Friday, January 03, 2014

Oh, look, it's al Qaeda! Oh, no, it's not! It's sometimes al Qaeda!

Did Thursday not happen?

Did the State Dept's Marie Harf not declare, "I think it’s not as simple as saying al-Qaida. Each of these groups is a little bit different, and that’s important because when you’re trying to figure out how to combat them and fight them, it actually matters who they take guidance from and who’s giving them orders and who’s planning these attacks."

Did David Kirkpatrick's media blitz for a bad article he says he completed in June (it's been rewritten since but he can't even get honest about that) that was only published Sunday not include Kirkpatrick insisting you couldn't call  Ansar Qaeda or even al Qaeda-linked or al Qaeda-affiliated?

Yasir Ghazi and Tim Arango (New York Times) declare, "Days of fighting between black-clad Qaeda militants and Iraq’s security forces took a short-lived respite [. . .]"  Ashley Fantz, Salma Abdelaziz and Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) open with, "Now that al Qaeda seems to be emboldened by days of fighting between Sunni militants and the Shiite-led government of Iraq, some Sunni tribal leaders brokered a deal late Thursday to fight alongside Iraqi forces against the terror group."  Liz Sly (Washington Post) goes with, "A rejuvenated al-Qaeda force asserted control over the western Iraqi town of Fallujah on Friday, raising its flag over government buildings and declaring an Islamic state in one of the most crucial areas that U.S. troops fought to pacify before withdrawing from Iraq two years ago."

The most embarrassing of the above is Ghazi and Arango (who are being rewritten by Michael Gordon) and that's because the awful article by Kirkpatrick says you can't call al Qaeda-linked or al-Qaeda-affiliated organizations "al Qaeda."

I actually agree with that.  And have made that argument here for over three years.  Yet until Marie Harf began making her public remarks this week, that was not the position of the executive branch.

Currently, the New York Times is pimping that awful Kirkpatrick article and saying al Qaeda wasn't involved in the Benghazi attack.  They can only do that, as Kirkpatrick admits in media interviews, by drawing a line between al Qaeda -- the network run by Osama bin Laden or said to have been which is thought to have attacked the US on 9-11 (bin Laden and the FBI's classification of him do require a "said to have been') -- and start-ups linked to or affiliated -- in deed, planning or just general ideology.

The New York Times cannot have it both ways.

It can't make that claim for Benghazi and then go back to the way they've always done it.

The Washington Post and CNN can do it without hypocrisy.

I disagree with their classification and am at odds with it.

But they're being consistent in their usage -- or I'd say their misusage.

The New York Times is not.

We can't have an intelligent discussion on this topic because most people don't pay attention to Iraq and, even when a few more did, they didn't grasp the misreporting.

The term was al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and it morphed into al Qaeda in Iraq.

Neither's really accurate.

They also pimp lies which is why anyone opposed to the Iraq War -- even just under Bully Boy Bush -- especially under him -- should call out the press.

It is 2014.  Readers of the paper and viewers of TV are being told al Qaeda's taking back Iraq or whatever.


That's a lie and it's a harmful one.

Bully Boy Bush sold the illegal war on the false claim that Iraq was behind the 9-11 attacks.  al Qaeda was not in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were at cross purposes.

If you can grasp that, you should be able to grasp two more things.

Today's headlines erode the truth and allow Bully Boy Bush to be (falsely) seen as a truth teller.

The second thing you should grasp is who's physically fighting Nouri's illegal government.

Is it Shi'ites who were crippled under Saddam?


Is it Kurds?


It's Sunnis.

It's the followers of Saddam Hussein.

If it was possible for these Sunni fighters (a subgroup of the larger Iraqi Sunni population) to truly get in bed with al Qaeda (which is still rooted in and active in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- neither of which share a border with Iraq), would they?

Not judging by their beliefs, certainly not judging by remarks in Arabic social media Sunday and Monday (Monday was the anniversary of the execution of Hussein).

The New York Times especially has problems covering the rebels, the militants, the fighters, the insurgents and the terrorists.  For the paper, they're all one and the same.  That could have been different if Dexy Filkins hadn't been such a whore to the military officers and a stern look, when he declared he was interviewing the 'insurgents,' hadn't led him to immediately cancel the interview.

There has been Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, for example.  This was al-Zarqawi's group, remember?  Maybe you don't remember him because it's so many years ago and/or you were very young then.  Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was the US bogey man.  Bully Boy Bush and others were forever announcing they had just killed him. Repeatedly announcing that.  Finally, in June 2006, he was killed.

Then the press focused on Iraq's Mujahideen Shura Council and the Islamic State of Iraq.  At that point, the press was still calling it al Qaeda in Iraq or al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

Which was always imprecise.  These were local groups sometimes augmented with fighters (the press and Nouri today love to glom on Saudi Arabia but, in real time, when arrests were announced of foreign fighters, they were just as likely to be from Lebanon).

I disagree with the classification being used by the Post, CNN and many others.  My basic argument against it would be that it's overly simplistic, it leads to misunderstandings (including people to believe Bully Boy Bush was right re: Iraq and 9-11) and if these groups really are threats then misinformation or imprecise information helps no one.

But with the Times, it's more than that.  They want to argue my position when it comes to Benghazi, but they want to ignore that position when it comes to Iraq.  It's more than the paper being inconsistent, it's also the paper lying.

The e-mail address for this site is

the new york times

the washington post
liz sly

iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq iraq