Sunday, October 23, 2005

Lies Pete Rempel told me, and the evil that is Michelle Malkin.

Not so much lies Pete told me, but a discussion of what constitutes a "lie," of which Pete accuses me of back here. (In other words, I'm not actually accusing Pete of lying -- I was just joking, ya know. Apparently, that gets me off the hook. But ... onward.)

When it comes to dissecting the writings of the conservative wankersphere, what constitutes a "lie"? Sure, deliberately saying something that isn't true qualifies as a lie, but what about significant omissions that change the tenor of a story completely? Are those lies, if what you've said is technically true but what you've explicitly left out is at least as crucial?

Consider crazy-assed bitch Michelle Malkin back here, when she was misrepresenting a bunch of folks who wanted to honour the military dead in Iraq, and she passed it off as a "party." Is that technically a lie? We can debate that one, but let's look at the other link at that article of hers, where she bitches and whines about Kos' lack of sympathy for four civilian contractors killed in Fallujah back in 2004:

A year ago today, left-wing blogger and Democratic strategist Markos Moulitsos Zuniga of the Daily Kos cheered the brutal murders of four American civilian contractors in Fallujah--all of them war veterans with distinguished records, three of them fathers--with the following infamous words:

"Screw them."

I'm sure you remember that incident -- it got a lot of airplay. Now, my only nitpick with Kos is that he really shouldn't have said "Screw them." He should have said, "Fuck 'em and the Humvee they rode in on." Let me explain.

See, if you got your information only from lying wankers like Michelle, you'd probably think that those four murdered contractors were innocent civilians, war veterans with families, over there nobly helping to spread democracy or some such bullshit.

You'd probably never have learned that they were, in fact, heavily-armed "security" contractors, employees of Blackwater Security Consulting and the closest thing you'll find to modern-day mercenaries these days, whose only motivation was to kick ass and make, in some cases, $1000/day. Whoops. I guess Michelle forgot to mention that, didn't she?

Respected war veterans with families? Well, OK. But let's not forget the other good stuff, shall we?

But the Blackwater employees do share one thing in common with their murderers, and with the men languishing in the cages of Guantanamo Bay: They were illegal combatants.

This is because the Blackwater "security guards" do not wear uniforms clearly identifying them as combatants. They instead wear civilian clothes while engaging in combat. The photograph leading this story [Paine's], of a Blackwater USA security guard serving in L. Paul Bremer's bodyguard force, makes this clear. The man is carrying an assault rifle while wearing civilian clothes.

He is, therefore, an illegal combatant just like the un-uniformed Afghans and Arabs "detained" at Gitmo.

Noble civilian contractors, indeed. In fact, it's not even clear if these men were entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions:

The status of those killed in Fallujah is extremely important. It is illegal to employ mercenaries in combat, and it is also illegal to work as a mercenary. Further, mercenaries enjoy none of the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They are not entitled to prisoner of war status, and are "not entitled to be a combatant".

Yeah, that kind of changes the whole picture, doesn't it? Which is precisely why crazy-assed bitch Malkin wasn't going to point it out. And why is it that the regular army boys don't much care for the Blackwater dudes? Quite simply, because the mercs had a bad habit of swaggering around, pissing people off, then leaving it to the regulars to clean up the mess they left behind:

Blackwater was founded in 1996 by a former US Navy Special Forces veteran. Since then it has trained more than 50,000 military and law enforcement personnel at its 2,400 hectare facility in North Carolina. “The facility boasts several target ranges and a simulated town for urban warfare training. It is so advanced that some of the US military’s active duty special ops troops have trained there” (Time, 12/4/04; “When Private Armies Take To The Front Lines”; Micahel Duffy). It is located near the major military base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and recruits extensively from the Special Forces units based there. Iraq is where Blackwater has hit the headlines.

“…Locals often mistake the guards for Special Forces or CIA personnel, which makes active duty military troops a bit edgy. ‘Those Blackwater guys’, says an intelligence officer in Iraq, ‘they drive around wearing Oakley sunglasses and pointing their guns out of car windows. They have pointed their guns at me, and it pissed me off. Imagine what a guy in Fallujah thinks’. Adds an Army officer, who just returned from Baghdad, ‘They are a subculture’.

Yeah, just imagine what the locals might start to think, getting more pissed off by these idiot cowboys by the day and just waiting for the chance to string them up from a bridge.

If you want more, you can also read this piece by Phillip Carter in Slate, at which point you should finally appreciate why people who genuinely support the troops shouldn't give a shit what happens to these trigger-happy yokels who are only in it for the money. Everything one reads about them makes it clear that they're not militarily accountable for their actions (being civilians has its benefits), and they just make everyone else's life more difficult.

And, to recap, how exactly did Michelle describe them? Oh, right:

... four American civilian contractors in Fallujah--all of them war veterans with distinguished records, three of them fathers ...

What a delightfully sanitized description. Does that make it a "lie?" The lines are open.

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