Friday, June 16, 2006

"More matter, with less art"

The liberal blogosphere is replete with hyperbole and indefensible spin, just like Fox News. Notice this garbage from Abu Aardvark:
Let's just say that were I a strategist for a military which had just killed an insurgency leader such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and seized a bunch of documents full of actionable intelligence, I might not choose to, you know, release them to the media. On the other hand, had I just killed an insurgency leader such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and I wanted to follow up on that operational success by sowing confusion and disarray among his followers (and maybe even scoring some points with the domestic public opinion which my Secretary of Defense has identified as a principle theater of conflict), I might very well release a bunch of "documents" showing that the recently deceased was highly pessimistic about his prospects and that his movement was on the run.


Oh, enough delicacy. These documents seem like a fairly obvious bit of strategic communication, psy-ops, whatever you want to call it. Nothing wrong with that as a way of pressing a temporary advantage against the jihadi wing of the insurgency, spreading confusion, that sort of thing - kind of a textbook move, even. Just as long as nobody serious is silly enough to actually believe any of it. Wouldn't want blowback now, would we?
These are doubts derived from an already suspicious blogger and based entirely on a hypothetical line of reasoning -- the blogger as strategist in the military. It is not worth the kilobytes it's printed on.

Let me posit a little "fairly obvious" psychoanlysis of this blogger -- I am well aware of the irony, it's actually my point: this blogger does not want to believe that the U.S. military has scored some major points late in the game on Al Qaeda in Iraq, and he'll try his damndest to paint these points in their most dubious light. He did so, in fact, with little to no evidence but his own suspicions.

Kevin Drum liked what he saw.

Abu has since updated with these two paragaphs from a Washington Post story:
Also Thursday, the Iraqi government released a document it said was found before Zarqawi's death during a raid on an insurgent safe house. The document, which described the insurgency as "gloomy" because of gains by Iraq's security forces, called on insurgents to foment strife among Shiites and between the United States and Iran.

The authenticity of the document, which closely echoes accounts of insurgent strategy offered by Iraq's Shiite political leaders, could not be independently verified. It was written in a style different from typical statements issued by al-Qaeda in Iraq, which refer to Shiites as "rejectionists" or "dogs" and to U.S. forces as "crusaders."
Zarqawi was, more or less, illiterate in addition to being a savage. A U.S.-Iran war seems to be a massive undertaking for a group of 1,000 (so we are told) insurgents, and a substantial departure from their policy of attacking Iraqi Shiite shrines. None of these more careful and subtle points are raised, however, it's all Psy Ops and Conspiracy! Shadow lurking!

How exciting.

Juan Cole has a very different notion from this find of the savage's documents:
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was hoping to provoke a US-Iran war as a way of bogging the Americans down further and defeating them in Iraq.

Remember all those times Bush, Rice and Rumsfeld came out and said they suspected that Shiite Iran was somehow aiding the Sunni Arab insurgency? You remember how baffled I was at this bizarre allegation? You wonder whether they were being fed disinformation by a Zarqawi agent, and falling for it.
Why does this really bother me? Because in the leap to peg this on some Psy Ops operation, Abu Aardvark claims that they are not to be believed by well informed people, belittling the troops he no doubt claims to support when it is expedient to his agenda. That is the link in kind between Fox News and elements of the liberal blogosphere. Kool Aid abounds.


Blogger blueenclave said...

Emptywheel of The Next Hurrah is also suspicious of the documents.

12:44 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Thanks. I don't have an issue with suspicion, or perhaps cautious skepticism. I do have a problem with wildly speculative thought experiments claiming to be thoughtful and informed analysis.

1:24 PM  

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