Comments: Wait, I've Changed My Mind And Decided Colin Powell Is The Most Honest Man On Earth

Heck, I knew that way back when My Lai, Calley, Medina, Simpson and the rest of the guys were hot news.

Posted by Jesus B. Ochoa at October 11, 2005 08:07 AM

I know, I know. It's old news re Mr. Powell in the margins where we live. But you have to keep pushing and pushing just to get 5% of the truth into regular history.

Posted by Jonathan Schwarz at October 11, 2005 08:38 AM

As long as you keep the phrase "Mr. Bullshit Got-Lies Pinocchio," I don't see how this shadowy future project can fail.

One nitpick: under number four, the quote use "disbursing" instead of "dispersing." And under number eleven, "ilicit" instead of "illicit." You might want to throw in a "[sic]."

Posted by Sully at October 11, 2005 08:40 AM

I'm probly in the left 15%, and I never heard about this memo. Actually the other post works better for me. Not just length. This one, when you read enough of the claims and they're all called "weak," makes you wonder "did they have an agenda to tear the claims down?" It reads kind of like an anti-Iraq-war think tank or talking points memo. Reading the other one, I had no doubts that you'd turned up the big lie.

Posted by Noumenon at October 11, 2005 11:14 AM


Posted by at October 11, 2005 11:45 AM

Nouemenon, what you're saying is that if the experts find all of Powell's assertions weak, this doesn't cast doubt on Powell, but makes you think the experts had an agenda. Perhaps their agenda was to evaluate the evidence and give their conclusions, and if they found that the evidence for Powell's statements were weak, maybe it suggests that Powell had an agenda. Back here on planet earth, that's what most of us would say.

Posted by Donald Johnson at October 12, 2005 03:23 PM

Apparently Colin is having a grand time these days telling lies for big bucks and getting the standing "O":

Posted by Ross Winters at October 12, 2005 03:54 PM

"Perhaps their agenda was to evaluate the evidence and give their conclusions..."

I'm not willing to give them the benefit of the doubt any more than Powell. Everything's politicized. Anyway, it's a well known fact about persuasion that highly educated audiences are more persuaded if you appear to give them both sides of the story. So a post that says "Powell's claims agreed with the intelligence on this and this, but he was lying about that and that" could be naturally more convincing than a post that says "Powell stretched weak evidence" and nothing else.

Posted by Noumenon at October 12, 2005 04:24 PM

I had the same reaction as Noumenon about the impact of Jonathan's two posts. Even after I reminded myself that the repeated flagging of points in the presentation by State analysts is a result of them doing their job.

The rocket tolerances business is much stronger stuff, and this post's addition of the Oak Ridge scientist makes that even more damning. As is the intentional distortion of the translation.

Posted by Nell at October 12, 2005 05:27 PM

I believe that ultimately, human beings have a limitless capacity for self-deception or a denial of reality. The normal goal of most governments is to play to the former to enforce the latter to maintain (its own version of) social order. This must be the first time that I have seen a government believing in the lies it spun itself.

Posted by En Ming Hee at October 12, 2005 09:03 PM

I misread you, Noumenon. Sorry about that. I thought you were saying the first post made you think Jon had a smoking gun, but now after the second one you thought it just looked like experts with an agenda. But if you are saying, like Nell, that the aluminum tube episode is more impressive than experts saying "weak case", than yeah, that's true.

I'd add that the experts were clearly vindicated by subsequent events, so in the face of some hypothetical Bush supporter accusing them of having an agenda one could plausibly argue that their agenda was one of honestly evaluating the evidence. The hypothetical Bush supporter would have had a stronger case before the war.

For myself I was hoping one of these posts was going to go back to Powell's role "investigating" My Lai.

Posted by Donald Johnson at October 13, 2005 02:41 PM

Noumenon, you have an interesting view. To rephrase: "if all the evidence points in one direction, the observer must be biased." Do you apply this standard also to gravity? A spherical Earth? Evolution? And when your own good sense tells you that the evidence *is* rather one-sided, do you then also wave it away by saying, "Both sides are nonsense"?

Speaking of bits of balderdash, my favorite one didn't appear here, maybe because it wasn't part of The UN Speech. Remember the two "bioweapon lab" trucks? Proof--proof!--that mass weapons of mass anthrax were being mass produced. The two trucks had been looted, so there wasn't much left, but they were proof. When I saw a picture of them, I nearly fell off my chair laughing. Both had canvas cloth sides, well known as the way to contain dangerous bacteria. That's why P4 containment labs are always housed in tents. And they had no centrifuges. None. The centrifuge you'd need to weaponize anthrax is the size of half a bed and as heavy as three refrigerators. That's not impossible to loot, but other equipment of equal massiveness was still there. And there was no laminar flow hood. None. That's built in, unlikely to be looted, and if it was, the plumbing for it would still be there. It wasn't. Without one of those, your horrible bioweapon bacteria would kill everyone in the lab long before you could mail them to the US in plain brown envelopes. I'm just a harmless botanist who studies orchids. If I know this, you can bet there were a few people at State, the CIA, hell, even the Defense Dept., who were pointing it out, too.

Posted by quixote at October 13, 2005 02:50 PM

On Feb. 6, 2003 I told a friend of mine that "Powell lied his ass off yesterday". According to David Barsamian of Alternative Radio, there was a total of 33 lies.

Posted by Bill Warrick at November 3, 2005 10:45 PM