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Wednesday, July 18, 2007


You gotta' believe!

People say believe half of what you see
Son, and none of what you hear

- I Heard It Through the Grapevine, words and music by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
Or not.
For more than a year, the leader of one the most notorious insurgent groups in Iraq was said to be a mysterious Iraqi called Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.

As the titular head of the Islamic State in Iraq, Mr. Baghdadi issued incendiary pronouncements. Despite claims by an Iraqi Interior Ministry official in May that Mr. Baghdadi had been killed, he appeared to have persevered unscathed.

On Wednesday, the chief United States military spokesman here, Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, provided a new explanation for Mr. Baghdadi’s ability to escape attack: he never existed.
And if you now believe what the U.S. military has to say, go back and read the lyric at the top. Even the New York Times admits this is part of a U.S. psy-ops operation:
The general’s briefing was part of an American effort to counter the psychological aspects of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s campaign as well as the military ones. The news conference seemed tailored to rattle the 90 percent of the group’s adherents who are believed to be Iraqi by suggesting that they were doing the bidding of foreigners.
As an aside, the lyric at the top is one of my favorite rhymes of all time, because of the way, which is hard to tell from the printed (or electronic) page, but easy to hear in the song, that "son" very intentionally rhymes with "none."

Update: The Los Angeles Times is even more skeptical:

There was no way to confirm the military's claim, which comes at a time of heightened pressure on the White House to justify keeping U.S. troops in Iraq.

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