Rumored email

Fascinating email rumored to be circulating around the defense department, courtesy of NRO.

Forgot link:

A great site for a marine’s perspective on Iraq is The Green Side – his stuff on Fallujah is fascinating. Here’s an excerpt from his latest (getting ready to ship out)

Last night was my last spent in the city of Fallujah (at least for this tour). We came out of the city today and are back on our base. Our replacements have arrived and we are now waiting to rotate home.

Today was a perfect example of how far we have come on the backs of the incredible young Marines, Soldiers and Sailors who have been a part of the Regiment since we arrived in February 2004.

By mid-morning, we were sitting in a meeting with the local imams. The senior imam or “mufti” brings other important imams in a few times a month and we discuss ongoing issues inside the city. The imam meeting is in addition to various reconstruction meetings with contractors and bureaucrats as well as the perpetual development of the Iraqi security forces. What is unique about the imam meeting is that like so many other things happening now, the meeting itself would have been beyond impossible as recently as October. Now the imams request the meeting and sit down with us in order to reduce friction and work toward improving the quality of life of the Fallujahns.

As recently as October, we sat outside the city in day long battles. Over the inevitable din, you could hear cries for jihad and resistance resonating through the loudspeakers of the city’s 60+ mosques. Certainly from the Marine point of view, the mosques were thought of as facilitators of the terrorists and a key ingredient in stoking the spiral of violence that consumed the city for much of the past thirteen months and beyond. Today we sat with some of the same men who controlled the speakers and discussed ways to get ambulances into the city faster and enhancing understanding among the variety of cultures that now make up the daily life in the city.

…As I have said before, Fallujah is now thought of as a “safe zone” by the citizens. The atmosphere of fear and intimidation is now lifted. People move about during the day without fear. The curfew remains at night and frankly, that is just fine with the people. Iraqis outside the city talk of how safe they feel when they come to Fallujah. Talk about a truly incredible turnaround.

Last night we went up to the roof of the building where we stay and looked out over the city. Many lights are back on and more come on each night. It was quiet as could be. Perhaps the best description I can offer is “peaceful.” There is no doubt that the muj will continue bring episodes of violence and terror to Fallujah. It is inevitable but they cannot undo the hope that is growing inside the people that things are getting better.

While the men have been working inside the city, other Marines have been relentlessly chasing and attriting the enemy outside the city. We have had more success capturing high value targets in the last week than perhaps during any other during my 22 months here. Once again, the Marines continue to exceed expectation. Instead of coasting in and playing it safe, they are pouring on the coal and finishing strong. The result has been a number of indicators of insurgent leadership seeking to open a dialogue with the Iraqi Government. Again, not to put too rosy a picture on it but it really is encouraging to the guys who have been here grinding away. The bad news for the enemy is that fresh legs are here and it is about to get worse for them.

In closing, I want you to know that we feel the support from the American people and the American people have it right. Lives are changing here. It is not a struggle for the meek but the young men and women serving here as well as the Iraqi people are up for it. The days ahead will continue to be a tough pull but the progress is measurable.

  1. Said that not tending to a dead body in the Muslim culture never happens. On election day, after suicide bombers blew themselves up trying to take out polling places, voters would step up to the body lying there, spit on it, and move up in the line to vote.

I don’t get this one point. Why do they spit on the body? Is that tending to it somehow?

They’re like gleefully not tending to it cause they don’t support the bombers… despite the above assertion that they are hardwired to instantly take care of the body or something.

Then again, if someone tried to kill me and then blew up 5 feet away, I sure as shit wouldn’t be helping pick up the pieces either.

On the context side:

Cole: Readers often write in for an update on Fallujah. I am sorry to say that there is no Fallujah to update. The city appears to be in ruins and perhaps uninhabitable in the near future. Of 300,000 residents, only about 9,000 seem to have returned, and apparently some of those are living in tents above the ruins of their homes. The rest of the Fallujans are scattered in refugee camps of hastily erected tents at several sites, including one near Habbaniyyah, or are staying with relatives in other cities, including Baghdad.

The scale of this human tragedy-- the dispossession and displacement of 300,000 persons-- is hard to imagine. Unlike the victims of the tsunami who were left homeless, moreover, the Fallujans have witnessed no outpouring of world sympathy. While there were undeniably bad characters in the city, most residents had done nothing wrong and did not deserve to be made object lessons–which was the point Rumsfeld was making with this assault. He hoped to convince Ramadi and Mosul to fall quiet lest the same thing happen to them. He failed, since the second Fallujah campaign threw the Sunni Arab heartland into much more chaos than ever before. People forget how quiet Mosul had been. And, the campaign was the death knell for proper Sunni participation in the Jan. 30 elections (Sunnis, with 20 percent of the population, have only 6 seats in the 275 member parliament).

However much a cliche it might be to say it, the US military really did destroy Fallujah to save it.

Pretty easy to make a city quiet if you nuke it.

On the rumors: promising if true and representative, not holding my breath.

Ah, I see. I read bombers, but was thinking victims of bombers, and couldn’t put it all together.

That amazingly sneaky liberal media, faking those tankers burning and faking the hostage taking. Brilliant.

Just one of many, and many pictures of tankers burning on the roadside. The rest of the email is filled with about as many fallacies as points made.


Chet- Did you go to the link? The email was allegedly by one 1st Cav guy of unknown rank. He’s likely saying that of the tankers he was responsible for, none were lost.

I don’t own any red pants. If you link to a picture of MC Hammer wearing red pants, that doesn’t disprove my statement.

Yeah, it is a guy stationed in Baghdad bragging about how no tankers were hit protected by 1st cav near baghdad - which is complete bullshit.

I feel like I’m back in Sunday School arguing with Creationists all over again.

come on, the letter is placed to try and say the media is not covering what is really going on. So it makes up some bs claims and then since you want to believe the letter, maybe narrow the focus to say - just tankers this guy himself drove - it must be believed.

That is BS.

But hey, you are right, if it was published in the national review, it must be true and not have an agenda. My bad.


If the case for implementing a Usenet-like kill list on Qt3 to block out posts by users who are just too far off the deep end wasn’t clear before, Chet has kindly supplied all the additional evidence needed.

Both you and Chet both have valid points here, though.

The quoted section says that this person has not lost a single tanker truck, and then asks the reader to “think about that” and then directly compares this situation to attacks seen on television. “All the attacks we saw on TV with IEDs hitting trucks but he didn’t lose one.”

Imagine if you will someone interviewing someone who’s worked at a technical support center for some small company and posts the following:

“Joe Interviewee has never seen anyone here fired at his workplace so that their jobs could be outsourced overseas. Think about that. All the stories about outsourcing telephone technical support overseas but that guy hasn’t seen one job lost.”

Interviewing single soldiers for their experiences is informative, but it only provides the experiences the specific environment that soldier is in, and cannot be taken as a guaranteed view of the entire situation.

Some tanker units are in easier areas than others. Some units, in particular the 1st Cav, have far better air support than other units, in particular most Army National Guard and Reserve tanker units, leading to wildly different views of the big picture.

Derek- Uh, yes, but that’s not how the email was. He was saying, in short, “Our use of air cover has allowed us to avoid losing tankers.”

chet- I’m not narrowing the focus, I’m literate.

I like how your liberal bias is so much more pure and un-bs than the letter writer’s conservative bias. You thought you saw a “liberal media” jab and you flew into fully active “Whiny Internet Leftist” mode, posting links and recycling tired lines.

But hey, I’ll humor you. How many tankers did 1st Cav lose, say, last month? Some dude on the internet vs. the guy in charge of protecting tankers is a tough credibility battle. On the one hand, you read like 5 liberal blogs a day. On the other hand, HE’S IN FUCKING BAGHDAD.

The funny thing, Chet would be the one implementing it!

But hey, I’ll humor you. How many tankers did 1st Cav lose, say, last month? Some dude on the internet vs. the guy in charge of protecting tankers is a tough credibility battle. On the one hand, you read like 5 liberal blogs a day. On the other hand, HE’S IN FUCKING BAGHDAD.

You’re remarkably confident of the accuracy of some rumor email.

Yeah, I love how this phantom email is the REAL UNTOLD STORY IN IRAQ, whereas the actual, you know, news is teh bias. That’s almost as funny as Desslock’s assertion in the World Bank thread the Paul Wolfowitz was “right about everything in Iraq”.

Seriously, do neocons hand out blinders, or is it some sort of hypnosis deal like in The Manchurian Candidate? I’m glad there’s supposedly some dude in the 1st cavalry division who has a rosy outlook on things, but peering at Iraq through one guy’s eyes is hardly a balanced counterpoint to everything else we’re reading.


Don’t project anything onto me, ok? You don’t know me, nor do you know what I believe, nor do you care. We are here to discuss the potential validity of the information, not to espouse our devout beliefs.

The email, if legitimate, has a clear purpose based on its structure. Look at points 2, 12, 13 and 14 in the summary, you see the prime motivation: This is a guy writing to management asking for more funding for his division of the company (and less interference). Points 2, 11 and 12 support this with “We are doing an excellent job so if you give us the support, we can do great things with it” message, and 3, 4, 5 and 13 show why those great things they can do lead to us “winning” in Iraq – management’s goal.

But this still leaves points 6 through 9. These points are buried in the middle, which is where your grade school English teacher tells you to put the least important points. These things don’t really have much to do with gaining funding for his division; they are merely observations to help the bigwigs understand how they should modify their policy.

A good division head always reports the kind of information in points 6 through 9. With good management, doing so helps the good managers to make the right decisions; with bad management, doing so gives the lead something to point to if management tries to make him the fall guy for their mistakes. What this also means is that those points are much harder to discount based on the bias or motivation of the source, because he’s not trying to sell anything.

So if you take the structure and nature of the points summarized by NRO, there’s a clear bias – but it also has the form of a legitimate email. If you look at the fake emails that have circulated around since the beginning of the Iraq invasion, none of them have this sort of structure.

The goal is not to find a hint of bias, and then discount the whole thing, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The goal is to get the maximum amount of truth possible from every source, since each source has its bias and purpose. Having an idea of the writer’s purpose is required to discriminate from fact and exaggeration acccurately. This is how you learn as an open-minded adult.

Dude, if you’re not interested in first-hand reports by someone other than media camped out in a Baghdad hotel, then don’t be under any illusion that you’ll ever have meaningful perspective. What is it with you Moonbat lefties with not wanting to actually listen to primary evidence?

Is it meaningful that press largely confine themselves in hotels – sure, it shows there’s still significant security issues in Iraq, and the media are prime targets. Similarly, a marine booting around with a bunch of heavily armed guys doesn’t exactly have the perspective of the average joe, although obviously gets to see a lot of interest.

Nice try on the Wolfowitz dig. Go on believing that Wolfowitz and Sharanasky’s views on reforming the Middle East and the power of democratic reform are “funny” assertions of “people with blinders” - Sean Penn and Bono know better, after all.