even Rumsfeld. The person to blame is the one who made the decision to invade. Ever notice that he is the one who appointed these scapegoats you now try to blame and the disasters continue even as the scapegoats resign?

  82. I’m coming late to this thread. I think the AP story about the burning six is fishy. I believe the stories the American public hears influences their perception of the war and consequently their level of support for it. Are things bad in Iraq? Yes. Are they bad in all parts of Iraq? I don’t think so. Are we getting the whole picture, the good and the bad? I don’t think so. If the American public doesn’t have a complete, accurate picture of what’s going on over there, how can they make informed decisions about their personal level of support for it?

    I have seen reports of a captured Al Queda documents talking about the media aspect of the war on terror: how to generate stories for American media outlets to bolster their own positions, to the detriment of the position of the US. To a certain extent, the terrorist/insurgents only have to outlast the American public’s willingness to have out troops over there. If they do that, they win.

    The AP may have talked to a person who called himself Capt Hussein. But, who is he, and what are his motives? This person has been named in many other stories put out by the AP, can we trust other stories that may not have been properly vetted?

    I’ll reserve final judgement until all the facts are in, but so far, things don’t look good for the AP from my vantage point.

  83. Hypocrisyrules – Not sure why the article you linked to was focusing on the lack of Fall attack numbers. I would guess that the reason the DOD wouldn’t give the GAO that data is that they release them in aggregate when they release their Iraq status reports, which you can find at:
    http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/Iraq_Reports/Index.html

    As you can see, page 25 of the most recent report provides data up until November 2006. The file name indicates that the report was released in 12/16, so it seems fairly up to date, accounting for the lag time to collect the data, etc.

    The graph also covers all time periods from 2004 onwards to November 2006, so this would indicate fairly good coverage by the DoD. In general, I have been fairly surprised at the amount of data released in these reports.

  84. Ladybug,

    A couple of quick responses:

    “Are things bad in Iraq? Yes. Are they bad in all parts of Iraq? I don’t think so.”

    Couldn’t you have just as easily made the claim on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001 that not all parts of the USA were attacked or smoldering? So why the big hubbub? Sure 3,000 people died, but hey, look how many people die in Darfur. Why did the media fixate on just one part of picture. There were no attacks in most American cities.

    “To a certain extent, the terrorist/insurgents only have to outlast the American public’s willingness to have out troops over there. If they do that, they win.”

    What is it they win exactly? Isn’t it our goal to eventually withdraw from Iraq? Wouldn’t we therefor win by achieving that goal? The root of our problem in Iraq is that we do want to leave and everyone involved knows that. In fact, all parties in the conflict share this goal.

    If the terrorists win by our leaving Iraq, what was their goal before we entered Iraq?

    Finally, aren’t all wars waged under the same terms….to outlast your enemy: to convince your enemy through the use of violence that it isn’t worth continuing. Don’t we do the same thing?

  85. Corvan,

    Hyperventilation isn’t good for you – if you actually addressed my points, maybe there would be room for a dialogue, but since you are only interested in pounding the table – pound! pound! – right back atcha!

  86. #102 from mark at 9:16 pm on Dec 19, 2006

    bq. Couldn’t you have just as easily made the claim on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001 that not all parts of the USA were attacked or smoldering? So why the big hubbub? Sure 3,000 people died, but hey, look how many people die in Darfur. Why did the media fixate on just one part of picture. There were no attacks in most American cities.

    Great point. I am going to have to use that in some capacity. I’m getting sick and tired of those justifying what is going on in Iraq by saying it’s not all as bad as Baghdad. Besides them being totally ignorant of how bad it is in Baghdad or any other part of the country, none of the country was as bad before we invaded as it is now. I’m getting even more sick and tired of the comparisons of Baghdad to Detroit, or Miami or some other US city.

    bq. If the terrorists win by our leaving Iraq, what was their goal before we entered Iraq?

    Getting us to invade and thus stuck in a quagmire?

    bq. Finally, aren’t all wars waged under the same terms….to outlast your enemy: to convince your enemy through the use of violence that it isn’t worth continuing. Don’t we do the same thing?

    Another excellent point.

  87. So will you finally concede that there is no Jamail Hussein? That the AP published false enemy propaganda designed to harm the U.S. effort?

    You must feel pretty ashamed.

  88. Les, do you have some fresh information that Hussein doesn’t exist? I didn’t see any links.

    How ashamed are you about supporting a war to destroy non-existent WMD? Or are you merely a supporter of the Ledeen/Goldberg Doctrine?

    So how does all this, or the humble attempt at a history lesson of my last column, justify tearing down the Baghdad regime? Well, I’ve long been an admirer of, if not a full-fledged subscriber to, what I call the “Ledeen Doctrine.” I’m not sure my friend Michael Ledeen will thank me for ascribing authorship to him and he may have only been semi-serious when he crafted it, but here is the bedrock tenet of the Ledeen Doctrine in more or less his own words: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”

  89. “Les, do you have some fresh information that Hussein doesn’t exist??

    What an interesting question for our friend Les. Well Les, do you have fresh information that something or somebody doesn’t exist? Let’s put up or shut up, Les.

    And what would fresh proof of non-existance look like?

    Today still no call from Hussein. Must still be not existing!

  90. And what would fresh proof of non-existance look like?

    Well, like Ms. Malkin going to the safe streets of Philadelphia/Baghdad and telling us about her unsuccessful search in detail, that would be a start.

    So far the evidence of non-existence seems to be: (1) sometimes he is Jim and sometimes he is James and (2) the magnificently computerized Iraq Central Police Payroll Office didn’t seem to have a record of him and (3) his statements make the occupation look unsuccessful. Point (2) is the only one with any weight at all, and unless someone can show me that Iraqi record-keeping is better than I suspect—isn’t this the Iraqi police whose American-contractor-build HQ has to be demolished it’s so shoddy?—I’d say it’s far from dispositive.

    You might consider the thought that as the right-wing echo chamber has shrunk, the AP has simply lost interest in participating in your search for an exculpatory explanation of how a project resolutely implemented by the Resolute Decider with the assistance of his resolute Unitary Executive and all-GOP Congress turned into a clusterfuck.

  91. Wow Andrew. You gotta loosen up some. That was way emotional.

    You can’t continue to prove non-existance. This is logic — has nothing to do with any specific topic. That’s why it was so funny. You can DISPROVE non-existance — simply by procucing the thing that is being discussed. But you can’t prove non-existance. If I don’t see it, it don’t exsist. Now it may exist to some other observer, sure. But it don’t exist to me.

    Over time, we’ve come up with rules so that each person doesn’t have to experience everything in the world in order to know for sure that it exists. One of those sets of rules is how journalists are supposed to act. For instance, quoting a person means that person is willing to state something on the record and be questioned by additional journalists. Another choice is anonymous sources, which have a tendency to, well, lie. So named sources, with backup, are always preferable to anonymous sources.

    Now it’s perfectly fine for one bunch to say that a name appears in a news story, therefore it must be real. (Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!) But it’s also perfectly fine for another bunch to use the previously agreed rules to ask for this person to be produced. Once again, this has nothing at all to do with right-wingers, Iraq, or any of that. Same situation could happen a million different ways.

    Some people want to get into the “who do you believe more” channel, which is a non-starter. The AP should be building its reputation on journalistic standards. If they have special rules or standards they are applying for the Iraq war, then a) it makes for an interesting disucssion point, and b) it could have commercial ramifications for them in the future. Once again, neither point has much to do with Michelle Malkin, neocons, war propaganda evil gremlins, etc.

  92. Heh. Got that, Daniel? Blah, blah, right-wing blah, clusterfuck blah, blah.

    A lot of words, most of which have nothing to do with this case, added simply because they know they’ve been caught and want to change the subject.

    Let’s try a different tack :
    Instead of ‘So far the evidence of non-existence seems to be’,
    let’s try ‘So far the evidence of existence seems to be :’

    Which is what we’ve been asking all along. It’s a fairly straightforward question.

    So far, the AP says ‘just take our word for it, and how dare you blogs question us’.
    Also, ‘Well, boy-emperor Chimpy McHalliburton lied us into a quaaaaagmire, so that settles it!’ seems to be the next most popular answer amongst the Reality Based Community.

    Those answers are not good enough. (And that’s just to see if this guy actually exists, nevermind if the story is actually true!)

  93. You know, it’s always fun to play “gotcha” when you think you’re holding a good hand, but don’t forget this is but one in a very long (and increasingly boring) card game, fellas.

    And I’d say the chips are stacked up much higher on AJL’s side of the table than yours right now.

    However, I think you’re all guilty of failing to see the (cas ino) for the (poke er) table, however.

  94. Andy: when you say “the chips are stacked much higher” I believe you are referring to “who is more likely to be correct”

    As I’ve already said, that’s off-topic for me. If you guys want to debate who is correct, where is the media war, the culture war, the role of accurate media in fightin a war, etc — fine with me. Just don’t drag me into a conversation is is larger, more open-ended and less likely to have any reasonable conclusion.

    I’m very happy simply asking the AP to do the right thing. Either produce Hussein or stop using his name. If he is afraid of reprisals and wishes to remain unidentifiable I can definitely understand that. So that makes him an anonymous source. AP can’t have it both ways. You quote somebody, you are saying that he has a public identity and is willing to go on the record making a statement (especially if you mention his title) It’s just sloppy journalism, plain and simple. I hope somebody at the AP decides it is time to play grown-up and do the right thing in this matter, because the right-wingers are not going to shut up about this.

  95. Well, what I meant actually was that the debate about this non-affair is but one hand in a larger “game” that AJL and his side have been more sucessful at, if public opinion and election resuls are the measure.

    Silly point perhaps but that’s what it was.

  96. Andy I think we can agree that the general screw up of one reporter in a war zone should be just a simple matter. IF there was a mistake, you fix it. IF not, then you don’t.

    What’s fascinating is that it plays into a bunch of bigger picture narratives on both sides of the Iraq war debate. I would argue that the ruckus (and AP’s silence) are both things we wouldn’t have seen ten years ago. But so far, I’m with you — doesn’t seem to be catching on very much elsewhere. (AFAIK)

  97. ERIC SCHEIE (of ClassicalValues.com) ON JAMIL HUSSEIN: “I soon noticed that there’s a downside to debunking fraudulent people or claims. The people who make them up — *and most of those who agree with them* — simply don’t care. Because the characters and claims are invented to support what they already believe fervently, debunking them does not ‘count.’ Lies presented in furtherance of a greater ‘truth’ are not really considered to be lies, at least not in the moral sense. *The idea is to persuade people, and if fictional people or incidents have to be used, that’s OK, as long as it’s in the interest of the greater truth*. (h/t Instapundit)

    In other words, spread enemy propaganda; as long as it furthers your own agenda it doesn’t matter if it’s a lie.

    I’m not sure how not seeing the ‘forest’ for the ‘trees’ applies here, though. I do recognize that the usual suspects are showing some success in that the AP continues to stonewall and fabricate stories. I concede that AJL and his side have been somewhat successful in trying to defeat the American war effort. (They must be very happy and proud.)

    Does that mean I should stop asking them for proof on this story?

  98. Confederate Yankee is claiming over at his blog in a post called Another Straw that the Kamiah Hospital doesn’t have a morgue. Kamiyah is the hopsital whose “morgue” the AP claimed had received the bodies of the burned Sunis. http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/

    Is CY right? I don’t know. If he is we have:
    A source who cannot be found, talking about victims who cannot be found, being taken to a morgue that does not exist.

    Andy X and A Lazarus are just fine wiht all this. Which leads us back to the Classical Values site. There is a commenter there named Mwalimu Daudi. He coined the phrase “speaking fiction to power.”

    Appearenly he had Andy and Andrew in mind.

  99. Actually, Kamiyah does have a morgue – two of them, actually. The confusion may be because ‘morgue’ typically is used to mean ‘place where autopsies are done’ not ‘place where bodies are held.’

    A.L.

  100. AL,

    You had any more luck with your sources in Iraq. Michelle Malkin hasn’t found anything, and seems to indicate that a potential source of the Jamil Hussein stuff denies being the source.
    Oh and sorry Andy and Andrew. I shouldn’t be ripping on you for a story that’s in error. Oh that the MSM felt that way, eh?

  101. Les, maybe the AP is satisfied with its stories. After all, they have people actually in Iraq and the right-blogosphere doesn’t, although that hasn’t prevented you guys from all sorts of authoritative pronouncements. Not everything is going to turn out to be the coup fourré of Rathergate. (Hasn’t Rove told you that was a setup job?) In the new post 11/7 narrative your complaints don’t merit the attention they used to

    I have to say there’s something truly shameless about the spreaders of WMD nonsense, Curveball fictions, Chalabi deceptions—which all got the most respectful, unquestioned hearing in the MSM for years—now complaining about accuracy. Some lies. I guess, are much, much better than others.

    Iraq really is a mess now. Eighty percent of America and even conservatives are starting to realize that. The problem, Les, is not that the MSM failed to continue with Bushbot Happy News, but that we were unable to bring physical security, physical infrastructure repair, or any sort of working political system to Iraq. Neither the MSM nor the antiwar Americans had anything to do with the that. You got all the troops, all the money, all the Congressional votes you asked for. Your President and his accomplices created the fiasco.

  102. “After all, they have people actually in Iraq ..”

    Well, one of those people ain’t Jamail Hussein, and that’s the one we’re interested in right now.

    “In the new post 11/7 narrative your complaints don’t merit the attention they used to”

    Hahahaha! Wow, complaining about a fabricated story don’t merit attention…because we Dems are back in power, baby!

    Do you realize you sound like a caricature of a liberal snob?

    The AP must find Jamail and prove his ‘stories’ … or lose credibility.

  103. Les,

    I’ve been thinking about AP’s imaginary source, Jimmy Hussein.

    Perhaps the most appropriate thing to do is to write letters or emails to our local news sources and ask them to clarify their position on the use of named sources in a story. If they quote a fire captain named Bob Smith, should other people be able to find Bob Smith? Or is it enough that one reporter knows where a named source is?

    The AP might not care because it is higher up the food chain than we poor consumers, but our local media outlets certainly do. The AP may have lowered thier standards and I might not be able to sway them, but I can certainly get somebody’s attention at the local news desk at City Paper. AS LONG AS I KEEP THE CONVERSATION TO JOURNALISTIC STANDARDS AND NOT POLITICS.

    Just a thought. What with all the heat newspapers are taking for losing subscribers, you’d think they might be a little more sensitive to non-partisan criticism than the AP is.

  104. Andrew J. Lazarus…opposing the truth wherever he finds it.
    Sorry Andy, based on post #120 this one is perfectly justified. You just argued that fake but accurate is good enough and that the AP having people in Iraq means they are perfectly justified in making things up.
    I have to be honest, I’m beginning to suspect that you really don’t want the facts to be found in this case or any other case, so long as that allows you to scream Rove this, Rove that and Haliburton. You know checking out of reality might make you feel better. It doesn’t change reality.
    And before you claim that every one on this board is a winger who thinks Iraq is a marvelous success let me point out. That just ain’t true. It wasn’t true the first time you said it, and screaming it over and over won’t make it more true. At thius point you’re cheerleading for falsehood. That’s fine, just don’t expect the rest of us to applaud you for it.

  105. Andrew, that’s genuinely unhinged. You need to go back after last night’s sleep and reread it and decide if that’s the voice you want to speak in.

    First things first; the ‘right blogosphere’ had a shedload of people in Iraq – many of them Westerners wearing green. I’ve got a few people – Iraqis – in Iraq, and people I know have a few dozen – which I’ll bet matches the number of stringers the AP has.

    Second, I never felt that the left narratives were irrelevant when the GOP was in power; your little aside suggest that all that matters to you is that your team gets power. That’s been one of my primary criticisms of the left for a long time; thanks for reinforcing it.

    Andrew, the WMD canard has been spread so often that it’s acquired a truthiness of it’s own, hasn’t it? Clinton’s people thought there were WMD; they just chose not to do anything about it except sanctions. the Europeans thought there were WMD, they just chose not to do anything about it except loot food-for-oil.

    And that goes to your next point – that the majority of people thing things suck over there. Well, things are certainly bad – but are they as bad as represented by the AP? That’s the question, isn’t it.

    You’d like them to be, because that a) validates your previous positions; and b) helps cement the power of the faction you support.

    That sucks, in short form, because it suggests to me that you care more about being right and about cementing power than you do about figuring out how to reach a successful outcome. And because it suggests that you’ll be standing beside Duncan Black when he gleefully high-fives the crowd after we nuke someone over there for ‘fucking with us a little bit’.

    A.L.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>