This is one of Greenwald's best posts, and despite its length I read it all. It is well argued, although I would add a third group to the two he characterizes:
Since the retailing of the Government's excuses by Elizabeth Bumiller of the
New York Times, and the implicit self-justification by the Times for their earlier
slapdash journalism, are now offered as a scientific lesson to the conspiracy
theorists on this list, I present Glenn Greenwald's latest commentary on this
issue. I don't deny that it is "long", which was one of the criticisms Michael B
lodged against Greenwald's posts. But those not too busy to read it can judge
for themselves whether it is also (as claimed) irrelevant or self-righteous.
On Fri, 6 May 2011 16:11:15 +0200, Michael Balter
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I'm sure conspiracy theorists won't believe a word of this, but as
>scientists, we should realize that the most parsimonious explanation is
>usually the correct one.
>May 5, 2011
>Raid Account, Hastily Told, Proves Fluid By ELISABETH
>WASHINGTON � On Monday, the Obama administration said that Osama bin
>been killed after a firefight with Navy
>and that he had used his wife as a human shield. On Tuesday, the>Council<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/
>administration said that Bin Laden was not armed at all, and that his wife
>had not been a shield, but had rushed her husband�s assaulter and was shot
>in the leg.
>On Wednesday, the administration backtracked again. This time it
>its initial accounts of a firefight that raged throughout the raid to
>gunshots fired only at the beginning of the nearly 40-minute operation by
>Bin Laden�s courier, who was quickly dispatched by the commandos.
>In the view of officials from past and present presidencies, it was a
>classic collision of a White House desire to promote a stunning national
>security triumph � and feed a ravenous media � while collecting facts from a
>chaotic military operation on the other side of the world. At the same time,
>White House officials worked hard to use the facts of the raid to diminish
>Bin Laden�s legacy.
>�There has never been any intent to deceive or dramatize,� a military
>official said Thursday, asking that he not be named because of ground rules
>imposed by the Department of Defense. �Everything we put out we really
>believed to be true at the time.�
>Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security
>said that as more and more members of the 79-member assault team were>Taliban<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/t/
>debriefed after the raid, revisions inevitably occurred.
>�It was the middle of the night, it was a hectic operation in a foreign
>country, there was gunfire, so people�s accounts are clarified over time
>with more interviews,� Mr. Vietor said. �What we did was make as much
>information available to you guys as quickly as we could, and correct
>mistakes as quickly as we could.�
>But the shifting narrative may have distracted from the accomplishments of
>the Seal team and raised suspicions, particularly in the Arab world, that
>the United States might be trying to conceal some of the facts of the
>operation, including that Bin Laden was unarmed.
>�It�s had a hugely negative impact,� said Ahmed Rashid, a journalist and
>author who is an expert on the
>radical Islamism. White House officials �were overexcited, obviously,� Mr.
>�Liberal Muslims who are very sympathetic to the death of Bin Laden really
>don�t know what to think,� he said. �The American story is very confused.�
>From Europe, even the archbishop of Canterbury weighed in. At a news
>briefing on Thursday, the Most Rev. Rowan
>that the killing of an unarmed man left him �uncomfortable� and that �the
>different versions of events that have emerged in recent days have not done
>a great deal to help.�
>Many of the discrepancies at the White House came from the man who has
>part of the Bin Laden hunt for 15 years, John O.
>the president�s chief counterterrorism adviser.>briefing<http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/02/press-
>�Here is Bin Laden, who has been calling for these attacks, living in this
>million-dollar-plus compound, living in an area that is far removed from the
>front, hiding behind women who were put in front of him as a shield,� Mr.
>Brennan said at a White House
>Monday. �I think it really just speaks to just how false his narrative has
>been over the years.�
>The White House recanted Mr. Brennan�s assertions about the human shield
>next day, and news media accounts later suggested that the $1 million price
>put on Bin Laden�s compound in the affluent hamlet of Abbottabad was
>generous. The administration stuck with the number, but The Associated
>has reported that the four original plots of land that were joined to create
>the compound were bought for $48,000 in 2004 and 2005.
>Administration officials said they felt an obligation to the news media and
>the public to put out information about the raid after the president�s
>speech late Sunday night that announced Bin Laden�s killing. They said they
>were also eager to get the facts out before the Pakistanis and that
>country�s powerful spy agency, the Directorate of Inter-Services
>or ISI, offered their own facts and interpretation of events.>C.I.A.<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/c
>�Do we think it�s a good thing for the ISI to be the first ones out of the
>box?� an administration official asked rhetorically, alluding to the belief
>among administration officials that some elements of the ISI may have ties
>to Bin Laden and the Afghan Taliban.
>But the people who had the best information about the raid, the Seal
>members, did not undergo detailed debriefings until after they flew back to
>the United States, a Congressional official said. As the official told it,
>the Seal commandos returned to their base, went to sleep, were woken up
>Tuesday morning � and then the extensive debriefings began.
>It is unclear whether the early information about the raid came from quick
>conversations with the Seal members, their commanders or other people
>involved. But administration officials said Thursday that everyone in the
>American government � in the White House, the Pentagon and the
>was working off the same sheet of information.>Clarke<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/victoria
>Public affairs professionals from previous administrations in Washington
>were generally sympathetic. �They were in a tough spot,� said Victoria
>a Pentagon spokeswoman from President George W.>Bush<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/george_
>first term. �First reports are always wrong. It�s a fundamental truth in>have no food, they call me a Communist." -- H�lder Pessoa C�mara
>David Rohde contributed reporting.
>Contributing Correspondent, Science
>Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>New York University
>Email: [log in to unmask]
>"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor