Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Letter to the Editor

I was leafing through some old local newspapers at work a couple of weeks ago when I read something on the letters page that caught my eye. Some toe-the-line Republican had written a factually bogus letter (nothing to do with his opinions but his misuse of hard facts) about various shennanigans in Iraq as a rebuttal to an earlier letter sent in by someone from the MoveOn wing of the Democratic Party. Yippee! I thought; This seems like my kind of fight!, so I wrote a rebuttal of the rebuttal and sent it along. Alas, it seems that the news cycle had passed by the time I got my missive in and it never made it to print (I did sent it two weeks after the Republican's letter, so..) or maybe it was so insufferably pompous the editor took one look at it and threw it in the trash. Either way, I think it is too good a letter to waste, so I'm going to reproduce it below. I only regret not keeping a copy of the original letter that sparked me off.

"To the editor,

In the April 1 edition of the Courier Gazette a letter from Dale L Sr of Camden sought to disprove assertions by an earlier correspondent concerning the use of white phosphrous during the recent campaign for the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Mr. L stated that he couldn't "find any mainline news articles that either claimed or verified" this statement.

A google search for the words "white phosphrous+Fallujah" returned 156,000 results in 0.25 seconds. Relevant stories from many august outlets, including the BBC, the London Independent, the Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, the Boston Globe, the London Times, and National Public Radio appeared in the first three pages of the search results. Furthermore, the BBC reported the following on November 16th, 2005:

'US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year's offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said. "It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants," (US Army) spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC.'

Then again, the US Army could well be lying to spite Mr. L, and surely the BBC cannot be considered "mainline news", can it? I mean, its foreign, for one thing.

To Mr. L's second point, regarding the imminent announcement that WMD were indeed stockpiled by the Hussein regime and have been cunningly stowed away, their location only to be revealed by painstaking translation of stacks of Arabic documents (like a middle eastern version of "The Da Vinci Code" apparently) I bet that the US inspection teams established post-war by the Bush Administration and lead by Charles Duelfer wish someone had told them that the hunt was still ongoing, as they stopped looking for weapons and declared the search over in April 2005.

The title you gave to Mr. L's letter was "lies or mistakes?". I would not accuse Mr. L of either but rather of wishful thinking. And regardless of what one feels about the rights and wrongs behind the war, surely isn't it wishful thinking- running in a thread from Mr. Bush's boosters to the Oval Office itself- that has caused this mission to be so beset with mistakes and failures?

Sincerely, etc...."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gert Lush rebuttal:)