Thursday, December 28, 2006

Scratching at the dirt. Watching the Republican propaganda machine in its death throes.

The National Review Online published what was supposedly a recent email from a US marine in Iraq describing conditions and the fact that morale among the troops is high:

Morale: [M]orale among our guys is very high. They not only believe that they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted.
Right. Except, as TPMmuckraker points out, this is not a new email and its authenticity has been questionable since it originally appeared as a sort of chain-letter, well over a year ago.

TPM points out that the email, offered by NRO's Corner as a recent piece of evidence, contradicts even Bush's admission that the US is losing in Iraq. And, as one of TPMmuckraker's commenters points out, there is a "not so subtle" attempt to conflate the entire Iraq insurgency into an Iran/Hezbollah/Hamas/Syria/al Qaeda operation in the form of a grand conspiracy. Either the author does not understand the enmity that actually exists across those groups or believes that ambivelent readers wouldn't pay attention.

There's a bit more to it as well.

Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group.
That would be all well and good if it weren't for the fact that Zarqawi was killed last June and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir took over as its leader. Additionally, al Qaeda in Iraq is regularly referred to as the QJBR or JTJ. The "Zarqawi Al Qaeda group" is a form of identity which, even when Zarqawi was alive, was not standard lexicon. It was, however, the form taken when reported by the media in the US or at Bush administration press conferences. That should have made the age of the email obvious.

The original version of the email goes into detail about the "good and bad" about various weapons being used by US forces. It's there that the parlance and description of weapons gives rise to the question, "What kind of marine wrote this?"

1) The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. [The Marine] says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picattiny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment.
Excuse me, but US Marines have been issued M16A4s as standard issue since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By 2005 there would be very few older variants left anywhere. The US Army uses a mix of M16A4s and M4 carbines. Both are equipped with flat-top receivers and the USMC M16A4 is equipped with picattiny rails. How very odd that a US marine would not know that.

The fact that this email is being proffered by NRO as recent information is bad enough. We now know it's recycled. And, while the original has always had dubious origins, the mistakes it contains suggest that it may well have been written by someone who had a less than initmate knowledge of the actual conditions.

Just sayin'.

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