for a different perspective.
April 10, 2003 4:03 PM   Subscribe
posted by crunchland (22 comments total)
10 million visits in 3 weeks?
in soviet union, bandwidth abuse YOU.
posted by quonsar at 4:25 PM on April 10, 2003

oh god no leave the soviet union stuff on /.
posted by xmutex at 4:32 PM on April 10, 2003

thrid psot

what's /. ?

Anyways, what should I be looking for on this page?
posted by angry modem at 4:36 PM on April 10, 2003

Any info on this site as to where Russia and France are harboring saddam?
posted by Trik at 4:38 PM on April 10, 2003

I live in the Bay Area, and as such am full up on different perspectives. I don't even remember what I think about all this anymore.
posted by padraigin at 4:51 PM on April 10, 2003

A-10 shot down? It got hit, sure... but I don't see it getting shot down. It still has both wings, and we all know that there Warthog can fly back on just one.
posted by linux at 4:55 PM on April 10, 2003

/. ==
posted by fishfucker at 4:56 PM on April 10, 2003

He knew what slashdot was. "Thrid psot" was a pretty accurate reference to a slashdot conversation.
posted by stopgap at 5:05 PM on April 10, 2003

In reality, thanks in a big part to you, the popularity of the “War in Iraq” grew beyond our wildest expectations.

posted by rhruska at 5:31 PM on April 10, 2003

This site is essentially fan fiction. The 'translator' Venik is apparently well known for having trolled rec.aviation.military with wildly improbably claims -- based upon supposed Russian intelligence -- about massive, covered-up NATO losses in Kosovo and Serbia. (These also appeared on his website). Quite how he gained access to this 'intelligence' isn't exactly clear, seeing how he was a college student in the States at the time with no apparent military background.

Do a search for 'Venik' under Google Groups. See also here (scroll down to March 27.) The impression I get is that he's a military fantasist with above average HTML skills and a psychic need to see US soldiers being hurt by Soviet munitions.

Whether he's also responsible for what gets posted to (rather than just translating it) is another issue, I guess. But the fact that iraqwar describes itself as being put together by 'journalists' and 'military experts' doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I'm sure that a suitably deluded website designer and regular reader of 'Jane's Defence Weekly' could come to think of himself as both.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:01 PM on April 10, 2003

There's very few unbiased Russian sources. I've looked at a number of Russian online news sites out of curiosity. The reporting goes somewhat like this:

Reuters: US soldiers triumphant in Baghdad (translated): Looters and marauders have absolute control of Baghdad

Reuters: US forces take over Baghdad airport Iraqis knock the Americans out of Baghdad airport

The problem is that the Russian news often cite dubious sources (anywhere from small-time radical Arabic networks to Iraq's ex-minister of information himself) and present their statements as proven facts.

It's not truly a different perspective, as Russians have very few reporters on the scene. I would instead call it a skewed presentation of the perspectives of others.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:16 PM on April 10, 2003

come on, crunchland. at least try to help this site live up to the "filter" part of its name.
posted by oog at 6:29 PM on April 10, 2003 is presents a biased, agenda-laden unilateral view and are clearly out to discredit the coalition and push their own political agenda.

[thinks about this for a while]

But it's still better than FOXNews and CNN.
posted by spazzm at 7:30 PM on April 10, 2003


I don't want to defend its legitimacy -- that for you to do on your own. But I think it's at least remotely interesting to see it as an opposing view from the stuff that streams out of the Pentagon and White House.
posted by crunchland at 7:41 PM on April 10, 2003

padraigin, what does living in the Bay Area have to do with being "full up" different perspectives?
posted by Potsy at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2003 was billed as uncensored analysis from the Russian GRU, or Main Intelligence Administration (essentially the analysis wing of the KGB and complement to the modern FSB); but that was apparently only one part of the site, which announced April 9 that its release of analyses would end, and revealed that the authorial voice "Ramzaj" represented, supposedly, a kind of Russian STRATFOR -- retired military/intel types banding together to sell their services on the open market. This claim remains highly suspect; their reputation is closer to that of Debka, which appears at times to be a propaganda arm of Mossad. Though some readers praised for its detailed battle reports, even hour-by-hour street fighting in cities, others questioned how it could get such detailed information and why those with access would simply release it. Also, their US casualty figures were always grossly inflated.

It's interesting that they bought the "exhausted, overstretched Coalition advance" psy-op, including the Euphrates feint, hook, line and sinker. Or perhaps they're not working for whom they say they're working.
posted by dhartung at 10:30 PM on April 10, 2003

Darn. On second glance, my first comment looks a little odd. I was referring only to the supposed 'Russian military intel updates' based on radio interceptions archived under 'events', not the whole site. These were a lot more prominent on the site a couple of weeks ago, when they were being linked to widely as genuine GRU intelligence. They're not, as the site's author(s) now acknowledge:

Our updates were not genuine materials from any of Russian or other special services, but rather an “intellectual product” of the group itself, product of its operative, informational and analytical abilities. But compiling the updates we used materials available from our friends from special information structures. The very form “operativnaya informatsiya” never claimed to be “military information updates” but served as additional data for self-dependent analysis.

I take this to mean that at all the 'updates' were in fact speculation based on a 'reading between the lines', rather than solid intelligence drawn from some independent authority. So, essentially what Krrrlson said.

(and, on preview, dhartung)
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:54 PM on April 10, 2003

The picture of the "huge crowds of Iraqi celebrators" is worth the price of admission. Ha, I knew it was a propoganda photo-op!
posted by sic at 2:49 AM on April 11, 2003

As far as posting "inflated US casulties", there is no proof that this is true, unless of course you take CENTCOM's word as scripture as to the number of casulties on both sides. Logic would state that Venik's numbers are closer to reality (although surely not nearly 100% accurate) as the numbers given out by the Pentagon are ludicrous.

For more a more detailed discussion about this very subject, I suggest checking out the DailyKos web log. It may not change your mind, but it may give you a broader perspective on this important issue.
posted by sic at 2:57 AM on April 11, 2003

Its probably too late for this, but it is possible that these sources are both intercepted Iraqi military communications and totally false. Iraq, like many Arab armies, has a huge problem with getting accurate information from subordinates in the field. During the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqis stopped using reports from their own commanders, since they were often inaccurate and self-serving, and instead relied on intercepted enemy communications for planning!
posted by ednopantz at 5:32 AM on April 11, 2003

This analysis of the Iwo Jima shot of monumental Saddam tumbling down makes a damned good case that it was all a Potemkin village.
posted by hairyeyeball at 5:37 AM on April 11, 2003

sic: I am referring not to CENTCOM reports of enemy casualties, but as in my phrasing, to US casualties. Some of the older reports (I have no idea where to find them on the revamped site) suggested CENTCOM was keeping secret "hundreds" of US wounded and killed in places like Nasiriya. Some of these reports made it to international media. Some accounts of the fighting in Nasiriya and Basra here; tell me if you still believe their accuracy. 40 KIAs in one day alone? doubtful (the largest one-day figure I could find was 12).

This is not to deny that CENTCOM was making its own bullish estimates of casualties. There were two problems with those: often, reporters would confuse military terminology such as "casualties" with "killed" or "destroyed" with, well, "all killed" (in fact destroyed means something like 30% killed and fighting effectiveness ended). This just happened the last two days: a report of "23 Marines killed" was actually "22 casualties, 1 KIA"; and "4 killed in suicide bombing" was also "4 casualties" (at this writing, 2 KIA, but only after reaching hospital).

There are two problems with the material. One is that it's open-source intelligence, as they later revealed: they're not using secret reports, they're just trying to listen in to phone and radio traffic and press reports from many sources. It's subject to the fog of war as much as it is to propaganda at the source.

The second problem seems to be one of perception. The GRU/Ramzaj folks appeared to be taking a more-or-less Russian doctrinal view of the battles: if US troops failed to take a neighborhood house by house, they were seen as losing a battle, when that was never their objective. Reconnaissance in force -- loosely, driving around to attract fire -- was treated as failed advances. Partly this may stem from backing the Russian view, i.e. unconscious propaganda weighing in favor of the Iraqis. But partly it also seems to have been a fundamental misassessment of the US approach. Arguably, if one would go about it honestly, one could say that the US approach is itself flawed, that one cannot say that "Nasiriyah is secured" unless the enemy are all dead and there is no guerrilla activity, and that by ignoring this the US is setting itself up for longer-term problems. But it was also a matter of seeing trees but not the forest: the US strategy -- literally termed "inside-out" -- was to reach Baghdad and eliminate the seat of Ba'athist power, and hope that they could end centralized resistance throughout the country. For the most part, that has happened -- so by concentrating on battlefield minutia , such as "the US battalion failed to secure the neighborhood and was beaten back", they're missing a major part of the story.
posted by dhartung at 4:47 PM on April 11, 2003

« Older Iraqui currency hot on the 'bay   |   Saddam sightings. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments