I've been referring to Brigadier Bergner as Baghdad Bergner since he first started giving press conferences. There was the press conference where he blamed Iran for the woes in Iraq, based on the interrogation of one Shiite. There's this press conference where he blamed all the woes in Iraq on Al Qaeda in Iraq. The man clearly has no shame at telling the most transparent lies--from a podium not far from where his predecessor Baghdad Bob used to do the same.
But I gotta say, as someone whose credentials for analyzing all things postmodern are impeccable, this makes me dizzy.
In March, he was declared captured. In May, he was declared killed, and his purported corpse was displayed on state-run TV. But on Wednesday, Abu Omar Baghdadi, the supposed leader of an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq, was declared nonexistent by U.S. military officials, who said he was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terrorist organization.
An Iraqi actor has been used to read statements attributed to Baghdadi, who since October has been identified as the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq group, said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner.
Bergner said the new information came from a man captured July 4, described as the highest-ranking Iraqi within the Islamic State of Iraq.
He said the detainee, identified as Khalid Abdul Fatah Daud Mahmoud Mashadani, has served as a propaganda chief in the organization, a Sunni Muslim insurgent group that swears allegiance to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda.
Here's our shameless propaganda chief, claiming that their shameless propaganda chief invented a bogeyman that we could then say we had captured. Because it's not like we've invented such bogeymans for our own use, nuh uh, not us. And conveniently, this little hall of mirrors ends up right back where BushCo would like to have us, with the claim that Al Qaeda in Iraq is Al Qaeda is the War on Terror is the never-ending war is the big bogeyman no one seems to care about anymore.
Now, to her credit, reporter Tina Susman provides two caveats presumably designed to suggest she can tell bullshit when she sees it:
There was no way to confirm the military's claim, which comes at a time of heightened pressure on the White House to justify keeping U.S. troops in Iraq. Critics of the Bush administration say the president has been trying to do so by linking Bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network to the conflict in Iraq, even though the organization had no substantial presence here until after the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003.
The announcement was the latest in a series of statements from U.S. officials here blaming foreign elements for Iraq's violence. They accuse Iran of providing weapons and training to Shiite militias and Sunni extremists, and say Al Qaeda-linked groups are pouring foreign fighters into the country. Earlier, the U.S. had said Iraq's Shiite militias were the biggest problem facing security forces.
You kind of have to sympathize--it's not considered polite, after all, to say, "Baghdad Bergner has given a series of press conferences to present dubious claims that all seem to fit George Bush's latest justification of the war; his credibility, like that of his predecessor, Baghdad Bob, remains doubtful."
But it'd be nice if she just used the moniker Baghdad Bergner. That ought to do the trick.