'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Zaman's Believe It or Not 

I haven't run a juicy rumor propagated by a disreputable source for awhile so ... umm ... The Turkish news source Zaman Online, via al-Quds, says that Rumsfeld wants to cut a deal with Saddam Hussein: Hussein gets freedom in exile in exchange for ending the insurgency:

There are claims that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during his last visit to Iraq met with ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

According to a news article based on Iraqi Baath sources in Jordan published in the London based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Rumsfeld met with Saddam in his cell in Bagdat (Baghdad) and the US Secretary of Defense asked Saddam to end the insurgence [sic]. The paper claims that Rumsfeld asked him on a television broadcast to make a call for insurgents to end the resistence against US and multi-national forces as well as the Iraqi security forces.

Rumsfeld in return offered a release and exile of the administrators of the overthrown Iraqi regime or those who are willing to be involved in the government after negotiations.

Baath sources in Jordan have reported that Saddam refused the offer.

The idea that Hussein has the power to "end the insurgency" is just false; actually it's related to a false belief Rumsfeld himself used to be fond of. He used to like to characterize the insurgents as ex-Baathists, the remnants of Saddam's army, thus suggesting that their number was finite and low.

But, although such a characterization works well in propaganda, it doesn't correspond much with reality. For example, according to a little discussed CIA report from a few months ago the Saddamist ex-Baathists, along with Zarqawi's terrorists, are "lesser elements" in the resistance, which is increasingly dominated by "newly radicalized Sunni Iraqis, nationalists offended by the occupying force, and others disenchanted by the economic turmoil and destruction caused by the fighting." -- in other words by ordinary Iraqis who are angry that their country was invaded, wrecked, and occupied by a foreign army and are attempting to do something about it.

So, you know, the Turkish rumor seems false on its face to me -- because it's predicated on an assumption that is true in the world of spin, not in the world of reality.

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