June 25, 2007

Damn the Reality, Full Meme Ahead!

Undaunted by the facts, Glenn Greenwald attempts to shore up his demonstrably false claim that, "...the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as 'Al Qaeda.'" with an update to his already debunked post:

Posts from other bloggers who previously noticed this same trend demonstrate how calculated it is and pinpoint its obvious genesis. At Kos, BarbInMD noted back in May that Bush's rhetoric on Iraq had palpably shifted, as he began declaring that "Al-Qaida is public enemy No. 1 in Iraq." The same day, she noted that Bush "mentioned Al-Qaida no less than 27 times" in his Iraq speech. As always, a theme travels unmolested from Bush's mouth into the unexamined premises of our newspapers' front pages.

Separately, Ghillie notes in comments that the very politically cognizant Gen. Petraeus has been quite noticeably emphasizing "the battle against Al Qaeda" in interviews for months. And yesterday, ProfMarcus analyzed the top Reuters article concerning American action in Iraq -- headline: "Al Qaeda fight to death in Iraq bastion: U.S" -- and noted that "al qaeda is mentioned 13 times in a 614 word story" and that "reading the article, you would think that al qaeda is not only everywhere in iraq but is also behind all the insurgent activity that's going on."

Interestingly, in addition to the one quoted above, there is another long article in the Post today, this one by the reliable Thomas Ricks, which extensively analyzes the objectives and shortcomings in our current military strategy. Ricks himself strategy never once mentions Al Qaeda.

Finally, the lead story of the NYT today -- in its first two paragraphs -- quotes Gen. Odierno as claiming that the 2004 battle of Falluja was aimed at capturing "top Qaeda leaders in the city." But Michael Gordon himself, back in 2004, published a lengthy and detailed article about the Falluja situation and never once mentioned or even alluded to "Al Qaeda," writing only about the Iraqi Sunni insurgents in that city who were hostile to our occupation (h/t John Manning). The propagandistic transformation of "insurgents" into "Al Qaeda," then, applies not only to our current predicament but also to past battles as well, as a tool of rank revisionism (hence, it is now officially "The Glorious 2004 Battle against Al-Qaeda in Falluja").

You'll note that Greenwald's supporting "evidence" for his comes in the form of links to liberal blogs, letters to, selected articles from the Washington Post, and the New York Times, and yet, he completely fails to address the fact that Multi-National Corps-Iraq's own press releases debunk his claims on a daily basis.

Sadly, like a dog returning to re-ingest its own vomit, Greenwald cannot get enough of his own rotting bile. Greenwald continues to insist that there is a conspiracy by the government, the world media, and the U.S. military to turn all enemy forces in Iraq into al Qaeda, and stands by his claim that:

...every time one of the top military commanders describes our latest operations or quantifies how many we killed, the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as "Al Qaeda."

Again, this daft claim is hardly supported by the facts, and is easily refuted by the military's own primary means of information dissemination about the War in Iraq, the MNF-I PAO press release system.

Today, Monday, June 25, MNF-I has 13 listed press releases. Of those, one is a duplicate post, while the remaining 12 press releases break down enemy activity in Iraq for the day as follows:

  • four releases discussing Sunni insurgent activity;
  • one release discussing Shia militia "Secret Cells;"
  • four where a specific group enemy group is not named;
  • ...and only two where Al Qaeda is mentioned.

Far from making the enemy "almost exclusively" al Qaeda, MNF-I PAO's releases for the day link less than 17% of their stories to al Qaeda activity.

Greenwald ignores the key source that would prove or disprove his "all of our enemy's are being labelled al Qaeda" meme, which are the archives of press releases, of press briefings, Pentagon briefings, daily news, and feature stories from the U.S. military, which make it clear that al Qaeda is not the only extremist group being fought by Coalition and Iraqi forces in Iraq.

Instead, he bumbles forward, doggedly bucking reality, insisting upon some grand conspiracy being orchestrated by the White House, international news services, the American press, and the United States military to repaint all extremist activity in Iraq as being orchestrated by al Qaeda.

As the links above clearly show, Multi-National Corps-Iraq is failing to uphold their end of this alleged conspiracy by consistently citing other extremists groups in their daily press releases and news stories.

Whoever is in charge of this grand conspiracy (perhaps the Freemasons? Maybe the Illuminati? Yale's secretive Skull & Bones Society? Boy Scout Troop 111 in Arlington, Virginia?) should also castigate the media, as they are failing to insist that everything in Iraq is "all al Qaeda, all the time," including this story in the Boston Globe where a suicide bomber targeting Sunni tribal sheiks aligned against al Qaeda was the perfect opportunity to flog this claim, if such a conspiracy was indeed "on." Sadly, the media is failing to uphold their end of the bargain.

Glenn Greenwald seems doggedly intent on descending into his own brand of "trutherism" regarding a grand government, media and military conspiracy to re-brand the Iraq War.

In doing so, he may finally get the notoriety he so desperately craves, if not for the reasons he'd hoped.

Update: I hardly find it surprising that the empty heads at Editor & Publisher lap up Greenwald's bile, with nary a thought to whether or not it's true.

Considering that E&P editor Greg Mitchell has his own track record of manufacturing news and indeed, wrote a post advocating that the media should attempt to undermine the Presidency, I'm not exactly shocked they'd grasp at any straw they could to support their nakedly partisan political objectives.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 25, 2007 08:36 AM

Wait a minute. I thought Greenwald said establishment media types are acting as stenographers, repeating the propaganda about the unitary enenmy Bush has dictated our military use. Obviously there has been a breakdown in communication somewhere along the way. Where could it be?

My vote based on past experience is on Glenn's side, because the meme is a fabricated device to cast doubt once again on the honesty of the administration and our activities in Iraq. That is one meme on which Glenn has been 100% consistent, truth be damned.

Posted by: daleyrocks at June 25, 2007 11:03 AM

How exactly are you refuting what Greenwald says?

Both you and Greenwald are saying the same thing: that much of the MSM reporting about the presence of al Qaeda is contrary to fact.

P.S. Hate to state the obvious, but most people don't get their information from MNF press releases; they get it from the mainstream media. And that should concern your readers.

Posted by: K Ashford at June 25, 2007 01:06 PM

Clearly the toughest insurgency to defeat is the deaf, dumb, and blind, liberal media. If anyone can crack them (besides Chuck Norris), Gen. Petraeus can, while they're kicking and screaming like babies if he has to.

Posted by: Bacchus at June 25, 2007 01:16 PM

K Ashford: They are most certainly not saying the same thing. Glenn Grenwald claims that the enemy in Iraq is almost exclusively referred to as Al Queda. Confederate Yankee notes first that Al Queda is indeed in Iraq and is subject to understandable special interest when planning and conducting military operations, and secondly the the claim by Glenn Grenwald does not reflect the reality in the reporting from either the military or the press agencies when you actually examine the data. In fact, Al Queda is explicitly referenced not exclusively, but only a fraction of the time. What fraction of the time Greenwald has not attempted to quantify, but Confederate Yankee has.

In fact, Glenn Grenwald's claim contridicts itself when he references the many press reports which do not even mention Al Queda. In doing so and by claiming that those that don't mention Al Queda are reliable but those that do are not, Grenwald reveals his real agenda which is that he does not believe Al Queda should be mentioned at all. In other words, even though anti-Al Queda operations are underway, and even though these operations consitute only a fraction of the reporting, he believes that any such reporting (even just 17%) is too much because such reporting, although factual, reveals too much that is contrary to Mr. Grenwald's agend.

And further, it's ridiculous to claim that Reuters or the AP is somehow pro-Bush and is going along with some conspiracy to misname Iraqi insurgent groups Al Queda. The truth is simple. Al Queda is in Iraq. They are a target of special interest, and they are behind much of the most spectacular multi-casualty attacks on Iraqi civilians that do make the headlines (and are intended to do so). Thus, at least some of the time, a press release or news report will mention Al Queda in conjunction with these attacks or in conjunction with operations against them. That there are other insurgent groups that are not Al Queda is a fact which demonstratably remains both in the militaries press releases and in the popular press.

Posted by: celebrim at June 25, 2007 01:26 PM

I thought it might be good to remind people again of Joshua Micah Marshall's flack work on behalf of Ken Pollack back in 2002, *before* 1) Marshall had been advised that Clinton's Iraq policy was correct if handled by Gore, evil if executed by Bush, and, 2) Pollack got so scared that he wouldn't be able to get a job in the Kerry administration that he started trying to pretend he had *not* written "The Gathering Storm". His book on why it was necessary to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam was reviewed by Marshall for Washington Monthly. The laudatory review is here:

This is actually one of the better flip-flops I have seen. Imagine having a principled stalwart like Pollack (his Iraq convictions lasted for about a year after his book) running US foreign policy.

Of course, both men were right back then. But that was before the puppetmasters had inflicted them with amnesia.

Posted by: Kurmudge at June 25, 2007 01:29 PM


This one of the sorriest post I've seen on this blog to date. Greenwald is simply pointing out the obvious to anyone that's been paying attention to the news lately, there has been a perceptible shift in attribution to al Queda. You want me to source that? Turn on your TeeVee for a half an hour. At any rate, K Ashfords right.

...and I wouldn't be bagging on Greg Mitchell with a track record of your own that far exceeds his supposed transgressions.

Posted by: Frederick at June 25, 2007 01:38 PM

K Ashford said: "Both you and Greenwald are saying the same thing..."

Greenwald is clearly trying to place the misnomers at the feet of the US Military Command (see previous Confederate Yankee post and the Bush Administration, while Confederate Yankee is placing it at the feet of the largely misinformed and unreading public, the MSM, and GREENWALD himself.

If Greenwald is going to blame the US Command, he needs to CITE THE US COMMAND, which is exactly what Yankee is doing here. Sorry K, but you missed your mark and missed it big.

Posted by: REN at June 25, 2007 01:39 PM

More entertainingly, our favorite piece of talking footwear has chosen a rather poor example to defend his claim by mentioning Fallujah, a place that actually was crawling with Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda linked fighters. All the forces there were not members, but almost all were allied with and dominated by Al Qaeda at the time.

Perversely, the disconnect between the various Sunni groups and Al Qaeda should be looked on as a favorable sign by the Sock Puppet, since the widening split that has developed has been an important goal, and a key behind the turnaround in Anbar (where Fallujah lies.) If Al Qaeda is not such a large problem, one might ask oneself why when the local Sheiks turned against them the province showed such dramatic progress? All of which Mr. Greenwald cannot get himself to admit, because the mess that Iraq is does not suffice for his purposes, there can be no positives, nothing but unrelieved gloom and evil conspiracies.

Posted by: Lance at June 25, 2007 01:48 PM

I see Gleen the All-Knowing Sock-Puppeteer is embarassing himself again.

How would a patriot support the troops in time of war? By calling them lying shills for the administration in total contradiction of the facts, apparently. Hey, anything to advance the partisan cause! In the mind of Greenwald and his fans (real and imaginary), the only real war is the one against Bush.

What a traitorous, moronic douchebag of a hack. There's a special circle of Hell awaiting this guy.

Posted by: TallDave at June 25, 2007 01:59 PM

I see Gleen the All-Knowing Sock-Puppeteer is embarassing himself again.

How would a patriot support the troops in time of war? By calling them lying shills for the administration in total contradiction of the facts, apparently. Hey, anything to advance the partisan cause! In the mind of Greenwald and his fans (real and imaginary), the only real war is the one against Bush.

What a traitorous, moronic douchebag of a hack. There's a special circle of Hell awaiting this guy.

Posted by: TallDave at June 25, 2007 02:01 PM

Freemasons? S & B? No, CY, it's clear that the liars of the Left are trying to immanentize the aeschaton.

Posted by: Mike at June 25, 2007 06:18 PM

sorry, but you have your facts wrong.

among 21 press releases on the 25th, there are

al-qaeda........ 7
terrorists...... 5
IED cell........ 2
insurgents...... 5
(nothing)....... 2§ionid=1&id=4&Itemid=21

Posted by: sod at June 26, 2007 08:24 AM

sod, at the time I posted, those numbers were 100% accurate. That does not mean I was wrong, that means they added nine more releases after I posted.

Still, for giggles, let's use your numbers (which I can't verify right now; their site is screwy at the moment).

If MNF-I did mention seven contacts with al Qaeda out of 21 stories, that means that on this particular day, then they said that a whopping third of enemy actions where attributed to al Qaeda, and this during a series of operations targetting al Qaeda.

Glenn Ryan Wilson Thomas Ellers Rick Ellensburg Greenwald's claim that the military is referring to all attacks in Iraq as "almost exclusively now" coming from al Qaeda is still handily debunked, no matter how you slice it.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at June 26, 2007 08:47 AM

our numbers don t add up. you had 12, i had 21. the difference is only 9, but i added 5 al-qaeda and 5 EXTRA "terrorist" reports.

a few of the reports simply mention events, that can t be blamed on al-qaeda, so they aren t. you d need to disregard those from the total number.

and this during a series of operations targetting al Qaeda.
and this is the real problem. why do you think this operation is targeting al-qaeda alone? no baathists? no angry sunnis? no shii death sqaud in that region?

you re making exactly that wrong claim, the "left " are talking about!

my feeling is, that these press reports are more acurate than talking points of politicians and commanders.
but even they call it al-qaeda, if a neighbor said it was al-qaeda. and terrorists, if a civilian got hurt.
that leaves a stray shot in sunni/shiite heartland for "insurgent activity".

Posted by: sod at June 26, 2007 04:33 PM