June 11, 2002



Sir, you twist your own words in defending them. You did not say originally that "the majority" of Taliban/Al Qaeda fugitives were still at large. You said "nearly all." As I pointed out, even as of January, 20 out of 56 were (in most cases, rather permanently) accounted for; that number has since climbed. No, when you said "nearly all" you were wrong, and you just don't like to admit it now.

(On the aside about Zubaydah, you miss my point. Like the rest of those on that list, by any reckoning he was unprosecutable, by Jordan, America, or anyone else, so long as he could hide with the Taliban. To say, as you did, that his capture after he was forced to flee to Pakistan was strictly a matter of good police work and not in any way a byproduct of the war effort is both disingenuous and illogical.)

Setting an upper limit of 1,500 dead civilians in Afghanistan due to errant bombing IS a determination, possibly the best that will ever be possible in a country without census data or good municipal records. Hence saying an "undetermined number" of Afghans have been "blown apart" is also disingenuous, whether you like it now or not. You can challenge that determination if you wish, but it exists, is based on a variety of sound methodologies, and is no doubt challengable on that basis, if you dared to try. I suppose it's just easier to ignore all that work, though.

You didn't originally "readily translate" Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami as saying "no such offer [of 97 per cent of the West Bank] was made to the Palestinians." No, you lied to your readers, telling them that Ben-Ami had "laughed at" the "ridiculous and thoroughly discredited idea" that the Israelis had really offered 97 per cent at Taba (ie, the figure on offer was actually much less, and the blogger in question got his fact wrong). As I have pointed out, your linked quote does not support your "laughed at" contention in any way. Come on, you know you made that part up... and now so does everybody else.

Congratulations. On strict factual challenges, Warblogger Watch is now 0 for 6.

Posted by BruceR at 11:26 PM



Our handy dandy discussion forum Flitters has seen some interesting repartee this week, as Warblogger Watch's Philip Shropshire takes issue with my saying he favoured the "forcible expulsion" of the Israelis. The Shropshire quote in question, again (lifted from Pejman):

As far as the moving idea, I actually am serious about that. For one thing, you've murdered too many Palestinians to ever ever be safe. If I had a wife and coupla of daughters in Israel then I would seriously consider moving them. Actually, in terms of compensation, I don't think that would be impossible.There was talk of creating an Alaskan homeland for the Jews at one point. Personally, I'd pick 50 or 60 square miles of New Zealand. Or I'd even consider a third of Mars if we had a halfway decent space program.

Shropshire is vociferously demanding a correction, saying that's not the same thing as forcible expulsion. But I'm rather give him his equal time in Flitters, instead.

Posted by BruceR at 03:41 PM