These Are Not The Droids You Are Looking For…

[Update: Malkin is retracting her post..murkier and murkier]

OK, folks, this is what open source is about – you put things out there and the rest of the world improves on them – so here it goes. I think we discovered something, but it turns out probably not to have been useful. Sorry about that, but as they say, there are no failed experiments.

After talking about this on Friday, I used some old contacts to call friends in Baghdad on Saturday. We (friends and I) have contacts there through major local Iraqi news orgs there – specifically Al Sabah. They have the ability/credentials to move around, ask questions where others don’t.

So, after some calls, IMs, and e-mail we get a call back by Sat night (California time)/Sunday morning (Baghdad time); there is no Capt. Jamil Hussein at Yarmouk, but there is a Sergeant by that name, with a somewhat dubious reputation (worked directly under Uday, Baathist remnant, etc.). So, we checked further, because, after all, I want to be certain before I start throwing too many things around, and it takes a different type and level of checking to have anything like confidence there than it does here to have something close to certainty – and be sure that we’ll be talking about that a bit later.
Reporters from Al Sabah agreed to go interview the superior officer at the police station. They were on the phone at 4:30 am PST today, and they had gone to Karrada and established there is no Jamail Hussein there (would have been unlikely since Karrada is mostly Shiite, and in fact is mostly the power zone of SCIRI, Hakeem has his HQ there – and the Sgt at Yarmouk was obviously Sunni). Information then came in that there is a Colonel Jamail Hussein working at Abu Gharib. (Via sources at the Interior Ministry.)

Now, what we know is that there is no Captain by this name, so we presumed that it is likely that it was an alias. The question was whether it someone who’d dissembled about his name or about his rank? And why didn’t anyone else turn up these guys?

Then, today, Michelle Malkin ran a post – prompted by her pushing on CENTCOM – that the real source for the stories is a guy named CPT Jamil Ghdaab, who is being spoken with by CENTCOM and has acknowledged being the source for the stories.

We’ll know more about what he said and why, I’ll guess – but “looking for Captain Hussein” appears to have been the wrong branch to have been barking up – so we’ll stop barking for a bit.

Further investigation is ongoing by grownups, and I’m sure I’ll hear more (and will pass it on) although it’ll be widely available elsewhere, I’d guess. In the meantime two different sources in Hurriyah confirm that at least two of the mosques in question are just fine, are standing strong, a couple of bullet marks on them, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. We also hear that they are closed for worship from fear of retaliatory attacks. There are two other mosques there that were claimed to have been attacked (the claim was later reduced to one) and we’ll see if we can get some pictures of them all, at which point we’ll have some facts to report. I’m also hoping to get more of a local response to the core story – about the six who were allegedly burned to death.

Yesterday, 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. (There is by law a report filed with the police there anytime there is such an incident, so that will be part of the questioning that is ongoing there when the interview at the police station happens.) That is currently scheduled for tomorrow, however, know that in Baghdad, things are unstable enough for security to shut or slow down things dramatically at any time.

We’ll see what develops by tonight (tomorrow am Baghdad time), and keep you posted, but I think it’s probably time to move back more toward doing commentary about this and let the reporters and others – who should have been poked in the butt by a person in California with some friends being able to find Jamail Hussein – and Jamil Hussein – with five phone calls and some instant messages. The fact that he wasn’t the source is obviously material to the overall story – as is the fact that all of a sudden the real source is found.

Both the press and CENTCOM didn’t cover themselves in glory with this one. CENTCOM should have been all over this story – certainly once it became a cause celebre – and done a week or more ago what they appear to be doing now. Why they didn’t until now is one other question I’d love to get answered.

And the press – both the AP and the competition to the AP – also failed to do some relatively simple homework that would have put the story in a clearer light.

I’d say that what I did – with a lot of help from a number of folks – probably muddied the waters more than cleared them. But I hope it cast a little light into how weak the data we have coming from Iraq via both our government and our media really are. And on one hand, as noted one guy in California with some friends can generate data out of Iraq – but I’ve seen firsthand that it’s still damn hard to take that data and make even journalistic truth out of it.

60 thoughts on “These Are Not The Droids You Are Looking For…”

  1. The main question here should be: Is the story true? And best investigation says no, so whoever gave AP the story was not telling the truth, no matter what his name was.

  2. I think that work by people with staff on the ground in Iraq would have produced some answers by now. So far you’ve done as well as the AP, MSM and CENTCOM…combined.

  3. So the AP “trusted source” of two years, who was ‘confirmed’ as actually named Jamil Hussein, and actually sitting in the Yarmouk police station, is still an elaborate hoax (meaning his name is NOT Jamil Hussein, he is not a captain, he is not in Yarmouk, and the burning six never existed)?

    Wow, I can’t wait to hear what Ms. “frothing rabble” Carroll at the AP has to say in defense of her lies…

  4. Centcom? How do you figure?

    They have stated in many e-mails that they have consulted with both the MoI and the joint coordination center for the police. They received denials. They asked several times, and they sent bloggers who asked the results they had received. They applied so much pressure that MoI had to address the existence of this guy directly.

    The guy is not, nor ever was under Centcom control. Had he existed, he was a part of an independent police force of an independent nation. NOT Centcom’s to poke and pry about. Centcom did just what it ought to have.

    The only people who ever maintained that this guy existed were the AP folks. With the Iraqi government, Centcom and everyone else denying his existence, why was there even a question?

    Jamail Hussein was, however, on the grassy knoll in Dallas.

  5. I’m getting the impression that the AP may have decided that they are not going to jump through hoops every time some blogger challenges some aspect of a story they don’t like. They did that on the “Green Helmet Guy” producing him and explaining the context of the pictures. Then they did it somewhat on this story by verifying to their own satisfaction that the story was fundamentally correct and issuing a followup.

    Bloggers are not subscribers to the AP. The AP doesn’t have to produce Hussein and explain every sentence and detail to people who are not their customers. If their subscribers were demanding it, they would do more. As far as I can see, one NYT blogger asked about it and that’s it other than partisan bloggers.

    Looks to me like the AP has moved on. If you want them to act, get their subscribers to ask for more clarification.

  6. Wow, I’m impressed.

    At the moment, the weight of evidence seems to be against the two events in question: the alleged burnings, and the alleged interview of an eye-witness named Captain Something-Hussein.

    Not bad for a bunch of frothing rabble (“Rabble!” Ms. Carroll says. “Rabble!”) and once again the MSM has been reminded that “Stephen Glass-style journalism”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Glass doesn’t cut it any more.

  7. I think what you’ve done has added to the information on this subject, and I applaud you for the effort/results and for publicly qualifying those results. It’s much harder to prove someone doesn’t exist than it is to produce and interview them. The onus should still be on the AP to produce it’s source for an interview and, if it can’t do that publicly for security reasons, the AP should at least make him available to a reputable intermediary.

  8. Marc,

    Thank you for your efforts to get to the bottom of this “Where’s Waldo” aspect of the story; you many not have provided any solid answers, but you’ve done far more in good faith than the Associated Press has so far.

    I’m not sure how long Michelle story was out there, but at least she retracted it once she thought is was wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice if Kathleen Carroll (AP’s executive editor) would do the same?

  9. _A few minutes ago, I posted an update to the Jamil Hussein story. My source just informed me that he had incorrect information. I’m removing the post. I’ll update as soon as I know more._

    From “Malkins”:http://michellemalkin.com/archives/006563.htm website.

    Anybody else think Malkin should leave the story up and mark it as disavowed? Its the blogger way.

  10. well, as long as we spend hours and hours obsessing over Jamil Hussein, it means we don’t have to THINK about stories like the American who was held by American authorities for 97 days without access to an attorney….

    That story doesn’t matter — it has no implications for anyone, and its obviously just an anomoly. But Jamil Hussein — he is PROOF that everything is just fine and dandy in Iraq, and that the perception that its a disaster is entirely the fault of the AP.

  11. Anybody else think Malkin should leave the story up and mark it as disavowed? Its the blogger way.

    If it was up only for a few brief minutes and didn’t spread, I would say no. If it had any time to spread, I would say yes, most definitely.

  12. Malkin did leave the original post (linked in this article) up for a while, but just removed it from her page and replaced it with the current post (#6563). All links to the original post (#6562) were removed.

    I thought that was fine. I read the #6562 post by typing it into the URL box myself. This article has about the entire substance of the five or six line original. But now, Malkin’s gone and deleted the #6562 content altogether. That stinks fiercely.

  13. Anybody archive Malkin’s deleted post?

    She doesn’t trust her source and apparently doesn’t trust readers to see the investigative entrails – the fundamental argument for challenging AP.

  14. If we can only disprove this story than maybe we can convince everyone that things are just swell in Iraq and getting better every day !

  15. Regardless of Jamail/Schlmail, Michelle Malkin and her friends have performed an invaluable public service. Not that any sentient entity credits the Associated Press with the brains of a chicken, the integrity of Al Capone– but it always helps to emphasize in detail just how deep the rot has penetrated over time.

    We think of the intrepid Michelle Malkin as a bulwark of commonsense and editorial imagination in a sea of mindless credentialed foraminifera– scooping up Big Time Reporters (sic) like plankton sifted through baleen. Keep at it! Just please return safe home, and leave the AP to commit new stupidities anon.

  16. John Ryan,

    I wouldn’t leap to that conclusion just on the basis of this story no matter what its result. Though I have to admit Mr. Hussein has been cited by the AP in an awful lot of stories. If he doesn’t exist or if he’s been lying to them, well that certainly wouldn’t reflect well on them. And there are a lot of other sources cited by the AP as members of the Iraqi government who can’t be found by the moi or by centcom.
    Still I don’t think anyone would argue that things in Iraq aren’t bad, or that Maliki hasn’t been a terrible disappointment.
    It’s just that I’d like for the AP to tell me what really happened. I’m sorry you object to that.

  17. Re #17, yes yes John….
    It’s no big deal that the AP is fabricating stories, because we all _know_ that it’s “fake but accurate,” right?

    On that note, why bother writing any stories from Iraq at all? I know it’s a violent cesspool, so I could just write every story myself!

  18. #17 from John ryan at 12:24 am on Dec 19, 2006
    If we can only disprove this story than maybe we can convince everyone that things are just swell in Iraq and getting better every day !

    Shorter version:

    I am totally cool with media make believe if it helps me maintain my worldview.

  19. #18 is right. We don’t need to know if our information on Iraq is reliable. If this one story is proven false, it is probably the only story that was false. We know what is going on in Iraq by simpley performing a thought experiment against our own prejudices.

    Whatever.

    I would like to know that the information I am getting is correct. If you are happy to base your thought on unreliable information, well, garbage in garbage out.

  20. If we can only disprove this story than maybe we can convince everyone that things are just swell in Iraq and getting better every day!

    I would appreciate anyone citing an actual report/opinion/release expressing this strawman. You can’t. Yet, for some reason, it always gets dragged out everytime a major news item is busted as rank hyperbole. Such intellectual dishonesty is dangerous.

    None can be so well decieved and used as those who choose not to see.

  21. We’ve now got a series of cases, not just one story, where organizations like AP and Reuters have been caught feeding us islamic extremist propaganda that was fed to them.

    PLO, Hezbollah and Hamas propaganda being laundered as “objective news”.

    In most of these cases, the “news” organizations are attacking the critics instead of improving their news. I want to know why these organizations have an investment in flogging anti-western propaganda instead of reporting real news to us.

    Its not getting answered.

  22. Right wingers, meet shit sandwich. Shit sandwich, meet right wingers.

    Hey! This is almost as cool as the time you guys went nuts over that Times story that showed the camera in the birdhouse in Rummy’s driveway. Remember? You dolts said the Times was trying to get Rummy killed, then it turned out he personally authorized the story (and the pictures).

    That was almost as cool as the entire Schaivo thing.

    And that was almost (but not quite) as cool as the time those Protest Warriors got their asses kicked by the “Move America Forward” knuckle draggers in Crawford.

    Well, thanks for being honest anyway.

    Merry Christmas.

  23. “..but I’ve seen firsthand that it’s still damn hard to take that data and make even journalistic truth out of it.”

    True AL, but you are moving toward journalistic truth at 10x the speed of A.P, those scalawags.

  24. I love watching the right-wingnuts hiding their heads in the sand on this entire Iraq mess.

    Newsflash wingnuts; Iraq is a total mess. People are being killed non-stop, everyday. Things are far worse off than they were before we invaded. The situation is only growing worse.

    So not only was our war illegal and unnecessary, it has also failed.

    But go ahead running around on your little Jamil Hussein goose chase, as if the media just invented the mess going on in Iraq (which is confirmed by US military on the ground, by Pentagon brass, by the incoming Defense Secretary and outgoing Defense Secretary, and by the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group).

    Whining about the “liberal” media is all you people have left….

  25. You know this how, BushOstrich? From the media reports that you haven’t the courage to critically examine.

    Find something original to contribute.

  26. Everybody, but in particular Chris and BushOstrich: Please review the “Winds of Change comments policy.”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/003367.php

    Rants are not what we’re here for. Off-topic rants are especially onerous, and can lead to warnings, which eventually lead to thread-bans or site-bans.

    No matter how good it feels to spout: shape up or ship out.

    And a Merry Christmas to you, cher Chris.

    –Marshal Nortius “Big Tuna” Maximus, speaking ex cathedra from his diaphragm

  27. Robin Roberts:

    I want to know why these organizations have an investment in flogging anti-western propaganda instead of reporting real news to us.

    It is ideological. The West, particularly America, is the focus of evil in the modern world, to them. “Journalists” consider themselves intellectuals and bitterly resent the fact that much of society does not accord them their due deference. The high school graduate who gets a job as a cub reporter at a working-class big city newspaper and learns reporting as a trade or craft disappeared years ago. Now, “journalists” are almost all from middle and upper middle class backgrounds, graduates of leftist-dominated universities, and indoctinated with the Gramscian idea that intellectuals were not simply talkers, but directors and organisers who helped build society and produce hegemony by means of ideological apparatuses such as education and the media.

    Islamofascists and Transnational Progressives share many short-term goals.

  28. If the Associated (with terrorists) Press (OMG TEH FUNNIEST PUN EVAR) is allowed to consistently distort the truth in Iraq by telling us lies about 6 Muslims dying, then the terrorists truly have won. I also notice how they’ve consistently left out important stories like the fact that a new school was painted a very American blue before being blown up. Clearly they hate America and want to distort the facts of the war and make it seem like its chaos in Iraq. Its not like almost 3000 Americans have died there or tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Thats just distortion from the liberal media.

  29. SPQR,

    The blogs pursuing this story obviously have an agenda, making them partisan. It would only be an ad hominem attack if you think that having an agenda is always a negative characteristic, which I don’t.

    My point was that, to the corporate media, the people questioning this story are of little importance because you don’t pay the bills. They have marginal interest in your opinion as long as their subscribers are happy.

    The AP doesn’t do news gathering as a public service, they do it for profit. There’s no profit in spending more resources on this story.

  30. Robin Roberts,

    I know the violence in Iraq is real, not because I only read AP reports, but from listening to a wide range of voices on the subject, including Pentagon officials (check their testimony during Robert Gates’ hearings), Robert Gates, the incoming Defense Secretary, Don Rumsfeld, the outgoing Defense Sec whose internal memo was published (and not disputed as being fake), the bi-partisan Iraq Study Group (which found violence in Iraq is being UNDERREPORTED by 1000%), various independent media sources and organizations, etc.

    I mean seriously, how can you people sit here and honestly say the media just invented all the violence going on in Iraq?

  31. Marshal Nortius,

    Why aren’t you directing that post to the right-wingers on here accusing the media of being in league with terrorists, or the poster Canonneer #4, who stated, “Islamofascists and Transnational Progressives share many short-term goals.”

    We’re supposed to just take being called terrorist allies for simply stating the fact that Iraq has turned into a complete mess?

    What posting policies am I violating? Can you state them? How is what I said off-topic???

    You guys just can’t handle the truth.

  32. “I mean seriously, how can you people sit here and honestly say the media just invented all the violence going on in Iraq?”

    Late to the game here, but no one is saying the press is inventing the violence. What is being shown (not just stated, but shown) pretty conclusively is we can’t trust the product coming from one of the major news providers. Please leave the strawman at the door.

    Can we agree that this is an information (propaganda) war as well as a shooting war? If we can agree on that, how is the reliability of information coming out of Iraq not a big deal?

  33. Well, ‘Armed’, despite your boasting that a guy from californai was able to do what the press didn’t acomplish, what you actually report sounds as blurry as the orginal AP story:

    “there is no Capt. Jamil Hussein at Yarmouk, but there is a Sergeant by that name”
    This seems to be THE important information. But, so what? Where’s the follow-up? Was this info established from an official database, by phoning the Yarmouk station, or has someone actually seen or even spoken that Sgt.? Did he admit to be the source? Did he deny it? Where there any problems in getting a statement from him? Is the story true? Really, why isn’t there more info? This is very unsatisfying.

    “they had gone to Karrada and established there is no Jamail Hussein there” Uh huh. Would you pls tell the reader what connection there is to Karrada? Afaik it was always said that the source is in Yarmouk, where does Karrada get into the picture? Is this info of any importance, more than a statement that there’s no Yamil Hussein in, say, Alma Ata, Mongolia, or St. Petersburg, Florida? This is totally confusing.

    “I’m also hoping to get more of a local response to the core story – about the six who were allegedly burned to death.”
    Now that’s a good idea. After all, that’s what all the brouhaha is supposed to be about. Hell, if it’s possible to get a statement from Yarmouk about the staff there, why wasn’t it already established if something similar to the AP story happened? It can’t be that ‘Captain Hussein’, whoever that is, is really the only one at that police station who has knowledge about this.

  34. Of course Baghdad is a mess, but so is Somalia, South Miami, and Detroit. Look at the Gaza strip, and the West Bank, East Timor, Indonesia and Aceh. The problem isn’t, and wasn’t caused by the US, it’s caused by Muslims, whose religious philosophy encourages them to kill and destroy in the name of Allah.
    And while comparisons with the religious wars in Northern Ireland are apt, in comparison with Darfur, and the middle east, there is no comparison.

    The liberal media have an agenda, which can’t be denied, and the AP is a prime example.

  35. “”they had gone to Karrada and established there is no Jamail Hussein there” Uh huh. Would you pls tell the reader what connection there is to Karrada? Afaik it was always said that the source is in Yarmouk, where does Karrada get into the picture? Is this info of any importance, more than a statement that there’s no Yamil Hussein in, say, Alma Ata, Mongolia, or St. Petersburg, Florida? This is totally confusing. ”

    The AP claimed that the Captain was now in Karrada.

  36. BushOstrich – re Marshall Fester’s comment to you. Go back and look at you post here … the one that leads off “I love watching the right-wingnuts hiding their heads in the sand on this entire Iraq mess.”

    Remember the Monty Python sketch about argument and disagreement? Well, our hope is that this is the space for argument – we’re happy to leave disagreement to others.

    If you’ve got an argument to make that supports your position, step up to the plate. But no one is very interested in flat assertion. That’s the path to disagreement, and just isn;t very interesting or educational.

    How’s that?

    A.L.

  37. “Of course Baghdad is a mess, but so is Somalia, South Miami, and Detroit.”

    South Miami and Detroit are as dangerous as Baghdad? Wow. I’ll pass on that for my holidays.

    Baghdad, and indeed the rest of Iraq, wasn’t a great place to live before the invasion. There was very limited freedom of the press and the elections were basically a comedy show. Anyone openly revolting against Hussein was likely to find themselves in a very dark place with no way out. On the positive side, women could drive cars (and vote), there was no Sharia law, and it was perfectly possible to walk the streets at night.

    Then Bush decided to invade. You can argue the reasons all you like (oil/UN resolution/saving a failed presidency/WMD/whatever) but the facts now are:

    – three thousand Americans are dead
    – hundreds of Allied troops are dead
    – many tens of thousands of Iraqis are dead
    – Al Qaeda has a marketing campaign they couldn’t have paid Madison Avenue to come up with
    – and the very likely outcome is that instead of a powerless, largely secular (though highly unpleasant) Middle Eastern state we’ll have one run by highly politicised Muslims taking their orders from Iran and Syria.

    …and none of that would have happened had the US administration not taken the decision to invade.

    That’s how simple this is, I’m afraid. It’s not propaganda or some bizarrely sophisticated liberal / MSM / gay marriage combo, it’s just the facts, and the sooner people acknowledge it (as indeed the ISG have tried to do) the sooner we can get on with fixing it.

    Spending time hammering away at imagined conspiracies is nothing short of a pitiful waste of time and effort.

  38. So, after multiple posts and hundreds of comments here, can it be agreed that the people defending the AP on this story agree that it’s ‘fake, but true’? That this *particular* story was incorrect, but Iraq is as bad as the AP says it is?

  39. Al, with as much restraint as I can manage, you’re f**king delusional when you say that

    bq. “Baghdad, and indeed the rest of Iraq, wasn’t a great place to live before the invasion. There was very limited freedom of the press and the elections were basically a comedy show. Anyone openly revolting against Hussein was likely to find themselves in a very dark place with no way out. On the positive side, women could drive cars (and vote), there was no Sharia law, and it was perfectly possible to walk the streets at night.”

    I’ve met and spoken with maybe a dozen Iraqis. I correspond with a couple dozen more. No, it wasn’t a nice place; if an officer decided he wanted your job, your house, your car, your wife or your daughter, he took them. If you were less than gracious in giving them up – and even if you were – you might wind up floating facedown in the Tigris, with your hands wired behind your back. If you were lucky.

    So please spare me the “life in Iraq was really OK except that the politics sucked” speechifying.

    I’ll omit the simple fact that Saddam intended to build his domestic and foreign power by being the best facilitator of antiWestern violence in the Middle East. He had (and has) lots of competiion there. So there’s a legitimate argument to make that invading Iraq wasn’t the best option in dealing with Saddam, but let’s make that argument based on something resembling reality, OK?

    A.L.

  40. The idea that Iraq is some immense public relations victory for Al Queda is equally unrealistic. For a small core, our presence in Iraq is an intolerable provocation but for an increasing number of people, the fact that the jihadist worldview is not a fun place to live in the middle of is starting to come to roost. In a lot of the middle east, Al Queda’s popularity has lost a lot of its shine – not merely Iraq but Jordan would be another example.

  41. 1st off, thanks to all bloggers ‘Liberal’ or ‘Conservative’ for exposing news media lies.
    Ok, Iraq is a mess..Doh!
    And sorry if this is a Rant. But this is a serious topic of discussion.

    But this has nothing to do with Iraq. This has to do with the bigger picture.
    Rathergate, Fauxography, Green Helmet Guy, ect
    By my count, the worlds largest news organizations have been caught flat out lying, or exhibiting gross incompetence at least 4 times this year alone. And it doesn’t matter where you are in the political spectrum. Wrong is wrong.
    Apparently this hasn’t sunk in for some people, and it sure hasn’t sunk in with the news editors.
    I prefer to read news blogs because they provide independent sources, links, ect. So that I can, for myself, determine the accuracy and raw details of the story.
    I read from several news blogs, from both sides since I assume Armed Liberal is…a Liberal ;) And even though these individuals are using ‘unnamed sources’, if several claim that, as I have read, that this Capitan or Sergeant either:
    Does not exist as stated or was misrepresented(Sergeant, not Capitan) or does exist as a Sergeant AND has a highly questionable background.
    And add to that, the fact that AP has not made even a ‘good faith’ attempt to prove the facts of their story.
    Well, then it gets dicey.
    One of the greatest protections of Freedom and Liberty is not only a Free Press, but a Honest Press. And now we have yet another example of one of the largest International news agencies is in, to say the least, a very questionable position.

    OpEds are one thing, most blog posts are similar. It is understood you are reading something with bias involved.
    But when you attempt to pass off something that is, apparently, unable to be independently confirmed, as ‘real news’ then we all have a problem.

    This is about our freedom of true information. And it doesn’t matter if that makes one side or the other look good or bad. I can decide that for myself.

  42. THE MSM HAS STOPPED RUNNING THIS STORY — THAT’S THE SMELL OF VICTORY
    –There is no better retraction than when the MSM suddenly STOP talking about Qana, Red Cross bus ambulance “bombings”, Isreali attacks on UNIFIL Burned Sunnis, etc.
    – That means you WON
    – I have never seen them openly and fully admit to any significant falsehood, no matter how egregious
    – They only retract typos, or small errors
    – EG, Waiting for the MSM retract their inverted reporting of the US victory in the Vietnam Tet offensive, which is still referred to as a failure by the MSM
    – (Tet 1968, was key, because the US and South Vietnam DESTROYED the Viet Cong, leaving the war to the invading regular North Vietnam army. Thereafter, there were NO significant populist socialist Vietnamese “resistence freedom fighters” left – only millions of Communist invaders, who died rapidly as the US and South Vietnamese killed them, winning every significant battle)
    – No one nailed the MSM hard enough, then or now, so they continue blithely falsifying Vietnam as a loss, with Tet as a “turning point”

  43. #48 from Armed Liberal at 1:34 am on Dec 20, 2006

    bq. I’ve met and spoken with maybe a dozen Iraqis. I correspond with a couple dozen more. No, it wasn’t a nice place; if an officer decided he wanted your job, your house, your car, your wife or your daughter, he took them. If you were less than gracious in giving them up – and even if you were – you might wind up floating facedown in the Tigris, with your hands wired behind your back. If you were lucky.

    bq. So please spare me the “life in Iraq was really OK except that the politics sucked” speechifying.

    But what Al said is the reality. If you were lucky enough to manage to stay out of the way of Saddam and his henchmen, life in Iraq was a lot more stable. He never claimed it was “ok.” He said women could drive cars and you could walk the streets at night, even in Baghdad and they can’t do that now. What you say is true but it wasn’t happening to hundreds of people a night, every night, now it is. If you talk to any of the Iraqis who have recently fled Iraq, they will tell you. That is the reason they fled.

  44. bq. The AP doesn’t do news gathering as a public service, they do it for profit. There’s no profit in spending more resources on this story.

    They only profit by continuiing to sell stories. They can only continue to sell stories if they have some degree of credibility. So, taking the long view, there’s definitely profit in establishing the facts here and owning up if they were fabricated, or coming up with confimed sources if they weren’t.

  45. bq. No one nailed the MSM hard enough, then or now, so they continue blithely falsifying Vietnam as a loss, with Tet as a “turning point”

    Except that the news organizations at the time _did_ tell us that Tet was a military loss by the Viet Cong. (I’m old enough to remember reading the reports at the time.) It was a political fake out that succeeded. And the MSM reported that at the time too.

  46. Gnorder,

    That wasn’t the case at all and you know it. Remeber the mass graves? Saddam filled them with Iraqis, hundreds of thousands of them. And would still be filling them today were he still in power.
    Arguing that really Iraq was a good place and really that Hussein wasn’t such a bad guy after all is just unconscionable. For that matter so is arguing against reporting the truth, which is what a number of people seem to be doing in regard to the Jamil Hussein reports.
    Look, if the warm happy place you hide in (where Saddam is a good man and those who oppose suicide bomber are evil personified and the mullahs are our best hope for world peace and George Bush and Dick Cheney are the spwan of the devil) makes you fell all tingly inside, fine. Don’t expect the rest of you to join you there.

  47. Let’s see. Saddam Hussein is a cuddly, grandfatherly sort of a fellow, fake but accurate is good, Iraq was just like LA except without the Oceans before those nasty Americans showed up and the Black Helicopters are hovering over Keith Olberman’s house. These seem to be the points that Andy X, Andrew Lazarus, Gnuorder and the rest have been making over the past couple of days.
    The really sad thing is they make more sense than Kathleen Carroll, Joseph Rago, Greg Mitchell and James Baker all put together. I’m beginning to wonder if brain tumors aren’t contagious, becuase it seems there has been a significant out break of them.
    Look, order plus facism, which is what you’re all misty eyed over gnuorder, isn’t such a wonderful thing, especially if you’re one of the half million people murdered to make the order happen.
    Of course chaos and representative democracy ain’t great either. What rational, moral people would be arguing about now is how to keep the democracy and end the chaos. Not pining for the monster that buried half a million innocents.

  48. Geez, I checked the link and googled this castanga guy. If he’s guilty (and it certainly looks like he is) he belongs in a jail cell for awhile, and needs to have some serious therapy.
    Of course none of that makes Saddam Hussein a sweetheart of a guy, nor does it mean we should be wistfully and fondly reminiscing about the days when Saddam Hussein was filling mass graves. Nor does it mean that anyone is flying black helicopters over Keith Olberman’s house, does it, Chris?

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