The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, January 26, 2007

More to smile about.

I'm leaving myself open to attacks from right-wing bloggers with that title, which just demands to be taken out of context. But the thing with this story is that, in spite of an attempt by the military to put a heart-warming, heroic spin on a story, it's likely to turn people further against the war.

Four American soldiers were abducted during a sophisticated sneak attack last week in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, the U.S. military confirmed Friday. It said three were shot to death and a fourth was mortally wounded with a gunshot to the head when they were found in a neighboring province, far from the compound where they were captured. (. . .)

On Jan. 20, the day of the raid on a security meeting in Karbala, the military said five soldiers were killed repelling the attack.

The brazen assault, 50 miles south of Baghdad, was conducted by nine to 12 militants posing as an American security team, according to two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials. They traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles, the type used by U.S. government convoys, had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues, and spoke English. (. . .)

The confirmation has emerged after nearly a week of inquiries. The U.S. military in Baghdad initially did not respond to repeated requests for comment on reports that began emerging from Iraqi government and military officials on the abduction and a major breakdown in security at Karbala site.

Sure, the military is going to propagandize a bit. Fine. But one lesson they should've taken from Vietnam is that, in the age of global communication, attempts to polish a turd are far less likely to succeed. And while we all like stories of brave deeds, we all hate being hoodwinked. It's like Cheney's recent insistence that we've had "enormous successes" in Iraq. At this point, his claims aren't reassuring-- they're nuts, and therefore really damn scary. Even right-wing bloggers have largely given up the ghost in claiming that things are great, but the liberal media only gives us the bad stuff. But I suspect that a quick look at their work on January 20 would turn up plenty of flag-waving stories promoting yet another lie.