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posted by janrinok on Friday October 23 2015, @05:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the you-can't-handle-the-truth dept.

American history is filled with war stories that subsequently unraveled. Consider the Bush administration's false claims about Saddam Hussein's supposed arsenal of weapons of mass destruction or the imagined attack on a U.S. vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin. Now Johnathan Mahler writes in the NY Times about the inconsistencies in the official US story about bin Laden's death. "Almost immediately, the administration had to correct some of the most significant details of the raid," writes Mahler. Bin Laden had not been ''engaged in a firefight,'' as the deputy national-security adviser, John Brennan, initially told reporters; he'd been unarmed. Nor had he used one of his wives as a human shield. The president and his senior advisers hadn't been watching a ''live feed'' of the raid in the Situation Room; the operation had not been captured on helmet-cams.

But according to Mahler there is the sheer improbability of the story itself, which asked us to believe that Obama sent 23 SEALs on a seemingly suicidal mission, invading Pakistani air space without air or ground cover, fast-roping into a compound that, if it even contained bin Laden, by all rights should have been heavily guarded. How likely was that? Abbottabad is basically a garrison town; the conspicuously large bin Laden compound — three stories, encircled by an 18-foot-high concrete wall topped with barbed wire — was less than two miles from Pakistan's equivalent of West Point. ''The story stunk from Day 1,'' says Seymour Hersh whose most consequential claim was about how bin Laden was found in the first place. According to Hersh, it was not years of painstaking intelligence-gathering, he wrote, that led the United States to the courier and, ultimately, to bin Laden. Instead, the location was revealed by a ''walk-in'' — a retired Pakistani intelligence officer who was after the $25 million reward that the United States had promised anyone who helped locate him. And according to Hersh, the daring raid wasn't especially daring. The Pakistanis allowed the U.S. helicopters into their airspace and cleared out the guards at the compound before the SEALs arrived. The most blatant lie was that Pakistan's two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission.

"It's not that the truth about bin Laden's death is unknowable," concludes Mahler. "it's that we don't know it. And we can't necessarily console ourselves with the hope that we will have more answers any time soon; to this day, the final volume of the C.I.A.'s official history of the Bay of Pigs remains classified. We don't know what happened more than a half-century ago, much less in 2011."


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  • Re:scary and "duh" at the same time (Score: 5, Insightful) by Phoenix666 (552)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 23 2015, @09:22AM (#253548)

    And then, suddenly, out comes the president of the US, relieved at having successfully killed a relatively defenceless old guy in his bedroom. It suddenly became obvious that all these "world leaders" are just grasping at straws, doing their best when they are actually overwhelmed, and they're just being carried by history like the rest of us. Even though their actions have severe consequences for everyone, they usually have no idea what those consequences are...

    I worked for an American President. This what you said is 100% true. It is why the absolutely most important part of the president's team is the press department, because controlling the narrative about what happens is critical. So when something happens, making sure it fits into the story you're trying to peddle is what they hyperventilate about. Actually doing something about the thing that happens, trying to solve problems and, you know, help people, is the furthest thing from their minds and their ability. Their concern is that they come out of it smelling like a rose and with more money and power. That is the heart of the saying you often hear, "Let no good crisis go to waste."

    TFA is about the breakdown of that ability in the age of the Internet. It's too easy now for people to get the real facts and form different narratives substantiated by those facts. And every time the official narrative is shown demonstrably to be a lie, the system loses more authority. One feels that a system cannot infinitely lose authority before it falls apart, to be replaced by something else.

    All of these revelations are scary, because they show just how chaotic history really is, but they actually make perfect sense. It's just that I would like not to believe them. And I honestly have no idea how to convince people in general that they can't let themselves be overwhelmed by the fear, since I myself don't like to think about these things.

    And this right here is now the last thing holding the cruft that is the trainwreck of the old system in place, because people don't want to know. Their fear of the unknown, their fear that their understanding of the world is an illusion based on a web of deliberate lies, keeps them cowed. But knowing that the system is broken and incapable and corrupt is not to say that it's impossible to solve problems or for human beings to work productively together. It is.

    I have been fortunate enough to work with teams that mesh, that eat show-stopping problems for breakfast and ask for seconds. Not often, just once or twice. But enough to know it's possible. Some others on SN may have had that experience, too. I also know what an immense difference it makes when just one person with desire and ability commits to making that difference. Soylent itself is a case in point. A handful of people have built the machinery that runs this place. Those who comment help build it, too, to be sure, but without those handful of people building the machinery there's nothing around which this community can coallesce. In practice it's exhausting for the handful, but also empowering because it does matter if they stop working. It does matter if they give up. And it does matter if the rest of us say thank you and give them the mental energy, the psychic resources they must have to keep going.

    I digress, but it is possible for small, committed groups of people to build something better than this trainwreck of a system, and that gives me hope. But the first step, that you zeroed in on, is to lose the fear.

    It is a shame you posted this anonymously, AC, because it is one of the most astute observations I've read in a while. Had you posted under a registered username I would pay extra attention to your future comments, because you have insight.

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    Washington DC delenda est.
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  • Re:scary and "duh" at the same time (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 23 2015, @10:37AM (#253555)

    thank you.

  • Re:scary and "duh" at the same time (Score: 5, Insightful) by RamiK (1813)

    by RamiK (1813) on Friday October 23 2015, @11:48AM (#253566)

    One feels that a system cannot infinitely lose authority before it falls apart, to be replaced by something else.

    Wrong. An office can be completely depleted from power until it's only an honorary position. The most extreme example is the king of England but the fall of Roman republic is filled with comities, civil \ military tribunals, magistrates and etc... shifting power from one class's leadership to the next by depleting a standing comity from authority while keeping that comity alive so it won't look like a revolution. The last such maneuver was the rise of the empire.

    In this day of age we privatize services to non-profits: We shift the first generation's power from executive to oversight. The second generation bureaucrats is then re-structured (to reflect their oversight duty instead of their executive powers) into a hierarchy so they only serve reports and have no means to charge complaints without the support of their managers. The third generation privatizes the oversight itself finally leaving the office as a rubber stamp for the politician to appoint an executive contractor and an oversight contractor.
    This is how governments all over the world do everything nowadays.

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    compiling...
  • Re:scary and "duh" at the same time (Score: 1, Flamebait) by zugedneb (4556)

    by zugedneb (4556) on Friday October 23 2015, @01:47PM (#253591)

    Knowledge and will, bro, is not enough.
    Preaching to the choir is also not enough.

    You have to be a disgusting, disgusting person to achieve something.
    Like, as example the jews.
    Sure, many are educated and such, but partly the are standing not on the shoulders of giants but mountains of "claimed dead", and partly they own a lot of the media and produce content that you (me and many here) would not read even in prison.

    The disgusting is, bro, what is called "financed".
    And they are financed by those you would want to save, namely the innocent civilian, the human =)

    I digress, but it is possible for small, committed groups of people to build something better than this trainwreck of a system, and that gives me hope. But the first step, that you zeroed in on, is to lose the fear.

    Not that I disagree, but pull that sentence to your pregnant wife, or to your friend with 3 kids...

    U see, this is why I troll. Cuz u are idiots.
    The jews own the people, through the spiritually compatible merchandise they sell the people. The government is just some guys with money, who do what they can allow themselves.
    The people need not guys like me looking like a russian criminal, promising to fight to death for them.
    The people need not the government - the gamblers and wardogs on the "international arena". (wtf is that even?)
    The probably need not mad kings and shining paladins either.

    The people need, and choose, the sophisticated and disgusting jews, even if they become owned and pwnd by them.

    --
    old saying: "a troll is a window into the soul of humanity" + also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax
    • some rant... (Score: 1, Flamebait) by zugedneb (4556)

      by zugedneb (4556) on Friday October 23 2015, @02:10PM (#253598)

      One of the "aha, wow" moments for me was when an ex swedish minister of state, Göran Persson, told how he did and felt, when he went to borrow money to keep the swedish welfare afloat, cuz taxes were not enought to cover for the feast.
      What is a government, when the banks (and jews, for sake of argument) ended up with the power and money?
      The government has only the power it gets through the taxes.
      If people pour and not enough tax and nobody gives or lends, they can sit the chamberpot made up by the country borders and wait for tourists to come and fuck small children...
      And when the people work and pull a country to its feet, they give it away then to the "government". Or corporations... Or whatever.

      There was/are a lot of people and media badmouthing the dude, the swedish minister, without even knowing how their fucking country works.
      People are shit.

      I am not s sophisticated, although educated as hell...
      Inside, I am a natural born military personal type of guy.
      But I say, fuck the people. Let the jews and banks own them, as they are incapable of caring for their country and government.
      Fucking tired of always relying on "special groups", to defeat corrupt government, build new government, watching the watcher, or what the fuck their are needed to do.

      The best moment in a film ever is when, in Battlestar Galactica, some bozo trying to force the wife of the chief (the engineer) to pull the trigger on an enemy, and the wife can't pull the trigger. AHAHAHAHA...

      I wish, all brutal people, who know blood and combat, would say "no more" and would just take their wives and daughters, priests and psychiatrist to the slaughter.
      "U pull the trigger, u coward, embedded, safe fucking worm of human being... No more special groups that take care of u. U fucking do it urself!1!!!11"

      but alas...
      what a stupid fucking rant...

      --
      old saying: "a troll is a window into the soul of humanity" + also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax
  • Re:scary and "duh" at the same time (Score: 2) by jdavidb (5690)

    by jdavidb (5690) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 23 2015, @05:57PM (#253673)

    Soylent itself is a case in point. A handful of people have built the machinery that runs this place. Those who comment help build it, too, to be sure, but without those handful of people building the machinery there's nothing around which this community can coallesce. In practice it's exhausting for the handful, but also empowering because it does matter if they stop working. It does matter if they give up. And it does matter if the rest of us say thank you and give them the mental energy, the psychic resources they must have to keep going.

    I'm way off topic, now, but if any of you guys are reading this - thanks!

    --
    ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
  • Re:scary and "duh" at the same time (Score: 2) by Hyperturtle (2824)

    by Hyperturtle (2824) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 23 2015, @08:41PM (#253788)

    I think that when the new system comes, he will still have a role. I wouldn't hold it against him (assuming he is a he) for remaining anonymous. You know we're on the right track when we find someone that has similar thoughts under a valid username. Maybe that person won't admit to being our AC in question, maybe not.

    There is nothing wrong with courage coming through after seeing how it is done, since only fools rush in. I too stand back and let the experts handle things, and then offer to help and do what I can. The hardest thing one can do is lead -- you have to be very good at not having nearly as high of a level of skills your wide team of specialists has. You have to be a leader, a skill few specialists have.

    This person could be a leader in training, in waiting, or just doesn't know it yet. Certainly one may want to express opinions unbecoming to a leader.

    If I tried to write anon now, I think people could likely identify me at this point, or may try to. So I log in when I can and try to prevent someone innocent for getting blamed from a post I might make AC because I didn't log in...

    When we hit 10,000 users, 100,000 users -- we'll have more like him, but I have no problems with anonymous people remaining anonymous. Some people do not want the recognition, and some of those are the best people I've worked with. They are so hard to reward, and the expression of gratitude like yours (and hopefully mine) might go farther than any moderation or karma score could provide.

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