Monday, August 13, 2007


Michael Yon describes how a widely held misperception can almost become reality if repeated often enough.

I write these words from Indonesia, soaking wet, having just returned from photographing rice paddies in a pouring rain, wearing a Florida Gators shirt. That means there is a green alligator on my chest. While supporting my team, my shirt perpetuates the myth that alligators are green, when in fact they are black when wet, gray when dry.The mantra that “there is no political progress in Iraq” is rapidly becoming the “surge” equivalent of a green alligator: when enough people repeat something that sounds plausible, but also happens to be false, it becomes accepted as fact.

The green alligator effect was in evidence at Nashua, NH when Barack Obama attempted to explain what he might do differently in Iraq. Philip Elliott of AP reports (emphasis mine):

Answering a question on how he would refocus U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism, he said, "We've to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Earlier this month, Obama drew criticism when he said he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission, if warranted.

North, who is considering an Obama endorsement and backed Howard Dean in 2004, praised Obama as someone fresh, but she said she worried that he was hurting himself.

Personally I'm not aware of any respectable source, even those that are opposed to the policy underlying OIF, that seriously maintain that Coalition forces are just "air-raiding villages" and tootling around "killing civilians". The recent Brookings Index on Iraq actually does describe the process of indiscriminately bombing villages and killing civilians, such as for example on Page 10. But these are attacks by al-Qaeda or terrorist insurgents. There are other tables depicting attacks by sectarian militias on civilians. There are tables describing homicides. But there are none describing the activity which Barack Obama says he will curb.

It's the Green Alligator, gawping in all its toothy magnificence.

Nothing follows.


Blogger Arthur Dent said...

More properly I believe it's the mean green meme, 'cold blooded alligator'.

8/13/2007 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

WHY does Obama believe this?

Because it makes him socially, morally, intellectually, and status superior to those "bloodthirsty" military men.

Sort of like Hillary had US Marines act as waiters in the White House.

8/13/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent post,but is anyone who is not a serious observer of things Islamo-fascist listening.
It still is remarkable that the liberal elites in this country have believed, preached, embraced, and bet all on American surrender and disgrace in the Middle East.
James Burnham had it right in "Suicide of the West". He just picked the wrong foe.

8/13/2007 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I used to think politicians knew better but merely repeated things like this because they thought it would play well with their constituents. I am beginning to think they are as willfully ignorant or ill-informed at best. My own Senator from TN, Lamar Alexander, I am convinced has no clue as to what the current surge is all about nor of the success it is having.

8/13/2007 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

More Green Gators from Pajamas Media.

Former MI-5 Agent and 9/11 conspiracy theories David Shayler claims he had been annointed by Mary Magdalene and annointed as the Messiah, according to Emil Steiner at the Washington Post. The Register has more details on his new revelations. "I believe no planes were involved in 9/11... The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes... Watch the footage frame by frame and you will see a cigar-shaped missile hitting the World Trade Center."

8/13/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"It still is remarkable that the liberal elites in this country have believed, preached, embraced, and bet all on American surrender and disgrace in the Middle East."

They aren't very smart. They compensate with cunning. The problem still being that they aren't very smart. Hence, their current dilemma with the apparent success of "the Surge". They got some time. They still cunning. Here come da green alligators....

Their not being very smart and half-assed cunning gets people, always not them, killed by the millions; a fact they glide by without glimmer of recognition. They are not very smart...and they are not moral, which is the essence of their evil.

8/13/2007 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obama accidentally read off a Vietnam Protest Leaflet.
AlJazeera English to air special on Asian labourers

DOHA • On August 18 at 1430 GMT, AlJazeera English will take a revealing look at the appalling conditions facing many of the 10m Asian labourers in the Gulf most of whom come from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, a channel release said yesterday.

During a three month investigation, Blood Sweat and Tears, AlJazeera English reporters gained unprecedented access to labour camps and workers in the region, demonstrating how the labourers' desire to help their families and improve their financial situation is exploited as they are forced to work in inhumane conditions far from home.

"I ask that my family not grieve for me…the financial pain I face here is too much." So read the suicide note of Selva Kumar Thangavel, an Indian labourer in Dubai who killed himself in 2005 after revealing that he was unable to repay the $1,200 illegal finder fee to the agent who recruited him.

According to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, in 2006, 109 Indian labourers committed suicide in the UAE alone.

8/13/2007 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gator vs Lions
Pride of Lions chase water Buffalo Calf into pond, grab it, pull it out to kill it, but crocodile comes up and grabs it, by this time the herd of Buffalo marshall their forces and come back and chase off the cats!

8/13/2007 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

I'm never surprised anymore at the stupidity of American Liberals. [sigh]

But this is the one aspect of the war on Terror that GWB has totally screwed up - namely getting the story out. The military doesn't know how to do it yet. The Administration clearly doesn't understand the importance of controling the narrative.

We knew how to do it in WWII when it was the minority of the conflict. Now it is the majority of the conflict in America, and the current crop of tacticians suck at it. Why has this administration allowed the mindless, leftist, mainstream media to tell the story?

8/13/2007 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

"Answering a question on how he would refocus U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism--"

I love "refocus!"

Should they be refocused out of Iraq and into Syria or out of Iraq and into Iran?

In his answer Obama could be saying that his Dem rivals would leave only enough troops in Iraq to raid villages and make more enemies--and that may be a good point. Our focus should be on winning now, reducing later.

8/14/2007 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger The Pretentious Ignoramus said...

Whiskey 199: "Why does Obama believe this?"

It is likely that he doesn't, but, caught up in the moment, is playing to the crowd. Occam's Razor.

The more interesting question is why Obama (and his ilk)are willing to sacrifice America's long term interests in the Middle East by clutching defeat from the jaws of possible victory.

8/14/2007 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Closer to the truth in Afghanistan.
Turns out, that's what he was talking about.

Obama Warns of U.S. ‘Air-Raiding Villages and Killing Civilians’ in Afghanistan

Jerry Brown's Car Broken Into in San Francisco
Poor Baby.
Lucky he wasn't murdered in Oakland.

8/14/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How a 'good war' in Afghanistan went bad

Battles raging in remotest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN -- As Pakistani forces press ahead with their most concerted campaign in years against Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the dry, jagged hills of Pakistan's tribal belt, the insurgents have moved to establish new footholds in remote corners of the Texas-sized region along the border with Afghanistan.

Rearmed militants are spreading through tribal areas in North Waziristan, often seizing the offensive.

Oh where, oh where have Taliban gone?
28 of 29 militant bases ID'd by U.S. intelligence 'dismantled' after information given to Pakistan

Information regarding the location of 29 Taliban bases, ID'd by U.S. intelligence and shared with Pakistan, has lost its targeting value for Islamabad's promised offensive against the militant group with the apparent evacuation of 28 of the training camps along the country's northern border with Afghanistan.

The U.S. presented Pakistan with a dossier meticulously detailing the bases' locations in the tribal areas of North Waziristan and South Waziristan, but, according to a report by Asia Times, the camps 'have simply fallen off the radar.' Neither the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led coalition in Afghanistan nor Pakistan intelligence have detected any movement in the camps since early this month.

On-the-ground intelligence from both sides of the national border indicate all camps but one, operated by a hardline Islamist mullah, have been dismantled and all Taliban commanders, as well as leaders of Arab insurgent groups in the country, have disappeared.

American Power Play In Pakistan In Washington, the topic of Pakistan has come to the fore in all of the major institutional spheres that impact, influence and execute warfighting and foreign policy. Within the military and intelligence communities as well as the political arena, the long-deferred issue has bubbled to the surface

Showdown or Showtime In Pakistan?

8/14/2007 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But Mr. Khalilzad, American military officials and others in the administration argued that the Taliban were crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan and killing American troops and aid workers.

Colleagues in Washington at various levels did not recognize that there was the problem of sanctuary and that this was important,” Mr. Khalilzad said.

“Destroying the Al Qaeda sanctuary in Afghanistan was an extraordinary strategic accomplishment,” said Robert D. Blackwill, who was in charge of both Afghanistan and Iraq policy at the National Security Council,
“but where we find ourselves now may have been close to inevitable, whether the U.S. went into Iraq or not.

We were going to face this long war in Afghanistan as long as we and the Afghan government couldn’t bring serious economic reconstruction to the countryside, and eliminate the Taliban’s safe havens in Pakistan.”


I guess Bush and his
“Colleagues in Washington at various levels"
Never checked out the ABC News Website 3 years ago, or Yon, obviously.

If they had, they would not have been surprised by the results in Warizistan/Afghanistan.

8/14/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/14/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Pakistan President Seeks Mainstream Taliban

What's next? Calls for a politically mainstreamed Al-Qaeda?

This illustrates how imperative it is for America to remember why they are at war and with whom. What is the next step after America's tolerance of the
September 5, 2006 Waziristan Accord, and yesterday's calls by President Musharraf for a
mainstreamed Taliban?

American acceptance of the Taliban as a political ideology?

Or is the Taliban the enemy, based on the Taliban's role in the 9/11 attacks and enemy status of such groups as defined by the AUMF ?

Much of the challenge comes back to war strategy and definition of the enemy. Who is America fighting and why?

On July 15, 2007, the New York Times reported that "United States plans to pour $750 million in aid into Pakistan's tribal areas over the next five years as part of a 'hearts and minds' campaign to win over the lawless region from Al Qaeda and Taliban militants." What hearts and minds, specifically?
Because, as President Musharraf claims, that the "Taliban are a part of Afghan society"?

8/14/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/14/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...


Get your own **** blog!

8/14/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger RDS said...

I was just going to blog about that being one of a handful of bizarre memes repeated over and over by the antiwar left -- just skim the comments of any lefty blog! We have to destroy this pernicious nonsense before progress can be made.

The mantra is:

1. We're "slaughtering civilians" in Iraq "every day" and are thus evil.

2. There was no "terrorism" in Iraq before we invaded.

(hmm, so SOMEONE is ALSO slaughtering civilians every day for real but that's our fault too -- and those mass graves and poison gas attacks of the Saddam era don't count as "terrorism", apparently.)

3. We regularly use torture and are thus evil.

4. Bush "shredded" the Constitution and is evil.

(I'm not sure what rights I've lost, but...)

And then the big one, trotted out when you try to explain the big strategic picture:

5. 9-11 was an inside job.

The illogic is majestically unassailable. Whether it stems from fear of facing the truth, or a malevolent intention, is yet unclear to me.

8/14/2007 06:06:00 PM  

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