We have sent journalists to the neighborhood three different times to talk with people there about what happened. And those residents have repeatedly told us, in some detail, that Shiite militiamen dragged six Sunni worshippers from a mosque, drenched them with kerosene and burned them alive.
No one else has said they have actually gone to the neighborhood. Particularly not the individuals who have criticized our journalism with such barbed certitude.
The AP has been transparent and fair since the first day of our reporting on this issue.
We have not ignored the questions about our work raised by the U.S. military and later, by the Iraqi Interior Ministry. Indeed, we published those questions while also sending AP journalists back out to the scene to dig further into what happened and why others might be questioning the initial accounts.
The AP mission was to get at the facts, wherever those facts took us.
What we found were more witnesses who described the attack in particular detail as well as describing the fear that runs through the neighborhood. We ran a lengthy story on those additional findings, as well as the questions, on Nov. 28.
Some of AP’s critics question the existence of police Capt. Jamil Hussein, who was one (but not the only) source to tell us about the burning.
These critics cite a U.S. military officer and an Iraqi official who first said Hussein is not an authorized spokesman and later said he is not on their list of Interior Ministry employees. It’s worth noting that such lists are relatively recent creations of the fledgling Iraqi government.
By contrast, Hussein is well known to AP. We first met him, in uniform, in a police station, some two years ago. We have talked with him a number of times since then and he has been a reliable source of accurate information on a variety of events in Baghdad.
No one – not a single person – raised questions about Hussein’s accuracy or his very existence in all that time. Those questions were raised only after he was quoted by name describing a terrible attack in a neighborhood that U.S. and Iraqi forces have struggled to make safe.
Taking in all the carnage that Bush’s manipulation of information about Iraq has lead to this story it has become an odd barometer of how the wing-nuttery decides what is true and what constitutes the truth. One would think as the right-wing blogs whip themselves into a frenzy over whether AP got its facts straight that they would produce some counter evidence. There is no such counter evidence because the Right has chosen its favorite measuring tool for all facts, whether those facts are convenient and whether they feel like believing them. From the ironically named “Democracy Project – Bruce Kesler | Dec. 8, 2006 | 8:51 PM AP’s Kathleen Carroll Plays For High Stakes (as did Nixon)
Carroll, however, dissembles. Where is the transparency, where are the facts? The AP’s search for truth hasn’t taken it very far.
Where are Mr. Kesler’s facts, his counter evidence? He can’t be bothered to make a case thus dispaying the lack of moral seriousness that sticks the Right like a bad smell. Well he offers up a link to himself about Senator John Kerry which reads,
Kerry’s medals were issued, however manipulatively or erroneously, by an official U.S. military process. The AP’s source for its story is not the policeman he and the AP claims he is, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials, and the AP refuses to produce him.
Kerry mustered several named boatmates to support parts of his claims, although far more fellow and chain of command witnesses saw otherwise.
Well there’s your proof that the AP is lying, Kesler lies about John Kerry’s medals. Only that has nothing to do with the AP story except for one thing. It proves that Kesler is a bed wetting lying little gossip, Ad features vets who claim Kerry “lied” to get Vietnam medals. But other witnesses disagree — and so do Navy records.
One of the accusers says he was on another boat “a few yards” away during the incident which won Kerry the Bronze Star, but the former Army lieutenant whom Kerry plucked from the water that day backs Kerry’s account. In an Aug. 10 opinion piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal , Rassmann (a Republican himself) wrote that the ad was “launched by people without decency” who are “lying” and “should hang their heads in shame.”
And on Aug. 19, Navy records came to light also contradicting the accusers. One of the veterans who says Kerry wasn’t under fire was himself awarded a Bronze Star for aiding others “in the face of enemy fire” during the same incident.
Remember that the recent Iraq Study Group composed entirely of conservatives wrote that there has been “significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq”
The story of the burnings has gotten far more attention in the United States than in Iraq, where vicious torture and death are sadly commonplace. Dozens of Iraqi citizens are gunned down in their cars, dragged from their homes or blown apart in public places every single day.As careful followers of the Iraq story know well, various militias have been accused of operating within the Interior Ministry, which controls the police and has long worked to suppress news of death-squad activity in its ranks. (This is the same ministry that questioned Capt. Hussein’s existence and last week announced plans to take legal action against journalists who report news that creates the impression that security in Iraq is bad, “when the facts are totally different.”)
Just as the right-wing blogs have been negligent as usual in getting their facts straight about the AP, their water carriers in Congress have also been found to be negligent, Ethics panel finds House GOP leaders negligent
It isn’t earth shattering news that Republicans and right-wing bloggers lie and distort all the time. The lesson here and one that conservatives seem unable to learn is that when they lie , distort, and smear as part of their daily agenda they’ll have to pardon reality based Americans from taking their latest manufactured outrage, such as the AP story about the burnings seriously. From the non-existent WMD to this latest non-sense they have well established their movement as one of the party of little boys and girls that cry wolf. If they want some credibility they might want to change course, but that would take courage and intelligence, two qualities sorely lacking in right-wingers. Before I forget it does seem that Limbaugh among the usual assortment of kool-aid drinkers like Mr. Kesler thought that Abu Ghraib was much ado about nothing, Defense secretary laments Abu Ghraib in farewell
In a question-and-answer session, he was asked about his best day and his worst day as defense secretary.
“Clearly, the worst day was Abu Ghraib, seeing what went on there and feeling so deeply sorry that that happened,” he said without hesitation, referring to the scandal in the spring of 2004 that triggered worldwide condemnation and prompted him to twice offer his resignation to President Bush at that time. Bush rejected those offers.
” What a man believes upon grossly insufficient evidence is an index into his desires — desires of which he himself is often unconscious. If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.”