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Saddam's spiderhole photo was taken in August?
December 21, 2003 12:38 AM   Subscribe

Saddam's spiderhole photo was taken in August, or what? The fruit on the date palm behind the soldier is yellow. Date fruit grows from March-August (see 'Iraq' in table 23) and is harvested in early fall. Dates are yellow (ie. just ripened) in August, not December. I'm not invoking conspiracy - I'm just asking: what gives?
posted by mediaddict (87 comments total)

 
well there's that rumor that kurds found him first and then negotiated his surrender to us after holding him captive and drugged for a long long time... but as much as i am willing to buy into conspiracy theories, ....
posted by gregb1007 at 12:44 AM on December 21, 2003


Very interesting.

A PR bit about the US Military helping harvest dates dated August 5, 2003
Reporter's Notebook - Road to Baghdad from Voice of America in which the reporter notes seeing yellow-fruited dates on October 4, 1999 (second-to-last paragraph).

Curious.
posted by dpkm at 1:56 AM on December 21, 2003


al-jazeera
posted by vacapinta at 2:19 AM on December 21, 2003


DateGate!
posted by moonbird at 4:51 AM on December 21, 2003


Muhammad Al-Dossary, however, who has been engaged in date cultivation in the Aflaj region for several years, pointed out that there is a special kind of date, “hilali”, which yields its fruits at this time of the year.

From Vacapinta's link^
posted by nthdegx at 5:06 AM on December 21, 2003


The (British) Sunday Express says "Saddam was held by Kurdish forces, drugged and left for US troops."
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:17 AM on December 21, 2003


WOW. If the Sunday Express story is true, I have even more respect for the Kurds. Imagine the acclaim for parading Saddam's head around on a pike...
posted by Busithoth at 6:04 AM on December 21, 2003


More details (well, speculation really) at the Scottish Sunday Herald.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:14 AM on December 21, 2003


Eaten dates tell no tales.
posted by troutfishing at 6:18 AM on December 21, 2003


bad dates!

*temple of doom reset*
posted by swinginjohn at 6:35 AM on December 21, 2003


Madeleine Albright recently asserted that the Bush Administration has Osama Bin Laden "on ice", so to speak.

She suggested that they know his location and could easily catch him any time they wanted, but are saving his capture for sometime around October '04.
posted by troutfishing at 6:51 AM on December 21, 2003


This is silly. Saddam is going on public trial. Don't you think he might mention this several month date gap to someone? Or will it just slip his mind that he was held for months by the Kurds?
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:58 AM on December 21, 2003


Tinfoil hat....check!
posted by ednopantz at 7:08 AM on December 21, 2003


If we'd captured Saddam that far back, at least a rumor would've leaked. Especially now that it's common knowledge that we've got him. If there's anything to this, it'll come out. Over time, people tend to brag.
posted by alumshubby at 7:08 AM on December 21, 2003


y6: Here's a speech from a public trial:
"I want to say once again," says the accused Zinoviev at the outset of his last plea, "that I admit that I am fully and courpletely guilty. I am guilty of having been an organizer of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite bloc second only to Trotsky, the bloc which set itself the aim of assassinating Stalin, Voroshilov and a number of other leaders of the Party and the government. I plead guilty to having been the principal organizer of the assassination of Kirov.
Why didn't the man just say "Hey, I had nothing to do with any of that crazy shit? I'm a loyal Bolshevik, this is all Stalin's paranoid fantasy!"

I know, I know, we would never use or condone any sort of undue pressure on prisoners...
posted by languagehat at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2003


The TinFoil Hat Attack explained.

Anyway, maybe those were just a subvariety of dates which stay yellow longer than most.

Or they had Saddam on ice.....

As I said, eaten dates tell no tales.
posted by troutfishing at 7:32 AM on December 21, 2003


From the Al-Jazeera article:

Muhammad Al-Dossary, however, who has been engaged in date cultivation in the Aflaj region for several years, pointed out that there is a special kind of date, “hilali”, which yields its fruits at this time of the year.

Iraq is the native place of hilali dates which are now found in Saudi Arabia and other countries, Dossary told Al-Eqtisadiah, a sister publication of Arab News. “Even yesterday I ate hilali dates taken from the tree,”
posted by cameldrv at 7:32 AM on December 21, 2003


Madeleine Albright recently asserted that the Bush Administration has Osama Bin Laden "on ice", so to speak.

Yes, yes she did. And in doing so, she graduated from being fabulously bad judge of character and droopingly miserable Secretary of State to a certified tiddly-wink flippin' looney tune, on par with the venerable twinkly-eyed conspiracy-spinner H. Dean.

I believe dates are a favorite food of the moonbat.
posted by hama7 at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2003


A rumor did leak, from LaHood.

And now what he said makes more sense and what McDermott says. (also, people are saying that Bush actually saw him on thanksgiving when he flew in)

And then there's this supposed media memo: ...Now we all expect the Pentagon to fly in planeloads of WMD and “find” them where Saddam told us they were hidden. The question here is who will they get to unload and bury them? GIs are liable to spill the beans, the CIA is too stupid so that leaves George W. and his Bible Buddy Karl Rove to do the work. Another mysterious trip to Iraq, shovels out and here comes the election!

/tinfoilhatfilter : >
posted by amberglow at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2003


Grassy knoll.
posted by caddis at 7:48 AM on December 21, 2003


If Bush had Saddam captured months ago and waited until now to annouce it, it certainly would seem like a stupid move considering how little the impact it had on his approval rating, which clearly would have been to only concern as to delay the news.

I don't believe any of the "We caught Saddam earlier" or "we already have bin Laden" theories because conspiracies within Bush's administration tend to unravel quicker than Bush's team expects. Enron, Valerie Plame, "Mission Accomplished" and Niger are all examples of Bush's team not being very good at maintaining standard BS protocol.

Valerie Plame was a worthy risk bullshitting about because they sold the "oh this is boring and complicated" angle. Bush lying about capturing Saddam is far too great to risk lying about; if evidence turns up that this was manipulated for PR, Bush is screwed.

On preview: or we could just respond with NR and Moonie articles and random attacks on Howard Dean! Bravo, hama7! "Moonbat?" Is that a Washington Times thing or something?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:49 AM on December 21, 2003


Madeleine Albright recently asserted that the Bush Administration has Osama Bin Laden "on ice", so to speak.

TV in the country I live in has become some much worse since Fox News became available.

Madeleine Albright, in the midst of an informal greenroom discussion with a Fox News pundit said something along the lines of "do you suppose the Bush has Osama hidden away somewhere to roll out at a suitable time?" - by all accounts, it was something she said in a throw-away manner, and didn't have a lot of meaning behind it.

Of course the pundit immediately went on air and reported this conversation. Then the miracle workers at Fox & Friends got onto it, and 'what-if'd it into a firm accusation.

I am always amazed by the insane speculation that on-air personalities on Fox News and CNN engage in. All their "do you suppose" and "what if" statements are presented as NEWS!
posted by sycophant at 7:49 AM on December 21, 2003


I do have one real question about the medical exam or capture or even now that he's in prison or wherever being interrogated--Why hasn't any of it been shown live on tv? It's all been video so far. There's been no "perp walk" and that's really weird.
posted by amberglow at 7:57 AM on December 21, 2003


Dates could be like apples where no two date trees are exactly alike, genetically speaking, there could be "wild date trees" that grow from a date seed and not a cutting. Wild dates could have different behavior from the commercial grade date variety, including yellowing later than normal. There are so many explanations without being from that part of the world it is hard to say if it matters. Most telling is in the al-jazeera article it says "the Iraqis paid no attention to the date theory". Guess you have to live there to understand yellow dates.
posted by stbalbach at 8:09 AM on December 21, 2003


"We would never trade arms for hostages."
posted by Slagman at 8:20 AM on December 21, 2003


""She was not smiling when she said this," Mr. Kondracke said. "

Ignoring the 'Do you suppose' she began the sentence with, what the fuck is wrong with right wing idiots who can't tell a joke when they hear it? Do they really want their side to be scrutinized to such a letter? That double edged blade would slice their forked tongue straight through to the epiglottis

Do you suppose that the right wing has the sense of humor of a tapeworm?

Note: I was not smiling when I typed that.
posted by Busithoth at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2003


I'll bet there is a reporter from CNN or something right now getting to the bottom of this. I'm sure that we'll have all the facts by the end of the day.

/trip to fantasy land.
posted by jaronson at 8:29 AM on December 21, 2003


Saddam's grown quite a beard since his last appearance during the war. Do you get a beard like that after just a few months? Any beard growth experts on MeFi?
posted by Termite at 8:36 AM on December 21, 2003


You people are fucking nuts. Why don't we ask Efrem Lukatsky, the long-time Ukranian AP photographer who took the picture? Of course, maybe he's in on it, too.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:44 AM on December 21, 2003


hama7, did Dean really say Bush knew about 9/11 in advance? Novak, Republican shill that he is, has total warped Dean's comments about 9-11.

Dean's full quote is: “I don’t know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far — which is nothing more than a theory, it can’t be proved — is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is by suppressing that kind of information you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not. And eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the key information that needs to go to the Kean Commission.”

He does not subscribe to this theory... he's just pointing out that Bush's reluctance to release information is allowing the black helicopter crowd to have a field day.
posted by wfrgms at 8:51 AM on December 21, 2003


When first shown as captured, Saddam resembled an Old Testament patriarch. I remarked to some of my co-workers that he looked like a fugitive from the road company of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Based on my thirty years of beard wearing, I'd say that the "beaver' he was sporting was at least six months old and probably older. An inch growth per month is about max for a vigorously growing beard.
posted by rdone at 8:58 AM on December 21, 2003


wfrgms - Nice retort.

I think the "grab Osama at a convenient time" idea is a lot more likely than the "Fruity Knoll" - yellow date theory. As Hama7 noted and stbalbach pointed out....."...Most telling is in the al-jazeera article it says "the Iraqis paid no attention to the date theory". Guess you have to live there to understand yellow dates." - December yellow dates are far from unlikely.

But it's just possible that the Bush Adm. has rough sense of Osama's whereabouts. The US did know where he was even after he fled Afghanistan, by some reports, due to a stay in a Pakistani hospital for treatment for his "condition (whatever it was supposed to be) soon after crossing the border. I think I ran across this tidbit while I was reading Seymour Hersch's Taliban/ISI airlift story (ISI advisors to the Taliban were allowed to be airlifted out of one city besieged by US forces, and quite a number of the Taliban escaped in said operation, a fact US officials readily admitted at the time), but don't quote me on that. Still that was a long time ago. My scenario hinges on whether Osama is still in Pakistan or even alive, for that matter.

Anyway, I doubt it would be quite so simple to grab Bin Laden - he's a cunning fish - but then again.....doesn't the US have the most kickass special forces in the World? (Or does Israel? - a close shave. anyway...) So why couldn't the US do some arm twisting on Musharaff (although with the latest assassination attempt on his life.....) to get him to accede to a special op (with nominal Pakistani military cooperation but really a US led operation) to grab Osama? That's assuming he's still in quasi-independant Northern Pakistan. And - of course - given that the warlords and, indeed, everybody in the region has sophisticated private arsenals (which is why the Pakistani military leaves the area alone) the potential for such an op to go badly wrong is very real.

Still, a perfectly reasonable speculative scenario. Whether it is a possible one or not...who the Hell knows (amongst us peasantry, anyway) ?

Moving along - are the yellow dates similar to the "impossibly waving US flag on the moon?"

Or were the dates simply photoshopped yellow by Bush Administration operatives - to sucker some on the US left into proposing an untenable theory and so discredit them!

And maybe those aren't dates at all! We think we're so smart here, but what if those dates were actually the advance guard of an alien invasion! Little aliens camaflaged as dates!...Didja think of that? Noooo, of course not. Well, IT COULD BE TOO LATE ALREADY! - my tinfoil hat's fancier than yours. Ha ha.
posted by troutfishing at 9:03 AM on December 21, 2003


The news item that several posters have called the"Al-Jazeera article" did not originally appear on that site.

It was written by P.K. Abdul Ghafour, who is on the staff of the English-language Saudi daily Arab News and was originally published by the Arab News on December 18, 2003.

URL of original article: http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=36630&d=18&m=12&y=2003

Furthermore, the so-called "Al-Jazeera" cited by the poster has absolutely nothing to do with the satellite TV network Al-Jazeera, whose English-language website can be found here:

http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage

Credit should be given where credit is due. I hope this sets the record straight.
posted by rwkenyon at 9:04 AM on December 21, 2003


I'm not going to put on my tinfoil hat until they find Osama, within the next 8 weeks, just in time for the next trip to Afghanistan...
posted by FormlessOne at 9:11 AM on December 21, 2003


I'm thinking Osama's capture will be timed for Sept/Oct, just in time for the election.
posted by amberglow at 9:15 AM on December 21, 2003


There's been no "perp walk" and that's really weird.
do not want to parade him around to much, arab culture and all. They did perp walk him at baghdad airport so the prisoners could see him captured.
posted by clavdivs at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2003


doesn't the US have the most kickass special forces in the World? (Or does Israel? - a close shave. anyway...)

Neither. It's the British Special Air Service. /offtopic
posted by psmealey at 9:22 AM on December 21, 2003


Moonbird sez...
DateGate!
Actually, I heard the Kurds used Rohypnol on Saddam...
Daterapegate!
posted by 327.ca at 9:31 AM on December 21, 2003


psmealey - you set me straight on that.

amberglow - It strikes me that this would be a great subject for an informal betting pool. Maybe it could work like a futures market. So - the "Osama captured in the week of October 1st-7th" future, and so on.
posted by troutfishing at 9:43 AM on December 21, 2003


On preview: or we could just respond with NR and Moonie articles and random attacks on Howard Dean! Bravo, hama7! "Moonbat?" Is that a Washington Times thing or something?

Off-topic: I think "Moonbat" was coined as a warblogger term for a nutty, war-doubting liberal. But "Moonie" was coined by sex cult leader Sun Myung Moon, whose paper today has an attack on a "maniacally snarling" Howard Dean, yes. :)
posted by inksyndicate at 9:50 AM on December 21, 2003


As much as I would love to see this tackled by a forensic botanist (you know, like those guys on Discovery who say that because the fly maggots on the dead body had reached X stage of development that means the murder had to be between 2 and 4 AM), here's my two cents worth.

Palm trees being effectively perennials, the "maybe they were planted late" theory does not hold. When dates appear and mature is controlled by nature, inasmuch as no greenhouse is evident. The fact that you can buy dates year-round is a function of the fact that they are harvested in different parts of the world at different times of year (see table 23 in the link noted above). That, and they dry well. That forensic botanist I mentioned would be able to tell much better than I whether these were traditional dates or the "hilali" date mentioned above.

This theory does tend to mesh with the "loony rantings" of Jim McDermott. Somebody go sharpen Occam's Razor, mmkay?
posted by ilsa at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2003


"To my amazement, Mr. Kondracke immediately went on the air to repeat this comment, which was made to a person I thought was a friend and smart enough to know the difference between a serious statement and one that was not," she said.
"My only regret is that the powder puffs were on Mort's face and not in his ears"


Fox, it seems, has bred a new kind of cockroach, which when you shine a bright light on it doesn't scuttle into the cracks, but instead starts talking out of its ass.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:25 AM on December 21, 2003


But it's just possible that the Bush Adm. has rough sense of Osama's whereabouts.

This article claims the same thing, but also claims that bin Laden has not been apprehended at the request of Musharraf. Make of that what you will.

It's funny how many people who completely reject the possibility that we might know bin Laden's and al Zawahiri's whereabouts would rather accept that we let them get away and now have no idea where they are. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
posted by homunculus at 11:07 AM on December 21, 2003


The Harder Hunt for Bin Laden: The terror chief's allies say that Saddam's capture is good for the Iraqi jihad. But they also have cause for worry
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on December 21, 2003


Unless I have missed it, no one seems to have caught the point in the Ghafour article that the soldiers in the picture are wearing cold weather gear.

I can't find the data for Tikrit, but in nearby Mosul the average October high is nearly 80 F, and the avgerage low about 50 F. Those uniforms look pretty damned hot for that sort of weather, don't they? The December average high is closer to 60 F and the average low near 40 F.

This doesn't *prove* anything - but is pretty suggestive, I think.
posted by John Smallberries at 11:31 AM on December 21, 2003


semi-on-topic/ The elevated threat level today kinda belies the whole "we're safer now that saddam is captured" thing, no? (or is Tom Ridge as crazy as they say Dean is?)
posted by amberglow at 11:55 AM on December 21, 2003


really? i thought that was so weak as to wonder why they put it in. I mean, not that I believe this theory, but if you're lying about something so huge I think you could stand to inconvenience the soldiers and have them wear winter clothes for a few hours.

but i'm pretty sure they have wild dates there, and wild plants do weird things, not like our monoculture corn in america.
posted by rhyax at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2003


hama7, did Dean really say Bush knew about 9/11 in advance?



no he didn't, of course, but facts kind of ruin straw-burning, slanderous ad hominems -- they're hamasheaven only weapon after all

re the "moonbats" thing: it's cool to see warblog lingo rear its McCarthyite head on this site, too.
I'm eagerly waiting for slurs against Muslims, another warblog favorite. we all need a Conservative's perspective here, after all
posted by matteo at 12:20 PM on December 21, 2003


Rhyax, then you would have to assume they knew at the time of the photo - October (or even August) - just WHEN they were going to release the story, because it would only work in the winter. Except they forgot the dates then, didn't they?

It just doesn't hang together consistently.
posted by John Smallberries at 12:34 PM on December 21, 2003


You know, hama7, I followed your links on an ill-advised lark. What is it about your sources that smack of Dittoism? Is it the repeated use of "Clintonites"? Sheesh, how pathetic. Where are the feminazis in all this?
posted by squirrel at 12:35 PM on December 21, 2003


Fresh halili dates - available in the summer.

Realistically speaking, though, "DateGate" is a non-starter. Trying to suss out what variety of date palm tree based on a photograph is nigh impossible. It does seem odd that the date palm has ripe fruit at the time the picture was taken, but it is not outside the realm of possibility. Who knows? Root stress affected by building a bunker underneath it could be the botanical trigger for these sorts of things.
posted by dpkm at 1:08 PM on December 21, 2003


It's only been a week: somebody needs to go and look; preferably before the evidence ripens and is harvested or eaten by birds. If that's not possible, then a botanist should be able to clear it up even after a much longer interval.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:20 PM on December 21, 2003


Don't forget this article which says his bodyguards kidnapped him and turned him in for the money.
posted by ropadi at 2:15 PM on December 21, 2003


This occurred to me also, George. Any volunteers?
posted by nthdegx at 2:27 PM on December 21, 2003


How will we know that they are the correct dates and not imposters or doubles?
posted by troutfishing at 3:00 PM on December 21, 2003


Is anyone else out there concerned about Saddam Hussein's hair being black when he was arrested, when we've been told his hair is grey and he dyes it? Initially I found this funny, but somehow it's really been playing on my mind. Did he actually have access to black hair dye while hidden down his hole for months? It's funny how this plays off with the beard too. If Saddam were actually arrested months ago, he wouldn't have had the beard, but he may have still had black hair. If he was arrested last week, the beard would have been that long, but I would have expected his hair to be grey... strange.
posted by Jimbob at 3:03 PM on December 21, 2003


Is anyone else out there concerned about Saddam Hussein's hair being black when he was arrested, when we've been told his hair is grey and he dyes it?

Hmm, and do you think he had plugs or something put in his hair, could that explain the color? His sons had receeding hairlines but Saddam seems to have quite a full head of hair.
posted by bobo123 at 3:24 PM on December 21, 2003


"Is anyone else out there concerned about Saddam Hussein's hair being black when he was arrested, when we've been told his hair is grey and he dyes it? Initially I found this funny, but somehow it's really been playing on my mind. Did he actually have access to black hair dye while hidden down his hole for months?"

It's really quite easily explained, Jimbob:


posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:36 PM on December 21, 2003


To clear up the sub-topic of Dean's remarks: Did he say that Bush knew about the 9/11 plot and do nothing about it? No . . . and yes. No, he didn't say it, he simply cites that it is a theory he doesn't believe . . . but he keeps repeating it whenever possible. So, if I say "I personally don't believe this but one theory I've heard is Bob over in accounting is impotent," then what I'm really saying is that I want you to believe that Bob is impotent without attributing it to me.

Spinsanity has a breakdown of what Dean has said and how he's positioned it which does in fact suggest that Dean is attempting to get people to believe that theory while distancing himself from being the source.

http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20031217.html

And before anybody goes off claiming Spinsanity is some right wing tool, the previous posting on thier site is how Dean's comments have been taken out of context by Republicans and the media in regards to the death of Saddam's sons to make them look worse than what he actually was saying.

Jimbob: I have mostly dark-brown hair with small touches of grey but my beard grows in with thick patches of grey. In fact, even my pre-grey beard color is a redish brown vs. the dark brown of the hair on my head so the two don't have to match. In fact, I remember reading somewhere that it's more common than not for the two not to match.
posted by billman at 4:44 PM on December 21, 2003


if Bush would release the information then there wouldn't be all this hearsay and assumption now would there?
posted by destro at 7:25 PM on December 21, 2003


Does anyone remember a video showing three or four saddam look alikes? They were all in a powerboat together on some body of water. I think i saw it on a major network station some time earlier this year probably when they were reporting on the assasination attempt early in the war. It was an attempt to show that it was going to be hard to get the right guy or something. I am at the point of not believing the media.
posted by proof_nc at 7:25 PM on December 21, 2003


On the 1st link - it lookes like the blue 55 gal drum has grafiti on it. Perhaps the meaning is there.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:30 PM on December 21, 2003


but if you're lying about something so huge I think you could stand to inconvenience the soldiers and have them wear winter clothes for a few hours.

If you're lying about something so huge, you would probably manage to steer clear of obvious horticultural markers, too. I mean, if they were going to be so blatant as to actually stage a winter arrest in august (why not just hold him somewhere and then stage the winter arrest in winter, preferably with soldiers who wouldn't even know it was staged -) then I think they would think of something like a date tree. It seems to me that the halili dates make the most sense.
posted by mdn at 7:35 PM on December 21, 2003


Correct me if I am wrong, but there were never any photos of Saddam at that site, or being taken from his hole.

So why bother faking the time? They could well have had him for months - or his body guards, or the kurds - then they say "WE GOT HIM" lead the press out to a handy pre-determined location and say "yup, it was here that we found him".

No need to stage that, the press can only know what you tell them. Much better than trying to do it months earlier and have the press sit on it until you say. Hell, maybe they did capture him there when they said - nothing to say he wasn't dropped off there, drugged, by CIA operatives shortly before the 4th rolled into town.

I think the idea that the dates on a tree in a photo that actually has no specific tie to the capture other than what we are told, tell us nothing about the truth or lack thereof behind the capture.
posted by sycophant at 8:05 PM on December 21, 2003


Kurds say they caught Saddam
posted by amberglow at 8:53 PM on December 21, 2003


Doesn't this all require that the AP be in on it? Since it is there photo that was staged? Or would this be a photo provided to the AP by the government and then AP claims a photographer (Efram Lukatsky).

And in this photo, the same dates appear, claimed to be taken by Gregorio Borgia. Whoops, looks like Laurent Rebours was in on it.

I mean, really, do they honestly expect us to believe that three different AP photographers were there? Suspicious how they're the only news agency that has that tree in their photos. Wait, no that isn't correct. Reuters has been compromised as well. Tricky bastards these simultaneously dastardly beyond belief and stupid beyond comprehension government planners.
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:07 PM on December 21, 2003


I blame global warming.
posted by daver at 9:08 PM on December 21, 2003


If you ever get out of the city for more than a drive thru, you might discover that in the natural world plants have many aberations.
posted by HTuttle at 9:11 PM on December 21, 2003


I'm with amberglow....quivering with gladness and patriotic fervor that The Capture of Evil Saddam (The Terrorist Mastermind) has made us safer from escalation to The Dreaded Level Orange Terrorist Attack Level.

Spinsanity has a breakdown of what Dean has said and how he's positioned it which does in fact suggest that Dean is attempting to get people to believe that theory while distancing himself from being the source.

Well, that's certainly one way to spin it if you just don't like Dean....or if you're afraid of the truth about 9/11.

Of course, getting people to believe that theory" is not what Dean is trying to do at all. Dean throws out a pretty disturbing theory that is making the rounds, and he himself discounts it. So why use it? What Dean DOES repeat in all these interviews is that Bush for some reason continues to withhold information from an independent American commission set up to investigate 9/11. His point is that all Bush has to do to shed some light on 9/11 and discount these kind of rumors is to get his administration to finally cooperate with an agency set up to help America understand and prevent terrorist attacks.

Why won't he do that? Why exactly won't Bush reveal that information? I submit that this simple question does bear repeating, as Dean, to his credit, has continued to do.

(And do pardon me...I keep forgetting that the right wing in America and here on MetaFilter is dead set on keeping any light from being shed on anything this administration does...it's a pretty deep-seated fear....sorry for our continued belief that a democracy demands openness and criticism and repeated questioning....I know how painful that can be for some of you....)

DEAN: Because it's a pretty odd theory. What we do believe is that there was a lot of chatter that somehow was missed by the CIA and the FBI about this, and that for some reason we were unable to decide and get clear indications of what the attacks what were going to be. Because the president won't give the information to the Kean commission we really don't know what the explanation is.

DEAN: I don't know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I've heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can't -- think it can't be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now, who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and then eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear -- the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission.

DEAN: Well, in all due respect, I did not exactly state that. I was asked on Fox fair and balanced news that... (laughter) I was asked why I thought the president was withholding information, I think it was, or 9/11 or something like that. And I said, well, the most interesting theory that I heard, which I did not believe, was that the Saudis had tipped him off.

We don't know why the president is not giving information to the Kean commission. I think that is supposed to be investigated by Congress. I think it's a serious matter. I agree with Wes Clark, the president is not fighting terrorism. And we need to know what went wrong before 9/11.

I did not believe, and I made it clear on the Fox News show that I didn't believe that theory, but I had heard that. And there are going to be a lot of crazy theories that come out if the information is not given to the Kean commission as it should be.


Dean is exactly right, and he's right to repeat what he says. All Bush has to do is to release information requested by the commission, and "crazy" theories like the one Dean described, and which he has clearly said he does not believe, will go away.

It's hard to understand why Bush is afraid of any light shed on 9/11, unless his administration has something politically damaging to hide.

Do you suppose that the right wing has the sense of humor of a tapeworm?

Now now. All my many right wing friends in real life and here on MetaFilter keep me absolutely rolling on the floor with laughter....but I'm not so sure that's what you were asking.

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:12 PM on December 21, 2003


foldy - Dean's working that issue quite deftly - brilliantly even, I'd say. Focus, focus, focus. Just like G W Bush. It all the comes back to "why won't the Bush Administration give any 9-11 information to the Kean commission?" Why not, indeed?
posted by troutfishing at 9:34 PM on December 21, 2003


Oops - dangerdangerdanger - grammatical degradation - Danger, danger.......
posted by troutfishing at 9:37 PM on December 21, 2003


Anyone engaging in such intentional misreadings of Dean's statement is really underestimating the public (I don't direct this to you, hama7, as it is pretty clear that you didn't even read the actual transcript, but rather just took your cues from a warblog and started bleating). So are those who pretend not to know that he is 100% correct when he says Americans are no safer now than they were a week ago. The pundits might fear the idea of a politician not reating the public like children, but I don't think the people do. I guess we'll see next fall...

and amberglow-
You're cracking me up. I guess Tom Ridge must be an America-hating left-wing loony. I always suspected him. I wonder if this means that we can dispense with the fiction that Hussein's capture in any way effected out national security?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:00 PM on December 21, 2003


Think Again: We Are No Safer
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on December 21, 2003


US Saddam claims being challenged
from The Age with Telegraph, AFP

...early on Sunday, a Kurdish language wire service reported explicitly: "Saddam Hussein was captured by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. A special intelligence unit led by Qusrat Rasul Ali, a high-ranking member of the PUK, found Saddam Hussein in the city of Tikrit, his birthplace. Qusrat's team was accompanied by a group of US soldiers. Details of the capture will emerge but the global Kurdish party is about to begin.

...the Americans had insisted that it be an American arrest because they worried that such a coup for the Kurds might provoke an Arab-Kurd civil war.


Hmmm... ladies and gentleman they got 'im?
posted by Onanist at 12:13 AM on December 22, 2003


I'm with amberglow....quivering with gladness and patriotic fervor that The Capture of Evil Saddam (The Terrorist Mastermind) has made us safer from escalation to The Dreaded Level Orange Terrorist Attack Level.

and, so much for that.
posted by quonsar at 1:19 AM on December 22, 2003


so much for what? that orange thing? it was announced yesterday around noon.
posted by shoos at 1:39 AM on December 22, 2003


foldy: No insult intended but on one side you've got a source that is pretty even when dishing it out to both sides and we have you who has demonstrated a pretty clear bias.

But I think the bigger issue has to do with whether or not Dean's remarks are effective. Recently the Economist noted that the people who hate Bush the most may be the very people who secure his re-election. Whether or not that's Dean's theory, it's being reported as such and the fact that he keeps repeating it only adds to the impression that he gives the theory some credibility. Unfortunately, if his goal is to generate public pressure for the release of the documents or to do damage to Bush he's probably doing more harm to himself than he is to Bush. The only people he stirs up with that kind of accusation (or repeating of an accusation) are the people who would never vote for Bush under any circumstances. Meanwhile, the majority of liberals and undeclareds hear that kind of stuff and think the guy has a few screws loose. What's next? Will Dean (or his supporters) start claiming that the color of some fruit is proof . . . never mind. :-)

I don't support the information being witheld but at the same time I think Dean is making damn sure the information is never released.
posted by billman at 4:03 AM on December 22, 2003


(ween)
There are many colors in the terror rainbow...
(/ween)
posted by nath at 4:28 AM on December 22, 2003


obfusciatrist, can't you see how busy we are engaging in rank speculation? Please don't bother us with pesky things like "facts" or "logic." I don't care how many AP or Reuters photographers were there: The fruit is fucking yellow, man!
posted by pardonyou? at 6:39 AM on December 22, 2003


The fruit is fucking yellow, man!

If the fruit is yellow, you've got the right fellow!
posted by kindall at 7:23 AM on December 22, 2003


Whether or not that's Dean's theory, it's being reported as such and the fact that he keeps repeating it only adds to the impression that he gives the theory some credibility.

He doesn't repeat it on purpose, he just keeps getting asked about it by reporters.

I don't support the information being witheld but at the same time I think Dean is making damn sure the information is never released.

Yeah, the same media that insists on purposefully misquoting him and never asking these questions themselves will surely fight for our right to know.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:01 AM on December 22, 2003


If the fruit is yellow, you've got the right fellow!

If the fruit is green, vote for Dean.
posted by clavdivs at 8:08 AM on December 22, 2003


Comments regarding the soldier's "cold weather uniforms": it was a night raid, easy taking off than adding & most soldiers have exceeded their original deployment orders: wearing the uniform(s) they arrived in.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:30 AM on December 22, 2003


Albright was quotes upthread saying, "Mr. Kondracke immediately went on the air to repeat this comment, which was made to a person I thought was a friend...."

This is the crux of the problem for all Washington Democrats. They think people like Kondracke are their friends. They think they are in with the in-crowd.

Is it any wonder why Gephardt and Kerry are having trouble inspiring the people in their own party?
posted by xian at 12:51 PM on December 22, 2003


this is interesting, and not an oped, but an ed ...But the capture does nothing directly to secure the United States from the danger posed by terrorism.

That's because the war on terrorism has nothing to do with Iraq. Saddam was an ogre who can legitimately be charged with crimes against humanity, genocide and assorted other nasty behaviors. But there's no evidence he was an international terrorist, and that's not likely to change no matter how many times the Bush administration says it knows he was.


xian: you're right--the game has changed but washington dems haven't changed the way they play.
posted by amberglow at 5:38 PM on December 22, 2003


UPDATE: Kurdish leader knocks down rumors
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:29 AM on December 23, 2003


The Conspiratorial Mind of the Arab World - Robert Spencer
posted by hama7 at 3:35 PM on January 8, 2004


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