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Saturday, August 19, 2006

More Weirdness from Thomas Ricks 
Reporters, as a rule, are best when they don't speculate about what things "suggest." Especially when they've got a shaky grasp of linear logic. Case in point, Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post


The Marine officer who commanded the battalion involved in the Haditha killings last November did not consider the deaths of 24 Iraqis, many of them women and children, unusual and did not initiate an inquiry, according to a sworn statement he gave to military investigators in March.

"I thought it was very sad, very unfortunate, but at the time, I did not suspect any wrongdoing from my Marines," Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Marines, said in the statement.

"I did not have any reason to believe that this was anything other than combat action," he added.

Chessani's statement, provided to The Washington Post by a person sympathetic to the enlisted Marines involved in the case, helps explain why there was no investigation of the incident at the time, despite the large number of civilian deaths, and why it took several months for the U.S. military chain of command to react to the event.

It also provides a glimpse of the mind-set of a commander on the scene who, despite the carnage, did not stop to consider whether Marines had crossed a line and killed defenseless civilians.

It suggests that top U.S. commanders have been unsuccessful in urging subordinate leaders to focus less on killing insurgents and more on winning the support of the Iraqi people, especially by providing them security.


Bullshit. It suggests nothing of the sort.

Ricks is trying to draw broad conclusions from a single incident. He is arguing from a limited specific to the general. Sloppy logic. Irresponsible journalism.

More on Ricks here.



I'm all for reporters writing expository books. It's good for them to illuminate their own views so the rest of us can better evaluate their reporting. And there's no reason a reporter with strong views cannot be fair in his or her presentation of the story.

But really, if Ricks can't tell the story straight without projecting, he ought to be taken off the beat.

Comments:
Thomas Ricks is obviously a practitioner of agenda-driven reporting. And this story is yet another example of a “straight” news story playing into the notion that Iraq is Vietnam (and that Vietnam was all about My Lai).

Incidentally, the WOPO article states that Lt. Col. Chessani’s statement was “provided to The Washington Post by a person sympathetic to the enlisted Marines involved in the case.” This should underscore the need to identify reporters like Ricks and then do everything possible to avoid them.
 
You missed this, Jason.

"It also provides a glimpse of the mind-set of a commander on the scene who, despite the carnage, did not stop to consider whether Marines had crossed a line and killed defenseless civilians."

No, it provides a glimpse into the idiots that think you can fight a COIN war (much less a "regular" war) without ever killing civilians.

Idiots.
 
"It suggests that top U.S. commanders have been unsuccessful in urging subordinate leaders to focus less on killing insurgents and more on winning the support of the Iraqi people, especially by providing them security."

However, it might suggest they have been more successful in training their troops to defend themselves BY killing insurgents than in training their troops to recognize that lying is the national pasttime of the Arab, especially when it suits him. If one is to believe everything the locals tell them, well then the insurgents all died long ago and it is our imagination that IEDs are going off among us.

Ricks is a liar. The people he seeks out for his sources are liars. And the majority of the Iraqis are liars who can only say what will preserve their own lives, since they care not for the lives of Americans.

I don't doubt they are good people at times. I just doubt they would tell the Truth to Marines before they would lie about the actions of their husbands, sons, and fathers, and then lie about what actually happened to their own dead later.

Sorry if I seem to disbelieve anything Iraqis say, but when your survival depends on parroting the Islamic party line that Jews are responsible for all the evil in the Muslim world, America is controlled by the Jews, or vice versa, and that only Muslims deserve to live in peace, then I should be forgiven for believing they all have greater reason to lie to us than to tell us the Truth.

Subsunk
 
Why of course! All those people at Haditha killed themselves, the lyin' bastards! Oh, they didn't kill themselves? Then they were terrorists! Why? 'Cause they were there, ya idiots!

But what about the babies?

Mama, if you don't wanna let your babies grow up to be terrorists then don't them 'em grow up.

Oh, and by the way, the L.A. Times went and examined documents from the Vietnam War. Turns out Kerry and the rest of the "Winter Soldiers" were telling the truth. Not that "the truth" ever mattered to you, Jason.

One small problem: Nations that bullshit themselves lose their wars. Maybe it's even dawning on the Liar-in-Chief, who at his last press conference finally let it slip that Iraq didn't have WMD and that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

Of course, the scumbag just couldn't resist getting another lie in. He said that the U.S. administration never claimed a connection between Saddam and 9/11. Man oh man, you people and your Fuhrer just don't know when to stop lying, do you?
 
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