making shit up
July 24, 2005 9:19 PM   Subscribe

Identical quotations and the truth, as disseminated by the US Military ...Following a car bombing in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military issued a statement with a quotation attributed to an unidentified Iraqi that was virtually identical to a quote reacting to an attack on July 13. ... (quotes inside)
posted by amberglow (85 comments total)

 
Following are the two quotes as provided by the U.S. military in news releases:

Sunday's news release said: "'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."

The July 13 news release said: "'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.'"

posted by amberglow at 9:20 PM on July 24, 2005


When your false 'average Iraqi' response has to be automated... well... you are an enemy of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics.
posted by thanatogenous at 9:28 PM on July 24, 2005


Does propaganda like this suprise anyone?
posted by Balisong at 9:28 PM on July 24, 2005


er surprise.
posted by Balisong at 9:28 PM on July 24, 2005


amberglow, I have been a fan of yours for some time. I have to ask now, though, where exactly does this post take us? What am I to learn here? The U.S. sucks and lies? PR is bullshit?

Maybe I'm just jaded , but isn't this kind of thing to be expected?
posted by snsranch at 9:30 PM on July 24, 2005


I find it ironic that this "revelation" comes from the same "news source" that "mistakenly" posted satellite pictures of North Korean nuclear reactors as supposed Iranian nuclear reactors — the very same "news source" that keeps that traitorous scumbag Robert Novak on the payroll after outing a CIA operative.

Always question the source. CNN can't be trusted for anything, frankly, and their faux-outrage-flavored coverage of this illegal war is laughable.
posted by Rothko at 9:38 PM on July 24, 2005


isn't this kind of thing to be expected?

Only from those deserve no respect.
posted by ook at 9:39 PM on July 24, 2005


those who deserve
posted by ook at 9:40 PM on July 24, 2005


snsranch - yes, we're all fucking jaded; but at least we know why. There are a lot of people who take "news" at face value - and these people should be given the opportunity to see why "we're" jaded - and maybe if there are enough new members to the Jaded Club maybe, just maybe, we (and the new membrs to the Jaded Club) can do something about this sickening PR.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:42 PM on July 24, 2005


whom deserve :P.

amberflow, i find this story very interesting. But shouldn't the ffp be more than a link to one news story if you're going to bother posting it?
posted by Happydaz at 9:46 PM on July 24, 2005


To be honest, I'd be a lot more likely to believe this is an "administrative error" if the quotes were exactly identical.

The fact that [group being attacked here] is the only variable that changes is definitely what makes it stink of boilerplate PR originally "said" by a white guy with a pen in an office.
posted by invitapriore at 9:51 PM on July 24, 2005


I think anything else would have taken away from the very noteworthy fact that for the first time a mainstream media organization has pointed out a recycled "quote" in the military press releases they otherwise so dutifully disseminate each day for the past few years.
posted by amberglow at 9:53 PM on July 24, 2005


I'll throw this in: ... it seems to me that it's up to all of us to try to tell the truth, to say what we know, to say what we don't know, and recognize that we're dealing with people that are perfectly willing to, to lie to the world to attempt to further their case and to the extent people lie of, ultimately they are caught lying and they lose their credibility and one would think it wouldn't take very for that to happen dealing with people like this" --Rumsfeld
posted by amberglow at 10:02 PM on July 24, 2005


Amberglow, I agree. It is interesting that CNN caught this and then published it. It may just be possible the the US media is finally starting to remember that it's supposed to ask questions and do actually reporting and not just copy-and-paste the White House press releases.
posted by octothorpe at 10:03 PM on July 24, 2005


I think the cracks are starting to show in the mask of compliance nearly everyone donned after 9/11. As for those who think this should be expected, I offer any quote from Orwell.
posted by Busithoth at 10:08 PM on July 24, 2005


here's the actual most recent report from DOD containing the recycled and altered quote

(who wants to check all the other quotes in it to see if they've been used before?)
posted by amberglow at 10:09 PM on July 24, 2005


Oh, come on - why do you always think the worst about people? Isn't it obvious they asked the same "one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified" twice? What if he just happens to be the base janitor? Or even Omar from Iraq, the Model. Perhaps that is what "model" means here, as Gilbert and Sullivan would have it, very model of a modern one Iraqi man who prefers not to be identified.
posted by nkyad at 10:58 PM on July 24, 2005


While many (most?) Americans can't help but think of the Army as honest (because they're the "good guys"), the reality is that you really can trust very little they tell you about an ongoing war. The information battle is just another front in the war: of course they lie. You can understand why they lie.

The trouble, of course, is how the fuck do you reconcile that with a democratic republic's ideals? It is supposed to be my job, and your job, to analyze this war and decide if it's going the way we think it should, and decide whether or not to make a change in the leadership when it comes time to vote.

Well how the fuck do you do that when all the information fed to you about said war is pure propaganda, plain and simple? I don't have a clue. The naive answer is to assume the news media understand the fact that the military is not reliable, and that they thus strive to attain some non-Army viewpoint on the war. But that's fucking laughable. Quiz: how many non-embedded reporters were there in the initial invasion? Use that as your guide. Embeds were propaganda agents for the US military. The media didn't complain a whit. Shows you how much they give a shit about finding some kind of reality in the situation.

This is a really difficult question for a democracy, that most people just don't want to think about, because it seems to point towards a frighteningly small change from the time of kings in the ability of those in power to wage war.
posted by teece at 11:07 PM on July 24, 2005


amberglow,

this is a great post.

and those of you who are all, "wtf, of course theyre liars"... once your outrage turns into apathy, you're no better than clueless joe sixpacks who refuse to believe that their government lies to the public about serious things.

i can accept the "will they never stop lying to us?" but i cannot accept the "i expect to be lied to so this means nothing to me."
posted by tsarfan at 12:03 AM on July 25, 2005


Also, the repeated quote in question is a Bush quote. You can't make this stuff up ....
posted by kenlayne at 12:17 AM on July 25, 2005


this is a great post.

How is it a great post? Seriously, what is your criteria? A link to a single cnn page? Or is it an important topic, so it becomes a great post? Or do you agree with the post, and that makes it great?

I'd love to hear your reasons, because honestly, I doubt you have any to back up your claim.
posted by justgary at 12:24 AM on July 25, 2005


"They are enemies of humanity, without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today, and I will now take the fight to the terrorists."

Maybe the Iraqis should invade Saudi Arabia to "take the fight to the terrorists" since that's where 61% of the foreign fighters in Iraq come from. Fight them abroad so you don't have to fight them at home Mr. Unidentified Iraqi Man.
posted by euphorb at 12:42 AM on July 25, 2005


Don't you mean "as disassembled by the US Military"?
posted by blendor at 12:53 AM on July 25, 2005


Need I say more?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:48 AM on July 25, 2005


"They have attacked my community today, and I will now take the fight to the terrorists."

That sort of blundering, inept attempt at manufacturing quotations from "real people" sounds unpleasantly like China's.
I'm not trying to hyperbolise, it really does fit, and it says something about a country's establishments when it can't remember what the real "real people" sound like.
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:43 AM on July 25, 2005



posted by insomnia_lj at 2:59 AM on July 25, 2005


"Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar."
posted by flagellum at 3:00 AM on July 25, 2005


You all forget there'll be another reaction to this, that of people who will just think: oh see, they can't even find someone who is genuinely against terrorism down there, those ungrateful bastards, we should bomb more of them.
posted by funambulist at 3:09 AM on July 25, 2005


more than they're doing already, it's probably technically impossible
posted by matteo at 3:31 AM on July 25, 2005


I think that was a quote from "Old Shoe", wasn't it?

Thanks insomina_lj!
posted by nofundy at 5:23 AM on July 25, 2005


whom deserve :P.
posted by Happydaz at 9:46 PM PST on July 24

No.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:13 AM on July 25, 2005


Optimus: Yes, "whom." Reason? "From." (Object of a preposition). Your grammar lesson for the day has concluded.

"'The Coalition is attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the Coalition.'"
What? Anybody can do it...

"'Metafilter is attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to Metatalk.'"
Write your own releases, kids!
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 AM on July 25, 2005


Maybe I'm just jaded , but isn't this kind of thing to be expected?

Sure, but the point is that it shouldn't be. If we all just sit back and say, "Oh well, of course they lie," we are tacitly accepting that it's okay to lie to us. And that's not okay.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:55 AM on July 25, 2005


a lot of people who take "news" at face value - and these people should be given the opportunity to see why "we're" jaded - and maybe if there are enough new members to the Jaded Club maybe, just maybe, we (and the new membrs to the Jaded Club) can do something about this sickening PR.

Except some of us already went through this. I was in eighth grade, and every week the news out of Vietnam was how many hundreds of N. Vietnamese/VietCong had died, and only 6 US soldiers. And at age 12 my classmates and I were saying, "Then why the hell are WE losing?"

Every generation you're going to have X number of people gullible enough to believe the government is always Pure and Good, and that the lies they tell about war are Truth. This is what's so frustrating and deja vu and ultimately surreal.

Oh, and ninjapirate called it on the writing style of the quote. Mygawd, as a writer, how I hate releases that don't even sound the way *any* person speaks, let alone the obvious fakery of this one.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2005


Oh shit.

Guys.

This FPP sucks! It only has one link in it! That is my one and only criteria for determining whether or not a post sucks because I am a freaking pedantic idiot!

Put another link into the FPP please, amberglow, so I can stop being such a whiny little bitch.
posted by wakko at 7:08 AM on July 25, 2005


Well, damn. Now I'm going to have to start questioning material which comes out of the US Administration and the US military. This is a shock and a shame, since those sources have always been so consistently honest and reliable before now.

"Administrative error". I like that. Somebody at the Ministry of Truth screwed up.
posted by Decani at 7:48 AM on July 25, 2005


Optimus: Yes, "whom." Reason? "From." (Object of a preposition). Your grammar lesson for the day has concluded.

I get the "from whom" part, but the word "those" in between them makes it sound rather disjointed and hideous; however, I have reread it and concede to your wisdom. My apologies, Happydaz.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 AM on July 25, 2005


I hate myself for this, but:

Optimus: Yes, "whom." Reason? "From." (Object of a preposition). Your grammar lesson for the day has concluded.

When correcting another, it is often best not to be rude about it, in case you are wrong.

In this case, "those" is the object of the preposition. "Who" is a relative, and is the subject of the verb "deserve". Therefore, "from those who deserve".
posted by tannhauser at 8:38 AM on July 25, 2005


I will now take the fight to the terrorists

The public affairs officer who wrote that text should be SO fired. It's total milspeak. If you're gonna fake quotes from the man in the street, you've got to make some effort to abandon your own jargon and use his vernacular.

signed, Have Spent Entire Life Immersed in Military Culture
posted by ereshkigal45 at 8:46 AM on July 25, 2005


I will now take the fight to the terrorists

The public affairs officer who wrote that text should be SO fired. It's total milspeak. If you're gonna fake quotes from the man in the street, you've got to make some effort to abandon your own jargon and use his vernacular.

signed, Have Spent Entire Life Immersed in Military Culture
posted by ereshkigal45 at 8:46 AM on July 25, 2005


"How is it a great post? Seriously, what is your criteria?"

Drama. Worthy of discussion. In any drama there is conflict. This is a good post because in discussion there are opposing sides. There is this "this sucks" and variants side, there is the apathetic "let's just let the jackals finish eating us" side, and the third side side which includes the Elvis shooting the T.V. this ain't no good" side and the opposition to it side.

I'm on the outraged yet appreciative side, since I don't like being pissed on and told it's raining, but I do enjoy the obvious fact the fools who shovel this agit-prop are lazy, stupid, and probably apathetic which justifies my superiority complex.

There are so many opportunities to be great lately. Greatness can be thrust upon anyone who so much as stands up for what is right & true.
I'd do it, but A. I've never wanted to be a 'great' man and B. I'm kinda tangled in family stuff right now. Hopefully a few years from now they're still lying to us - perhaps worse - so I get the chance to really deliver some of my own boot to asses.

It'd be some great drama.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:47 AM on July 25, 2005


"From those whom deserve" is just plain incorrect. The correct phrasing would be "from those who deserve." Who is not the object of from.

Now your grammar lesson is complete.

Sorry for the derail, but that grammar "correction" was so flagrantly wrong that I felt the need to reply.
posted by oaf at 8:58 AM on July 25, 2005


In fact, it was so flagrantly wrong that I felt the need to reply without previewing. Oy.
posted by oaf at 9:06 AM on July 25, 2005


The public affairs officer who wrote that text should be SO fired. It's total milspeak.

This was my thinking... does it make any sense for an Iraqi bystander to declare a desire to take the fight to the terrorists? The fight is in a very real and beautiful sense already right there. Is there even a concept in Arabic that equates to "taking the fight to"?
posted by tannhauser at 9:07 AM on July 25, 2005


I for one, apologize for the grammar derail. (It really isn't whom? Dammit.) [digs hole, buries self.]
posted by Happydaz at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2005


For whom the bell tolls. It's ringing for them, him - object ... thus, whom

For those who deserve. Who deserves it? They do. They is a subject, thus, who.

The who deserve functions as an adjective (modiying those) and thus has nothing to do with the preposition.
posted by faux ami at 9:56 AM on July 25, 2005


Oh, okay. The first time I apologize I turn out to be right. I learned a valuable lesson today. :)

Oh and uh: geez amberglow another link to the government lying to us merf merf merf this isn't best of the web you should be ashamed and stop posting embarassing stories because of the troops and they are in danger and what about when Newsweek ran the Qu'ran story Valerie Plame outed herself and Kerry hates babies the end.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:23 AM on July 25, 2005


What's new? When I was a police reporter in Dallas, the opposing reporter used to call in his stories, quoting an unnamed officer at the scene (of a car crash, fire, whatever) as saying "It was awful." One night, the city desk asked the reporter to get something fresh to quote. So Johnny replied quickly: "It was awful, simply awful," the officer said.
posted by rotoman at 10:29 AM on July 25, 2005


Right. So corrected. Sorry.
Misread the object.
posted by klangklangston at 10:47 AM on July 25, 2005


Now I'm really wishing I hadn't tried to correct the omitted word in the first place
posted by ook at 10:52 AM on July 25, 2005


Every generation you're going to have X number of people gullible enough to believe the government is always Pure and Good, and that the lies they tell about war are Truth.

And on Metafilter, you have 25,000 people (minus ten percent or so) who are gullible enough to believe the government would be Pure and Good, if only it were being run by progressives.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:02 AM on July 25, 2005


And on Metafilter, you have 25,000 people (minus ten percent or so) who are gullible enough to believe the government would be Pure and Good, if only it were being run by progressives.

Nice way to speak for vast swaths of people at a time, kwantsar.

As usual, it all boils down to two sides, doesn't it? Liberals vs. Conservatives; Progressives vs.--well, whatever you want to call them today. Every discussion can be reduced to two points of view; everything that happens is either good or bad. Nothing ever slips through the cracks and just happens, or represents a third (or gasp--even a fourth) point of view.

My argument isn't that we need "progressives"; it's that on all sides, we need to bring a more realistic and modest understanding of what human beings (leaders or otherwise) are capable of to bear on how we conduct our politics and everyday lives.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 11:22 AM on July 25, 2005


America: Let's just let the jackals finish eating us.
posted by euphorb at 11:41 AM on July 25, 2005


America: Let's just let the jackals finish eating us.

supersized, with fries?
posted by amberglow at 11:51 AM on July 25, 2005


As usual, it all boils down to two sides, doesn't it? Liberals vs. Conservatives; Progressives vs.--well, whatever you want to call them today. Every discussion can be reduced to two points of view; everything that happens is either good or bad. Nothing ever slips through the cracks and just happens, or represents a third (or gasp--even a fourth) point of view.

Jeez. It was a throwaway remark, for the most part. The only point I was trying to make is that much of the MeFi left argues that government and regulation are the cure for all of our ills while concurrently arguing that the Iraq war is a giant clusterfuck, mismanaged by a cadre of incompetent fools. It seems rather silly (to me) that one would argue that government is duplicitous and untrustworthy while demanding bigger and broader government programs.

Seriously. You trust the government to write telecom policy and manage health care, but when it comes to waging a war, it's all LIARS! LIARS!

For pointing out such a contradiction and believing that the government is universally incompetent and destructive, I am often called a dimwit or an ideologue who fails to grasp subtlety and nuance.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:06 PM on July 25, 2005


For pointing out such a contradiction and believing that the government is universally incompetent and destructive, I am often called a dimwit or an ideologue who fails to grasp subtlety and nuance.

That's a shame, because you're absolutely right, IMO. But in my view, it isn't simply "the government" that's universally incompotent and destructive, because we find pretty much the same kinds of problems in the private sector, the non-profit world, and pretty much everywhere else. Certain kinds of people are the problem--specifically, certain kinds of people that we're most likely to entrust with leadership responsibilities... People like these.
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:18 PM on July 25, 2005


I am often called a dimwit or an ideologue who fails to grasp subtlety and nuance.

Gee, I wonder where people get that?
posted by nofundy at 12:19 PM on July 25, 2005


and did i mention, "pretty much" enough times? (me try to edit comments gooder next time...)
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 12:22 PM on July 25, 2005


all-seeing eye dog- I thought it was a literary device.
posted by pointilist at 12:31 PM on July 25, 2005


...much of the MeFi left argues that government and regulation are the cure for all of our ills while concurrently arguing that the Iraq war is a giant clusterfuck, mismanaged by a cadre of incompetent fools.

First, I don't think that most of MeFi thinks that government and regulation are the cure for all our ills. Second, I don't see what national health care has to do with the opinion that Iraq is being mismanaged. And finally, please place me firmly in the group espousing that the Iraq occupation is a giant clusterfuck, mismanaged by a cadre of incompetent fools.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:31 PM on July 25, 2005


Second, I don't see what national health care has to do with the opinion that Iraq is being mismanaged.

Is the comparison really that hard to grasp? My point wasn't very novel, or even clever. To rephrase it: Given the government's track record of incompetence and dishonesty relating to Iraq and national security, why would someone trust it to administer a health-care scheme?

The comparison is apt, in my opinion, because each is a complex system, full of self-interested actors with differing (and sometimes opposite) goals, rents, agency costs, friction, and a giant, steaming pile of unintended consequences.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:41 PM on July 25, 2005


Unlike, for instance, my HMO?
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:50 PM on July 25, 2005


Kwantsar- We need to call liar on them all, as appropriate. My brother worked for the EPA as a lawyer and ended up very disillusioned with the system. But because the system has been perverted does not mean it's original goal is irrelevant or unnessasary. It does not mean that the impulse to correct what is out of place is mistaken. I see no contradiction in saying we need to look out for each other and saying the goverment is lying here. Fix it so we can start taking better care of ourselves.
posted by pointilist at 1:10 PM on July 25, 2005


The HMOs have to go too. Kwantsar will probably agree with me when I say that the only reason this corrupt healthscam has persisted this long is not because "the marketplace fails to correct for such things" but because the whole system, from insurance to hospital to billing agency is being propped up with our tax dollars.

The scam is maintained through contracts, rotten regulations, subsidies, and the ever-increasing general trend of both overt and subtle corporate welfare.

Cut off the head, and the body will die.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:12 PM on July 25, 2005


The comparison is apt, in my opinion, because each is a complex system, full of self-interested actors with differing (and sometimes opposite) goals, rents, agency costs, friction, and a giant, steaming pile of unintended consequences.

Unlike, for instance, my HMO?

Exactly. To me, it all comes down to the limits of the human capacity for managing complexity in whatever form--we like to create conceptual entities like "governments" and "corporations" to try to diffuse the blame, but ultimately, all our problems come down to individuals making self-interested choices, based on an imperfect understanding of their particular situation. Governments aren't any more or less of a threat than corporations or other collectivist entities (I would actually argue they're more or less the same thing, only with different power mechanisms). They're all basically big machines made of people. What I think you guys are doing (Kwantsar and leftcoastbob) is seeing the same problem from two different points of view and mistakenly concluding that one or the other must be correct, when in fact, there's nothing precluding both positions from being correct, if the original positions are modified slightly (namely, in identifying bad leadership as the root cause of both government and corporate corruption).
posted by all-seeing eye dog at 1:15 PM on July 25, 2005


Where Kwanstar and I differ, I think, is that I believe that this administration is a giant clusterfuck, mismanaged by a cadre of incompetent fools, as Kwanstar so aptly put it.

To be perfectly frank, I would prefer to have my HMO in charge of the Iraq occupation than to have George Bush in charge of it.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:21 PM on July 25, 2005


To me, it all comes down to the limits of the human capacity for managing complexity in whatever form

A good argument for local economies, or tribal groups, or city states...
posted by iamck at 1:29 PM on July 25, 2005


For pointing out such a contradiction and believing that the government is universally incompetent and destructive, I am often called a dimwit or an ideologue who fails to grasp subtlety and nuance.

Kwanstar, that's because the "contradiction" is largely in your head. If we're going to paint with broad strokes, let me retort:

You're idea of what the government is is childish. The "government" is not some magical entity with only the ability to fuck things up. And that's often what I hear from the Kwanstar side (whatever side that is). You are the government. I am the government. It's just us. Soylent green is people.

If you want to talk about nuance, why don't you actually bother to try and understand some? The problem many see is a lack of regulation: so it is completely logical to assume that more regulation would fix things. There is no contradiction in that: that's a logical ploy you use to try and artificially elevate your argument. You simply have a different world-view.

Bully for you. The trouble is, your world-view, while masked in a quaint bit of cynicism, is actually painfully naive. Societies exist where the government is the neutered entity the Kwanstar side seems to argue for: the societies are almost complete shit-holes.

If you don't like the gross over-generalization in this comment, perhaps you could try and avoid it yourself.
posted by teece at 3:30 PM on July 25, 2005


Complexity? This seems like an unintentional error to any of you?
posted by dreamsign at 3:40 PM on July 25, 2005


You asserting that I am the government doesn't make it so, teece. And if you're the government, I kindly request that you stop killing innocent people.

Keep buying into the fatal conceit, and keep telling the Kwantsars that the solution for government ineptitude is more government.

And that's a nice trick, there, where you hint that the neutered government is the cause of shitholedom.

I'll make you a deal. I'll take Hong Kong and you can have North Korea. Singapore for Myanmar? Luxembourg for Libya?
posted by Kwantsar at 3:47 PM on July 25, 2005


That unidentified Iraqi is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:58 PM on July 25, 2005


Hong Kong is ruled by Beijing now. Singapore is one of the most restrictive societies around, where even gum-chewing gets you fined/put in jail. You list places with very strong governments that are very intrusive--what's up with that?
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on July 25, 2005


I am the government. It's just us.

The government is "just people," the way a corporation is "just people," which is to say, not at all.

There are huge processes at work, and just because these processes occur on a substrate of humans doesn't mean those humans have much control over what direction things move.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:31 PM on July 25, 2005


amberglow-- according to Heritage, they're the economically freest places in the world. Their governments don't regulate commerce.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:38 PM on July 25, 2005


There are huge processes at work, and just because these processes occur on a substrate of humans doesn't mean those humans have much control over what direction things move.
posted by sonofsamiam at 5:31 PM PST on July 25 [!]


I think I have a voice recording of William S. Burroughs saying how Govt. is a vast machine where someone gets called in to run it every four years or so. So many buttons and levers to fiddle with. The president calls in advisors to tell him what buttons to push.

I can't find the actual recording now, of course. but you get the picture.
posted by Balisong at 5:56 PM on July 25, 2005


"...free enterprise, [is] a term that refers, in practice, to a system of public subsidy and private profit, with massive government intervention in the economy to maintain a welfare state for the rich."

---Noam Chomsky
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:36 PM on July 25, 2005


economically free is meaningless without personal rights and freedoms. So i guess the rich in Singapore and Hong Kong are happy, huh? Bfd. What about the other 99%?
posted by amberglow at 6:44 PM on July 25, 2005


War of the words
BY: SECDEF, The Wall Street Journal*
07/18/2005

posted by amberglow at 7:30 PM on July 25, 2005


Kwantsar: And I'll take Sweden over Columbia; Canada over Bahrain. Any other false dichotomies we get to choose from? (Some regulation is always needed, but yes, it's often hard to tell exactly how much is enough, especially since the human lifespan isn't often long enough to appreciate the changes wrought.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:28 AM on July 26, 2005


klangklangston: I was responding to teece, who wrote that Societies exist where the government is the neutered entity the Kwanstar side seems to argue for: the societies are almost complete shit-holes.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:57 AM on July 26, 2005


Kwantsar: Fair enough, as you're not really arguing for a neutered government, except in terms of economic regulation. However, most of those places that you cited are still pretty heavily unequal in their distribution of money (which tends to mean a smaller middle class, which leads to a social dynamic that I don't prefer).
posted by klangklangston at 2:36 PM on July 26, 2005


Looks like discussion may shift to this new thread.
posted by ericb at 3:37 PM on July 26, 2005


'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists'

Please pardon me if anybody has made this point before, but to me that sounds 100% *EXACTLY* like the kind of phrasing that Dubya uses (or his speech-writers, as the case may be...)

At least they could have employed the scriptwriter from *The Bold and the Beautiful*, who used to put such colourful "arab" idioms into the mouth of Prince Omar. Allow me to suggest the following kind of quote:

"By the beard of the Prophet, it is said by the wise that the eagle is the noblest of all birds. And like the eagle, who rips out the entrails of the mangy cur, so shall the house of Omar wreak terrible revenge on the vile snakes who have perpetrated this cowardly deed"
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:18 PM on July 26, 2005


Ubu, those releases are written for our consumption, and not Iraqis--i'm sure they look at all the Bush speeches and pull from there. It's a pity they so suck at it.
posted by amberglow at 5:04 PM on July 26, 2005


Reuters newsman's letter regarding apparently fabricated quotes in news releases

Dear Colonel Boylan [Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a military spokesman],
I have attached below two obviously fictional "quotes" from bogus anonymous "Iraqis" included in press releases from the 3ID. The first is dated July 13, the second July 24. As you can see, they are identical.
If military units develop a habit of making things up, it hurts their mission, since it becomes difficult for us to believe anything they say.
For the attack of today, Sunday July 24, the 3ID issued a casualty figure of 40 civilians killed, nearly double the figure we received from Iraqi police. We have treated the 3ID's information with particular caution, given that other parts of their press release appear to have been invented.
Sincerely,
Peter Graff
Reuters

posted by amberglow at 5:15 PM on July 26, 2005


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