Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Chalabi

I don’t know what to make of the Ahmad Chalabi mess, but this story claims that there is rock solid evidence that Chalabi spied for Iran. Watch how this will be turned--immediately--into the next big anti-Bush story on Iraq. More proof that everything is falling apart...and now the media will make Chalabi into a good guy and be given plenty of air time no doubt, because he will be critical of the administration: That he has lost authority is proof that the administration’s plan for Iraq isn’t working, etc.

Discussions - 6 Comments

It seems that the criticisms are well deserved since Bush’s own administrations strongly supported him in spite of many questions from many sources regarding his trustworthiness, etc. So while Bush has every right to ignore his critics charges, he has to accept the criticisms when they turn out to be correct.

Regarding intelligence gathering, you have to take risks and trust people you typically wouldnt. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it bites you in...I dont blame anyone, we took a chance and it didnt work. Dust off our shirt and find someone else.

A good lie is 10% fact and 90% spin. The media outlets get 10% of the facts and then each tries to decide what portion of the 90% spin they must use as filler is most likely to bring about effectual truth. Maybe Chalabi was spying for Iran, maybe he wasn’t. Ortega says the easiest thing to do is write a book about it. If so I have the perfect title:

Sausage Making 101: discerning the truth without facts, in the age of knowledge and the information super highway.

A good lie is 10% fact and 90% spin.

Actually, that’s Conservative political philosophy that you’re thinking of.

The media outlets get 10% of the facts and then each tries to decide what portion of the 90% spin they must use as filler is most likely to bring about effectual truth. Maybe Chalabi was spying for Iran, maybe he wasn’t. Ortega says the easiest thing to do is write a book about it.

Absolute nonsense. Why is it that every time some Conservative buffoon screws up royally (which seems to happen on a weekly basis anymore) and the press reports on it, Conservatives immediately launch into unsubstantiated claims and hypotheticals about what is and is not true? Are things really that bad for you guys? I guess they are.

hum... my point was that I don’t know what is really going on in Iraq.

I am a classical liberal, more or less. That is different from a Conservative.

I heard something about Chalabi on NPR, then I read the article Schramm posted. I admit ignorance, that is my point.

I believe that you can listen to and read about most of the stuff comming out of Iraq without ever having enough expertise to know what you are talking about. The press has a deadline, they see some things, they write about them, they submit the story or prepare for a broadcast and...there you have your news. Now if you want to call the "news" fact then ok. I don’t because just because something might be true doesn’t mean it shows the whole picture. Now if you take some truths and repeat them enough you give off the impression that you are showing the whole picture. If I took a balloon that was purple and focused on the parts that were red, to the exclusion of the parts that were blue then you would come to believe that the ballon was red. By showing you some truth I convince you to generalize and come to a conclusion that is false. My view is that the "press" or the "media" including NoLeftTurns(which happens to be honest about its bias) is biased, which means that in order to see the whole picture you have to have an incredible amount of free time to short through a lot of chaft. Thankfully since I don’t have to come to a decision about anything, or make any policy I don’t have to leap to a conclusion either way. I can take my time and invest it in other areas in which I can be more usefull.

The scary thing is that even if you were in Iraq you would still be only seeing or understanding isolated particulars, and depending on who you are, a contractor, a soilder, a reporter your personal interest would take you along certain paths at the exclusions of others.

Is there any way for you to know how an Iraqi feels without being an Iraqi in the first place? even then? which Iraqi? the Iraqi who is overjoyed to be freed from Saddam? Or the one who lost everything in the war? Is Saddam Hussein a happy Iraqi? one would hope not. Now if the press starts reporting what this Chalabi fellow is saying, should we be happy if he is not happy with what is going on in Iraq? Well that would depend upon whether or not we believe that he was once a spy for Iran. But even if we suspend judgement on whether or not he was once a spy for Iran, we can be sure that whatever he has to say he is disgruntled with the search on his property. But giving him air-time to lash out at Bush seems to be being selective against Bush. Smells biased to me, smells like some sort of agenda, or at best just a new story that is controversial enough to get ratings. But if the press is motivated by showing snippets that increase controversy and attain ratings marks, we can hardly allow that truth untainted emerges from the result. Of course you can also say that not giving Chalabi airtime is giving Bush the bennefit of the doubt and thus biased.

Here at No Left Turns Dr. Schramm gives President Bush the benefit of the doubt, at NPR or CNN they might give Chalabi the bennefit of the doubt. Now if the balloon is really purple then maybe you would do well to consider the red as well as the blue. Of course this is complicated by the fact that you can’t assume that the balloon is purple before hand, that is to say that CNN might be completly right and Schramm completly wrong, or they might both be completly wrong. I am not suggesting that a 50/50 compromise is the way to go about knowing. In the end your particular biases will determine how much of each you believe, and what your conclusion is.

David Hume once wrote an interesting parable having to do with Taste. There were two well known wine tasters who each came to different judgements on a wine. One said that the wine was quite good except for a taste of Iron, the other that it was quite good except for a hint of leather. The people were about to drive the wine tasters out of festival with sticks and stones when the cask of wine was finally emptied, at the bottom of the cask there was an old piece of leather attached to a metal key.

In the case of Iraq I drink what I like because I don’t think that the cask will ever be emptied to reveal truth, and even if it was that is not to say that there wouldn’t be an explanation for why there is no key or leather to justify the experts.

I think knowledge of wine is easier than sorting out what is
going on in Iraq. Yet at the same time knowledge of wine is largely pretentious.

A good wine is 10% fact and 90% spin, drink what you like.-John Lewis.

For heaven’s sake. The idea that the left is suddenly going to embrace Chalabi when we were the ones screaming for a decade that he was a crook and a con artist and couldn’t be trusted, is just loopy. NOBODY is going to make a hero of this guy except Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, James ’World War IV’ Woolsey, and Tin-Foil Hat Queen Laurie Mylroie (and maybe Scooter....). And they don’t register as ’left’. That’s just sour-grapes grumping.

Sam: Dust off our shirt and find someone else.

I’d agree with you except that these tireless ideologues will just replace him with somebody equally rank as long as he tells them what they want to hear. All the Chalabi Champions need to go before that can happen (Perle thinks it’s a CIA plot--he said it last week, which is probably where Ahmad got the idea) but that would have to include most of the DoD, including Rumsfeld, everybody in the NSC (they’re both loaded down with True Believers like Feith and Wurmser and Hadley), and Cheney, who, through Scooter and Feith, was the major recipient of Chalabi’s disinformation campaign and, so far as I know, has yet to say one bad word about him.

I don’t think that’s going to happen. Do you?

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