Monday, January 15, 2007

Trying to know the unknowable ... 
UPDATE: Link to article added.

Jay Rosen, when pressed, has argued that both the doves have facts, and the hawks are operating from a different set of facts, and that is why the two tribes cannot communicate.

That cannot be true. No one is entitled to their own facts, and facts is facts. Some of them are harder to pin down than others, but even if you limit yourself to discussing facts that are beyond serious dispute (The US has found hundreds of WMDs buried in the desert, Iraq was developing missiles that violated the terms of the cease fire and UNSC resolutions, and that the 9/11 commissioners found that there were, in fact, connections with Al Qaeda) those facts falsify large swathes of the dovish argument.)

These facts, while apparently difficult for some of the more intellectually dishonest of us to accept, are very easy to know, and to grasp.

But if the confusion over Captain Jamil Hussein has demonstrated anything, it is that it is exceedingly difficult to "know" any one thing in Iraq. The reporter's task - the honest reporter's task - and I have to believe that there are a few left out there, is incredibly difficult.

Don't miss this column, explaining why:

January 15, 2007 -- JUST outside Um al-Qasar, a port in south east Iraq, a crowd had gathered around a British armored car with a crew of four. An argument seemed to be heating up through an interpreter.

The interpreter told the Brits that the crowd was angry and wanted U.K. forces out of Iraq. But then a Kuwaiti representative of Amnesty International, accompanied by a journalist friend, approached - and found the crowd to be concerned about something quite different.

The real dispute? The day before, a British armored vehicle had an accident with a local taxi; now the cab's owner, backed by a few friends, was asking the Brits to speed up compensating him. Did these Iraqis want the Brits to leave, as the interpreter pretended? No, they shouted, a thousand times no!

So why did the interpreter inject that idea into the dialogue? Shaken, he tried a number of evasions: Well, had the Brits not been in Iraq, there wouldn't have been an accident in the first place. And, in any case, he knows that most Iraqis don't want foreign troops . . .

Splash, out


Dude. Got a link?
Cut and paste a phrase from the article into Google. My #2 hit was the article - it's from a NY Post OpEd.
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