The Daesh Dash to Death and the Bad Signs Ahead for Reporting
By John Kendall Hawkins
Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
- George Orwell
The day IsIs went waswas there was a delicious media buzzbuzz, as President Donald J. Trump moped up to the dais and gave us an adlib about the kill in Idlib. That was good news for usus, Trump implied. He explained how Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi went boomboom -- cornered, then chased, and hunted down by menacing dogs into a "tunnel" (he thought he had his own personal Tora Bora), clutching children to his chest and setting off a suicide vest, dying "like a dog" (refresh me, when was the last time a dog suicided? Oh, wait), whimperingsquealingcarryingon (Trump must have imagined this, since no audio feed was available). What is an ordinary, educated reader, such as myself, supposed to make of all this?
I'm neither a conspiracy theorist, nor a conspiracy fearist -- just don't piss down my back and call it rain. Do back room deals still get made like back in Daddy's paradigm days? Yes, they do. Do industries collude to undermine sound public policies? You bet. Do ex-spooks with high security clearances "retire" and go to work as contractors and consultants to make a buck leveraging insider information? That's what Edward Snowden says. Did Wall Street types get together to swap spit on African-American dreams? What, are you a wise guy? If the brother of a guy running for president is the governor of a state with election results tight and disputed -- shouldn't that lead to a no-brainer automatic recount, rather than referring it all to politically motivated jurists? Hmph.
Conspiracy theory? (Just two guys talking.) Bring it over, conspiracy fearee.
I'm not disputing that al-Baghdadi is dead, unlike certain conspiratorial elements who claim he'll just re-spawn elsewhere. The PR and merchandising section (featuring the pre-beheaded look) of Daesh has already confirmed al-B's death and moved on, handing the torture kit, and suicide vest, on to the next Caliph. Wild rumors are afloat that the British have promised a future caliphate if ISIL remnants just disband now and go back to their secret bourgeois lives. (Did you believe that? Bring it over.)
Sweet cheeses. It's not that many people doubt that al-Baghdadi is now al-Shabah (phantom), but the way it all gets reported to the public is maddening and pushes one to see it all as a Marx Brothers romp. As with the raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad compound in 2011, questions abound. Odd details are noted. The "fake" war room photo taken hours after the raid. Why did the MSM go all Pavlov foamy when the story broke, passing on unattributed pablum to the public? Why was the world's most wanted terrorist living in such an approachable compound? What's with the phony tunnel? Didn't the real estate agent promise 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and an escape tunnel? Maybe that's why the caliph was girly-ululating, according to Trump. They lied about the tunnel.
I'm not saying that the raid never happened, unlike those meddling -- and conspiratorial -- Syrians are claiming. Said Assad about the raid, "Why were the remains of Baghdadi not shown? This is the same scenario that was followed with Bin Laden." You consider the source, but you gave to concede the point. Surely, the military could have released footage that went on for more than several seconds of raid time. It might have been just as long as the Collateral Murder video released by WikiLeaks, which featured all of that soldierly laughter at carnage. A chance to show Americans how raids are done right, and with honor. Casus belli. It would have been more convincing had they shown the whole raid -- breach, battle, boom, body extraction.
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