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View Diary: See no evil: photojournalism and the Iraq war (141 comments)

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  •  Thanks for goading me into reading the memo (none)
    While I'd read excerpts I hadn't read the whole thing. While the 'fixed' phrase does seem ominous, it could be taken to mean the act of selection the examples to make the case, as I suggested. I would also like to point out that later in the memo concerns are raised as to what would be the results of Saddam using WMD on day one or against Isreal etc. If it was known to them that there were no WMD's that would be incomprehensable.

    It is clear that by the time of that memo, the US administration had moved from analysis to action and was preparing the case. Just as you or I might select examples to bolster an argument. It doesn't make us liars, but it may make us wrong. I do not rule out the possibility that there were flat-out lies. Politicians have always been fully capable of that. I just don't consider it proven.

    I'm not advocating censorship of ideas, but I think the goal of publication of photos is to bypass ideas and generate outrage.  I would not be happy with publishing the gory images (that were not published) of the bodies (and parts) from 9/11 for the same reason. Frankly, I really do hope we can stabilize the place and get the hell out of there without it falling apart when we left. I'm convinced we had to leave Viet Nam, but we left a lot of people behind to die who trusted us.

    •  Hah! You have caught me out! (none)
      1. I had not recognized the implications of the para re WMD as you have: point well made! (BUT ultimately trivial, I believe. Maybe?)

      2. If you did not, please review the chronology:

      Why Care?

      3. Coincidentally (to this conversation), I was there. The 'lot of people' were 'left behind to die' because the Embassy (and the Station) believed they had until HCM's birthday (5/19) and elected for the sake of orderliness to evacuate maids and guards from up-country first and to get around to agents and serious actors from Saigon and Regions III and IV only later . . .  It was 100% our 'oops' - we had the capacity to remove that 'lot of people' in real danger prior to 5/1.  The bargirls of Saigon (scarcely high-value targets) were all gone by 4/27; I had a friend who on 3 consecutive nights took 3 different bargirls to TSN and signed forms that they were his wives, hoping for a life-long menage-a-quatre (I heard in August that it didn't actually work out for him - surprise!)  On 4/27 I encountered the DCOB Saigon putting his maid and gardener on a flight oblivious to his responsibility to dozens of recruited agents.  I could go on . . .

      There is more on heaven and earth, Horatio . . .  Iraq will fall apart and we will act the buffoons again, I am confident . . .

      If you are going to eat the ham, you should be willing to watch the hog being slaughtered

      by Clem Yeobright on Sun May 22, 2005 at 01:59:45 PM PDT

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      •  Politics and Sausage (none)
        #2 is about what I'd expect. I don't find it particularly surprising or ominous. I'm sure that someone in the Pentagon is planning a war with Mexico. If it were to happen, we need to have plans for it. I know there are plans for a war with Canada. The president can't go on the air, though, and say that we were planning for war with Mexico.

        #3 as someone who was sitting safely at home with a student deferment, I respect your superior right to comment on the Viet Nam exit. I was, however, referring to more than the mass of humanity on the embassy, but also the boat people etc. A lot of people who were not high-value died none the less.

        I sincerely fear you are right about Iraq falling apart, but I think it is still up in the air and want to give them a chance to do it if they can. It's not really the same dynamics as Nam. And, getting back to the pictures, I don't like to be manipulated.

        •  On manipulation (none)
          I sincerely doubt that you are very 'manipulable'; I would, for instance, be stunned if you were for an instant fooled by this

          Snopes God Bless You!

          So, assuming we are not talking photoshop journalism, I think I must go with Mao: let all the flowers bloom!

          Someone here has mentioned the filmed scenes of the German citizens in May 1945 being forced - by our forces - to view the concentration camps in their neighborhoods and weeping - I saw a clip last month on PBS (I should have taped it, since it is sans doute 'Bill Moyer-ish' and will no doubt be burned (in a tragic accident? like the Reichstag? LOL) in the PBS vault in the next few weeks . . .)

          Better we - every one of us - see the results of our actions now rather than later.  If we have weak stomachs, we had better galvanize them, because the plan - I truly believe - was that we would be most of the way to India, from the West and perhaps also from the East, by this date.

          If we are going to be conquerors, ferxrissake let's not be pussies about it! (sez I)

          If you are going to eat the ham, you should be willing to watch the hog being slaughtered

          by Clem Yeobright on Sun May 22, 2005 at 02:48:06 PM PDT

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          •  Iran (none)
            Actually, I'm more concerned about the fact that we have base camps on both sides of Iran. And it has a nuclear program! (stop little pot stop!)

            Anyway, I agree that knowing what is going on and what is being done in our name is a good idea, but I doubt that showing a dozen pictures of young U.S. servicemen dead or in agony is the way to get a comprehensive view.

        •  Addendum re #3 (none)
          We were man enough to laugh about it at the time. The Station started 'paring down' in early April and Case Officer X would bring his files to his 'good friend' CO Y and tell him 'This is xxExuberant and she has been a terrific source for x years and she will be standing on the corner of a and b when the evacuation is broadcast in a green ao-dai and you must get her out', and the next week CO Y would be 'trimmed' and would toss xxExuberant in the burn-bag and take his assets to CO Z with the same plea . . . etc etc etc.  

          But read LeCarre or Greene and you will be able to guess the whole thing, I think.  The first pass, it is tragedy; we've done it all before so Iraq should be 100% comedy.

          If you are going to eat the ham, you should be willing to watch the hog being slaughtered

          by Clem Yeobright on Sun May 22, 2005 at 02:56:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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