Tuesday, April 01, 2003

The American propaganda machine has arrived in Northern Iraq.

We were summoned this morning to a press conference in Halabja in which members of the US Special Forces, who refused to give us their names, patted themselves on the back over the success of their operation to rout Ansar Al Islam.

It was a classic exercise in Army Speak, in which lots of words come out of someone’s mouth but nothing is actually said. Efforts to ascertain concrete information are met with bland replies and you come away none the wiser. Now I know how my colleagues stuck at the As Saliyah base in Qatar must feel every day, trooping in and out of CENTCOM briefings to hear Tommy Franks and Co say absolutely nothing.

Here’s the audio headline clip from the press conference:

“There were things that we found on site that presented themselves and at least in my mind and to my opinion confirmed many of the reports that you’ve seen over the last eight months that this site was indeed being used for some type of chem or bio production. BUT THAT IS NOT CONFIRMED.”

The capitals are mine. Let me just check I’ve got this straight. He’s certain Ansar were preparing chemical and biological weapons but he has no proof. Hmmm. I’m not sure that would stand up in a court of law. But hey – they’re just terrorist towelheads and we’re honest Americans so no one’s going to question whether we’re telling the truth, right?

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