The Epistemology of War

On February 5, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared at the United Nations with proof that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction.

This was later proven untrue.

On April 1, 2003, Jessica Lynch was said to be liberated from her Iraqi captors, in the first successful rescue of an American POW since World War II.

This was later proven to be a wholesale misrepresentation of events.

On April 9, 2003, a statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down in Baghdad’s Firdos Square, in what was presented as a popular celebration of his downfall.

This was later proven to be staged by Marines, with the assistance of an Army psyops team, for the benefit of news cameras in a nearby hotel.

On May 1, 2003, President George Bush traveled in a military flight suit to the USS Abraham Lincoln, to give a speech with a prominent “Mission Accomplished” banner behind him.

This was later proven to be completely staged by the White House. Eight years later, the mission remains unaccomplished.

There is certainly fair criticism to be made of the release and revision of subsidiary claims about Osama bin Laden’s assassination, especially when the release puts events in a better light — Osama used his wife as a human shield while shooting back! — than the revision. There are legitimate questions to be raised about how and why the release of information wholly controlled by the Obama Administration was so quickly contradicted by the revisions.

But unlike the iconic examples from the Bush Administration, none of the subsidiary revisions undermines the principal fact:

Osama bin Laden is dead.

P.S. Turns out now, those photos of Obama giving his ‘I caught Bin Laden’ speech were faked [Andrew Malcolm/LAT]

Reuters, AP photojournalists describe staging of Obama photo [Poynter]


Sadly, the wingnuts will use this to fuel the argument “They do it, too!!” equivalency.

One man failed because he (and his team) believe appearance of success was better than actual success which is not surprising when you look at W’s life. His one success (born into the Bush family) wasn’t really his.

Obama was pretty terrific on 60 Minutes last night. My God but he’s an impressive man.

@Benedick HRH KFC:
WORD. look for bill mahr’s new rules rant on him from last weekend.
he’s enamored too, made me want to stand up and salute.

(i would do it for you darling, but i’m still looking for copy/paste on the new machine. a toshiba. no mac for me, i’m waiting for fisher-price to come out with one)

@baked: A Toshiba. Very nice. They make good autos.

I think it makes a huge difference that the revisions to the story about the killing of Bin Ladin came within a couple of days of the incident. It seems teh administration was honestly trying to get revised facts out there as soon as they learned of them.

The Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman stories, OTOH were manufactured incidents that were pushed and covered up for weeks, or more.

Speaking of right-wing reactionaries revising history, I give you the amazing disappearing Secretary of State!

You’d think they could have just shooped in a burqa or something…

Combat operations exist in a chaotic environment and the first reports are usually muddled. Yeah, truth is often the first casualty, but in this case the Administration is trying to making things a little less dramatic (Bin Laden being unarmed at the time).

/TJ/ So the idea of public library is too radical for Fort Worth.

@al2o3cr: The best part is that Krugman and his “editors” used the Slate joke picture with the kitty photoshopped in.

@Mistress Cynica: Any minute now, NYT will correct the Slate photo with the real image in which POTUS is holding his Xbox controller.

@Mistress Cynica: @TJ/ Jamie Sommers /TJ: That wasn’t a slip-up on Krugman’s part — he not only ran the picture, but also linked to the Cats of War slideshow.

For the benefit of future historians, there’s also the Superhero Situation Room.

@nojo: thanks for the link@mellbell: thanks for the link@al2o3cr: thanks for the link

G’morning, everyone.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment