Jun 16 2006
04:30 am

Has anyone else had a Church Lady Moment with the relevation of the Zarqawi "treasure trove" of intelligence? It may be the Reynolds Wrap sombrero talking, but I find it a little too... conveeeenient. The usual suspects are swallowing the story whole hog, of course.

Consider if you will: 

  • The Iraqi PM claimed the terrorist mastermind was carrying around existentialist, self-loathing doubts about the future of al-Q on a flash drive in his pants [along with his Morrissey mp3s?]. US officials, meanwhile, said the documents (which miraculously hit on all the right Bushie talking points) were found three weeks earlier; they later claimed copies of same the documents were found at both times and locations. 
  • The military apparently conducted a boatload of operations within hours after Zaraqwi was zapped, based on intelligence from his safehouse. Stratfor doesn't think this makes sense, and speculates that some sort of quid pro quo was struck with Sunni insurgent chiefs.
  • The Bushies announced another bug-eyed boogeyman is ready to fill in; in desperation said boogeyman reportedly makes threats against indigenous Sunni insurgents. Thereby leveraging xenophobia. Or something.
  • The GOP just happened to be ready with a full week of "We're winning and Dems are weenies" PR gimmicks, from Flyboy's midnight flight to the sham Congressional debate.

 Update: The experts actually agree with my half-assed assessment. I must have the sombrero dialed in to the right wavelength.

I suppose it's a good thing the Bushies are at least making some sort of effort in shaking up the status quo, even if it's mostly appearances (it'd be nice if some small fraction of the effort went toward actual policy and diplomacy, but we'll take what we can get). It's certainly worth enduring the cries of glibertarian glee if it brings us a few baby steps closer to ending this sorry saga. Peace with honor and all that. 

But I can't shake the feeling that we've been down this road before... repeatedly. Psy-ops is no substitute for strategy, and bullshit tends to produce blowback... it enables the true believers to pursue their delusional and agendas unfettered by, you know, reality:

The centerpiece of the Reagan administration's campaign to prove the international- conspiracy nature of the revolution in E1 Salvador was its White Paper issued a month after taking office [Feb. 1981] and based largely on purported "captured guerrilla documents", some of which were included in the report. Amongst the various analyses of the White Paper which cast grave doubts upon its claims was the one in the Wall Street Journal by Jonathan Kwitny. This included an interview with a State Department official, Jon D. Glassman, who was given the major credit for the White Paper. Admitted Mr Glassman: parts of the paper were possibly "misleading" and "over-embellished" ... it contained "mistakes" and "guessing''. Said the Wall Street Journal: "A close examination ... indicates that, if anything, Mr. Glassman may be understating the case in his concession that the White Paper contains mistakes and guessing..."

...It was not merely the accuracy of the White Paper that was questioned, but the authenticity of the documents themselves. Apropos of this, former US Ambassador to El Salvador, Robert White (sacked by Reagan because of excessive commitment to human rights and reforms), commented: "The only thing that even makes me think that these documents were genuine was that they proved so little."


[W]hatever military support the Salvadorean insurgents actually received from abroad--necessarily limited to what could be carried by the occasional clandestine small truck or boat--plainly did not belong in the same league, nor on the same planet, as the huge transport-planefuls and shipfuls of American aid, in all its forms, to the Salvadorean government.

On 28 January 1982, President Reagan certified to Congress that the El Salvador government was "making a concerted and significant effort to comply with internationally recognized human rights" and that it was "achieving substantial control over all elements of its own armed forces, so as to bring to an end the indiscriminate torture and murder of Salvadorean citizens by these forces." The language was that imposed by Congress upon the administration if the flow of arms and American military personnel was to continue.

Two days earlier, the American and foreign press had carried the story of how government troops had engaged in a massacre of the people of the village of El Mozote in December. From 700 to 1,000 persons were reported killed, mostly the elderly, women and children...

...[For years] the United States waged ruthless war against the Salvadorean revolution, [ginned up the Iran-Contra mess] and threatened worse. In April 1991, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, announced that "if necessary, [the civil war in El Salvador] can be resolved the way it was in the Persian Gulf."

In early 1992, the war came to an official end when a United Nations commission, after a year-and-a-half effort, finally got the warring sides to agree to a cease fire and a peace agreement.



Sven's picture

Oh, and

I think the bizarre congressional panegyric to amnesty for insurgents - in which ultranationalist GOoPers compared Baathist roadside bombers to the African National Congress - supports STRAFOR's theory that some sort of deal was struck with the Sunnis. But that didn't stop the brave Republican patriots from accusing the Donkeys of wanting to surrender to those same terrorists.

Update: Lamar! ""Is it not true that Nelson Mandela's courage and his ability to create a process of reconciliation and forgiveness was a major factor in what has been a political miracle in Africa...Did not Nelson Mandela, win a - the co-winner of - a noble Nobel Peace Prize just for this sort of gesture?"

It's a brave new world. If you want to get ahead, you'd better learn to live with cognitive dissonance. One of my co-workers is able to simultaneously laugh hysterically at the infamous Zarqawi "My Adidas" clown video yet contend that the illiterate thug is a brilliant Dr. Evil capable of creating a business plan for drawing the US into war with Iran (which, by the way, my coworker thinks is a good idea).

Emmanuel Goldstein, call your office. 


R. Neal's picture

The Mrs. and I were having

The Mrs. and I were having the Church Lady discussion just last night. Nice roundup.

Sven's picture

Are people really this

Are people really this easy?  And wretched?

Quite right - if it’s not apparent by now, I’ve got a second wind on Iraq; and I’m not the only one. The feeling of a renewed determination is palpable.  Let the 2006 election be held on Iraq; we’ll prevail in the less important election, and we’ll prevail in the far more important war.The only country that can defeat the United States is the United States.  If we keep our head in the game, the outcome is a foregone conclusion…

So that's all it takes, huh? A few plastic beads, some good ol' Texas smooth talk and its Goils Gone Wild. Free ride! Take it easy! Matthew Lesko '08!

And second wind?  How about third tour of duty, you dumb SOB. My God.


Joe P.'s picture

Good roundup!

Invoking the Reaganesque model seems appropriate since he helped create the modern PR Machine still percolating along at a steady clip - if only the strategy and determination applied to The Good News were actually applied to military goals ... whoa, stepped right in it, almost!

Sadly, too many people don't give a rusty rat's tail what is true and what is pretension, which provides ample hunger for what the PR Machine produces. I was happy to see Duncan, Tanner and Ford all vote against the recent Feel Good About The War resolution.

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