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The Bush White House has always had an obsession with direct control over the media flow from Baghdad. An important part of the terrible distortion that emanated from Baghdad came not from trained Defense Department professionals, but from Karl Rove’s flaks. A key figure in this process was Dan Senor, who was placed in Baghdad at the core of the insurrection with a specific mission—suppressing the truth. Senor moved from this slot to serving, quite appropriately, as a commentator for Fox News. And he’s had no shortage of follow-up.
A senior public affairs officer in Baghdad reports the killing of a key figure in Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. It grabs headlines everywhere. And then someone checks the records. It turns out that this is the second “confirmed” killing of the same man in the last year. Who’s responsible?
The Cunning Realist, who calls this Dr. Strangelove meets Weekend at Bernie’s, looks behind the scenes and gives us the bio.
He became head spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq in early June. His official title? Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Effects. He was Michael Gordon’s only source for this New York Times piece on alleged Iranian ties to the Karbala raid in which five American troops were killed. His previous position: Special Assistant to President Bush.
Surprised? And you were wondering perhaps about the stunning successes accomplished every week by the surge even as violence reaches unequaled levels, and the fact that now every enemy is a certified member of Al Qaeda?
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”