Friday, June 09, 2006

Post Calls Military Documents 'Critics'

From today's Washington Post article After Zarqawi, No Clear Path in Weary Iraq by Ellen Knickmeyer:

Critics of the U.S. military's campaign in Iraq have accused American commanders of making their own use of Zarqawi, exaggerating the foreigner's importance to suggest that the insurgency has been thrust upon Iraqi Sunnis more than it has been led by them.

If Blogger hadn't been down all last night I would have blogged about how strange that paragraph is since it wasn't "critics" that made that claim, but instead internal military documents and military intelligence officials as reported by - ummmmmm - The Washington Post in April.

From Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi by Thomas E. Ricks:

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

The thing that struck me oddest last night was that Ricks was also credited in today's Post article as a contributing reporter but since I couldn't blog I figured I'd dig more instead.

A source at the Post told me that it was a mistake by the Baghdad bureau who "phrased it awkwardly." Meaning that the latest Post article wasn't meant to suggest that Ricks' prior scoop was being reconsidered (not sure if a correction will be added but it's possible).

Hopefully, Ricks will follow-up that intriguing article he wrote back in April real soon (and he might want to start right here for a look at the most ridiculous story yet about the man who once had one leg. Note to Psy-Ops: It's best not to rewrite your endings after everyone's already seen how it supposedly ended in the first place.).

Postscript (or about 'the man who once had one leg' crack)

Although it was still being reported in some media outlets that Zarqawi had a leg amputated in a Baghdad hospital after a US attack in Afghanistan in 2002, a number of journalists reported a while back that this turned out to not be true. The Washington Post's mighty Walter Pincus was one such reporter who wrote that it was a false account.

As Pincus wrote in 2004:

In 2002, Bush administration officials said, Zarqawi went to Baghdad to have one leg amputated after having been wounded by a U.S. bombing attack. That account has turned out to be wrong, according to U.S. intelligence officials who have interrogated Zarqawi associates.

"It was for another ailment, but not his leg," one intelligence official said yesterday. "We are still learning about him," this official added.

Bush alluded to the hospitalization in an October 7 2002 speech just before Congress voted on the Iraq resolution:

Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.

It sure would be nice to find out where exactly this misinformation came from in the first place.


The Washington Post has a strong article in Saturday's edition, Zarqawi Helped U.S. Argument That Al-Qaeda Network Was in Iraq by Karen DeYoung and Pincus:

From the moment President Bush introduced him to the American people in October 2002, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi served a crucial purpose for the administration, providing a tangible focus for its insistence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


In addition to his indisputably prominent role in the Iraqi insurgency, Zarqawi was always a useful source of propaganda for the administration. Magnification of his role and of the threat he posed grew to the point that some senior intelligence officers believed it was counterproductive.


But the U.S. psychological operation appeared to backfire, according to one military study of how it played in the Arab and American media. While some media outlets found Zarqawi ludicrous, most wondered why he was so hard to capture or kill if he was so incompetent.

Unfortunately, that story is on Page A15 while the cover story for Saturday's Post is.....ummm....more psyopsy: Death Could Shake Al-Qaeda In Iraq and Around the World by Craig Whitlock.

(Note: Here is the part of the blog post where I normally quote the best parts of the article linked...but in this case there are no best parts...since this worthless page one article adds nothing new in content - not even new or noteworthy propaganda - and it science-fictionally completely over-inflates the role of Qaeda operatives and jihadists in Iraq's insurgency. This ridiculous garbage is on the cover of the Post instead of Pincus' latest bit of magic. Unbelievable. Un-fucking-believable. How can a newspaper put such a story on its front cover based on soundbites from analysts and 'experts' when fifteen pages later an article co-written by one of the world's greatest journalists basically rips its central thesis to shreds!)

Will anyone in Vegas notice?


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