Saturday, March 04, 2006

Al Jazeera features conspiracist editorial about Samarra bombing

The editorial is coy about its conclusions. The following paragraph is typical of the author's habit of presenting his conclusions in the form of alternate possibilities:
Violence that appears to be sectarian was introduced into Iraq with the American invasion and has steadily increased with their continued presence. It is clear that the American and Iraqi security strategies are facilitating this kind of violence in a variety of ways or are too incompetent to stop it.
Here is the longest example of conspiracist reasoning:
When we examine the situation more carefully it becomes apparent that only the Americans and the Iraqi government can facilitate civil war, not the Sunni and Shia peoples in Iraq who have lived together in peace for centuries.

Let us first consider the bombing itself: entry points into the city of Samarra have been limited for some time, meaning, theoretically, that the few remaining in use should be more secure.

The sheer magnitude of the Samarra bombing assumes some quantity of munitions to carry out the attack; how did these munitions make their way into the city without being detected?

Also, it would take considerable time to apprehend and hold the guards protecting the shrine, place and arm munitions in a deliberate manner to blow off the dome of the building and then get away. The ability for such an attack to occur suggests that the security of important Iraqi sites is either ignorantly overlooked or intentionally ignored.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the level of sophistication of the Samarra bombing with that of the local resistance fighter planting IEDs roadside. Once again considerable work was required, which suggests greater probability of the attack being stopped.
So it must be a conspiracy, right? The same sort of reasoning, that difficulty and sophistication are beyond Al Qaeda, is often applied by conspiracy-theorists to 9/11. Soon afterwards the reader encounters two paragraphs which actually conclude with a form of the "c" word:
Recalling the museum disasters, the burning of historical libraries and the overall environment in Iraq, not securing such an important shrine is simply inexcusable.

By inexcusable I am not referring simply to another example of American mismanagement; I mean rather that after three years of occupation and innumerable experiences American negligence is nothing short of conspiratorial.
Here the word appears as an adjective qualified by a double-negative and modifying "negligence." A further example:
. . . there are the circumstances of the bombing itself to consider; there has been, as yet, absolutely no evidence to link anyone to the attack.

American analysts quickly blamed non-Iraqi fighters or former Baath elements, arguing that it is actually Muslims who want to see violence in Iraq and, therefore, the Americans must remain.

On the Iraqi street, of course, the perception of events is quite different and many would argue that Israel or the United States carried out such an attack to maintain civil discord at a politically convenient time.
Another indirect way of making an argument is to place it in someone else's mouth. The editorial is followed by the following disclaimer:
The opinions expressed here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the endorsement of Aljazeera.
How semi-respectable of them.

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