Tag Archives | Iraq

Factum Ut Faciat: The Conspiracy Theorist’s Fallacy

David Paxton (@canyouflybobby) writes at the Gerasites:

Writing refutations to the arguments of conspiracy theorists seems as difficult and brave as clubbing seals. But anyone who has ever publicly expressed even moderate support for military intervention has inevitably encountered various leaps of logic from the keyboards of conspiracy theorists.  Their personal imperviousness to sensible debate and their theory’s superbug-like inability to die off suggests there is something to be said for trying to understand their process, if it can be called such. Besides, I like clubbing seals.

Hanlon’s Razor:Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

This is advice conspiracy theorists simply cannot take.  Everything is deliberate.

Cui bono:“as a benefit to whom?”

This is the logic that says umbrella salesmen make the rain. A conspiracy theorist’s favourite.

Furtive fallacy:Significant facts of history are necessarily sinister

This is a form of paranoia, it’s not the acceptance of conspiracy theories as much as feeling the necessity for them to exist.

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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US Relaxing Standards for Killing Civilians in Iraq and Syria

By Marc Veraart via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Marc Veraart via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sarah Lazare writes at Common Dreams:

The Obama administration has admitted that it is relaxing its standards for avoiding civilian deaths when it comes to ongoing air bombardments on Iraq and Syria.

Yahoo News reported Tuesday that Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told the news outlet that a standard imposed last year by President Obama, which requires “near certainty” that civilians will not be harmed in drone strikes, does not apply to the expanding war on Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria.

Journalist Michael Isikoff reports:

The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden added that U.S.

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Just What We Need: Another War

Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war.

Again!

Enemies R ‘Us, and for a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a Jihadi fatigue had set in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America’s threat-defining and refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple, turned too complex to fuse into one soundbite.

Former Intelligence official Thomas Fingar, now of Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what US policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.

“When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero, “ he explained. “My first instruction was, “Reduce the number.”

He knew they needed only one bad-ass enemy to focus fears and attract appropriations to fight.… Read the rest

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Back In Iraq: We Only Want To Save You

USMC-04308Welcome back to Iraq—complete with our ever present WMD’s — Weapons of Mass deception.

Suddenly, the country we never wanted to have to think about again is back in the news and on our military agenda. So, after a few denials that troops would not, never, and no way be sent, sure ’nuff, U.S. boots are back on the ground, but to play a very different “mission.”

Of course, it’s not combat, assures Secretary of Defense Hagel who was wearing his tennis clothes when he met with GIs. That is, no doubt, why we are pounding that country with bombs again.

To signal that we are not back in the days of the war for Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon announced its latest humanitarian effort with a tweet, that, in the media world we are now part of, maybe the equivalent of a whimper not a neocon bark.

Once again, we are the good guys charging in to protect and defend, save and rescue.… Read the rest

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The Truth About Conspiracy Theories Is That Some Require Considering

Seal of the Islamic State in Iraq and the LevantAs an example of a conspiracy theory that he deems worthy of consideration, Patrick Cockburn writes at The Independent “For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war?”:

The Greeks tell a story against themselves about their tendency to believe in conspiracy theories. They relate how God decided that he would give every nation as a gift a special national characteristic. On the appointed day, representatives of the nations of the world entered the divine presence and were handed their gifts. The Americans received optimism, the French elegance, the British stoicism, the Russians courage, the Iranians cunning, and so on.

The Greek delegation was delayed and arrived late just as the other nations were leaving. God apologised and explained to them that he was sorry but he had already given away the most desirable characteristics and there were none left. The Greeks were enraged and protested furiously, shouting “so you too, God, have joined the plot against us as we always expected you would.

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Pity the Children

Photo by Matthew Freire

Photo by Matthew Freire

The horrors of war may affect children worst of all.

Chris Hedges writes at Truthdig:

Combat brings with it trauma for those who inflict the violence as well as those who suffer it. See a lot of combat and the trauma is severe. But the worst trauma is often caused not by what combat veterans witnessed but by what they did. The most disturbing memories usually involve children. War creates bands of ragged, poor, dirty street urchins. The bands wander about the edges of a conflict looking for something to eat. They pick through the garbage dumps. They line the sides of roads begging convoys for food or chocolate. They attempt to sell a few pathetic items to make money. In Iraq they offered American troops “freaky”—the slang for European porn videos—whiskey or heroin (Turner said he doubted there was heroin in the packets). The children lived in fear.

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Blackwater Threatened To Kill U.S. Government Overseer In Iraq

Blackwater report

State Department Documents on Blackwater Episode

It’s no secret that the mercenaries at Blackwater (since rebranded first as Xe, now Academi) were out of control and effectively above the law in Iraq, but today’s revelation in the New York Times that they went so far as to threaten to kill the US Government’s appointed overseer of their activities still comes as something of a shock:

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show.

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