Last March, the White House put numerous Iraqi government documents online, hoping to "leverage the internet" to find evidence of Saddam's nuclear potential. After questioning from the New York Times this week, the site has now been shut down, as it has been revealed that the Bush administration, by publishing the information, may have publicly published detailed information on how to build atomic weapons. Right-wing bloggers, many of whom have been discussing the documents all year, have seen the sunny side of the news, claiming the real issue of the potential distribution of nuclear plans (which were dated pre-1991) is the "proof Saddam had a nuclear program."
Milestones. On the same day that Iraqi election officials have reported the draft constitution having passed, U.S. sources are reporting that the American military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,000 people.
Whitewashing Torture. "On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank 'Greg' Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard's 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac'd to a military medical center outside the country." (Salon, day pass req.)
Federally Funded Science Fiction. The CIA announced today that next month's final report on Iraq's weapons program under Saddam Hussein will mostly encompass an analysis of what they believe Iraq would be like through 2008 had Bush not invaded the country. Because when you want accurate, detailed analysis of the future of Iraq's weapons, you turn to the group that got it completely wrong during the present.
"Brat Pack" - the twentysomething Young Republicans who are running Iraq's economy. Their resumes all pulled from the conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation, they came to Iraq with no experience and found themselves with six-figure salaries managing the $13 billion budget of the Coalition Provisional Authority. An amazing article from The Washington Post that reads like the scariest season of MTV's The Real World ever.
How many misconceptions did you have, viewers? A study released today in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports a majority of Americans had "at least one" of the three largest misconceptions about the Iraq War. The study also ranks frequency of misconceptions by most commonly-used news source. Supporting or opposing the war, it's interesting to see just how many people had at least some of their facts wrong, and how much whoever was allegedly giving them their facts had to do with it.
The CBS News American Idol Power Hour. Viacom, owner of networks CBS and MTV among many others, is aggresively pushing lucrative
bribes offers for Private Jessica Lynch to get her on CBS News, including the possibility of her own video-hosting program on MTV and special editions of TRL. Corporate consolidation the way it is, are we in an era where synergy allows news-media-owning companies to offer not just material profit but flat-out media iconization in exchange for a good story? To put it another way: have we gone beyond using the news to promote entertainment owned by the same company to using entertainment as the currency to flat-out buy the news?
According to UPI, the United States has been offered by coalition partner Morocco its tide-turning force of 2,000 monkeys trained to detonate land mines. It wouldn't be so unbelievable if the U.S. wasn't already training dolphins and sea lions to do the same. Considering the carnage already happening to humans in Iraq, this news doesn't inspire thoughts of happy endings for our animal friends.