Sunday, August 02, 2009

"Buried By Bedouins"

The last prewar myth is debunked:

Navy officials announced early Sunday that Marines in western Anbar Province, Iraq, had found remains that have been positively identified as those of an American fighter pilot shot down in the opening hours of the first Gulf War in 1991.

The Navy pilot, Michael Scott Speicher, was the only American missing in action from that war. Efforts to determine what happened to him after his F/A-18 Hornet was lost to ground fire on Jan. 17, 1991, had continued despite false rumors and scant information.

Conflicting reports from Iraq had, over the years, fueled speculation that the pilot, promoted to captain in the years he was missing, might have been taken into captivity either after parachuting from his jet or after a crash landing.

But the evidence in Iraq suggests he did not survive and was buried by Bedouins shortly after he was shot down.

An official statement released early Sunday said that Marines in western Iraq had received information from local citizens last month about the crash of an American jet and the burial of the pilot.

“One of these Iraqi citizens stated that they were present when Captain Speicher was found dead at the crash site by Bedouins and his remains buried,” the statement said. “The Iraqi citizens led U.S. Marines to the site.”

A search of the area last week recovered remains that included bones and skeletal fragments, which were flown to Dover Air Force Base for scientific examination.

Positive identification was made by visual and radiographical comparisons of Captain Speicher’s dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site.

Recall that this was a particularly poignant part of the prewar case against Iraq, with since-discredited media figures and bloggers dutifully relaying "reports" of Speicher's initials carved in a prison wall and his torture sessions personally watched by a delighted Saddam. The deception went right to the top. From Bush's press conference on March 13, 2002:

Q. Mr. President, do you believe there is an American pilot from the Gulf War still alive in Iraq? And if so, how might that complicate any actions you consider----

The President. Well, let me just say this to you. I know that the man has got an MIA status, and it reminds me once again about the nature of Saddam Hussein if, in fact, he's alive. And therefore, it's just another part of my thinking about him, my--I guess, lack of respect is a good way to define it.

Q. Does it complicate any action you might take--you might consider taking against Iraq in the war against terror?

The President. Well, that's where we're--this is the old hypothetical again. And let me just put it this way: It doesn't change my opinion about him. Matter of fact, it reinforces the fact that anybody who would be so cold and heartless as to hold an American flyer for all this period of time without notification to his family just--I wouldn't put it past him, given the fact that he gassed his own people.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the news. I remember you posted about how Michael Speicher was used as propaganda tool a few years ago.

The website still has a copy posted of a 10/11/02 memorandum written by the then Secretary of the Navy Gordon England in which he explains why Speicher's status was first changed from KIA/BNR to MIA by his predecessor in January 2001.

England then explains why he changed Speicher's status from MIA to Missing/Captured. He notes that Speicher would then be considered to be a prisoner of war.

Gordon, a former General Dynamics exec, went on to serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense under Rumsfeld.


8/02/2009 2:08 PM  
Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

And did anyone of the news outlets mention this over the weekend? Of course not.

8/03/2009 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if reported, do you really think it would put this to rest? Not as long as there's "value" in another conspiracy.

8/03/2009 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CNN reported it on Monday. Although CNN claimed the family never gave up hope that Michael Speicher was alive, Mrs. Speicher apparently remarried quite awhile ago.

8/04/2009 10:56 AM  
Anonymous KAIMU said...


Where might Saddam have learned how to bomb and gas people? The Iraqis were taught all about bombing people, especially Kurds, by the British and Sir Winston Churchill when it was urged as a solution to the rebellious Iraqi Kurdish mobs back in 1920. The RAF dutifully carried out its orders!

Here is an account:

Churchill was particularly keen on chemical weapons, suggesting they be used "against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment". He dismissed objections as "unreasonable". "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes _ [to] spread a lively terror _"

Conventional raids, however, proved to be an effective deterrent. They brought Sheikh Mahmoud, the most persistent of Kurdish rebels, to heel, at little cost. Writing in 1921, Wing Commander J A Chamier suggested that the best way to demoralise local people was to concentrate bombing on the "most inaccessible village of the most prominent tribe which it is desired to punish. All available aircraft must be collected the attack with bombs and machine guns must be relentless and unremitting and carried on continuously by day and night, on houses, inhabitants, crops and cattle."

"The Arab and Kurd now know", reported Squadron Leader Harris after several such raids, "what real bombing means within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out, and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured, by four or five machines which offer them no real target, no opportunity for glory as warriors, no effective means of escape."

In his memoir of the crushing of the 1920 Iraqi uprising, Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer L Haldane, quotes his own orders for the punishment of any Iraqi found in possession of weapons "with the utmost severity": "The village where he resides will be destroyed _ pressure will be brought on the inhabitants by cutting off water power the area being cleared of the necessaries of life". He added the warning: "Burning a village properly takes a long time, an hour or more according to size".

Punitive British bombing continued throughout the 1920s. An eyewitness account by Saleh 'Umar al Jabrim describes a raid in February 1923 on a village in southern Iraq, where bedouin were celebrating 12 weddings. After a visit from the RAF, a woman, two boys, a girl and four camels were left dead. There were many wounded. Perhaps to please his British interrogators, Saleh declared: "These casualties are from God and no one is to be blamed." END

And so it goes ...

8/04/2009 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they wanted a war and needed support. of course they used this. who hasn't seen rambo II? we need the oil and i bet 20% of the country can't sleep at night because we're planning on pulling out.

8/08/2009 2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the Speicher story isn't the last pre-war story to be debunked.

There's the "Saddam tried to kill my daddy" myth. Circa 1998, the NY Times reported that the Kuwaitis had released the would-be assassins from prison, an indication that the Kuwaitis didn't take the murderous plot too seriously.

The mother of all pre-war Iraq myths is the one about the US not knowing Saddam was going to invade Kuwait in August 1990. In a September 1990 article, NY Times reporter, Florence Fabricant quotes US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie: "Obviously, I didn't think - and nobody else did - that the Iraqis were going to take all of Kuwait.''

8/08/2009 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

Since tcr refuses to post... Hey Kaimu.. The untermenschen gets what's coming to them. If they are not singing God Bless America while bombs are raining down on their heads they deserve to die. And if they are singing the star spangled banner while they is for the best... because American bombs bring freedom! Lol.. And who but some pathetic American hater would think hey... isn't it worth the glorious freedom of the USA! What are you? some kind of hitler?

8/09/2009 8:19 PM  
Anonymous KAIMU said...


Anyone who believes in EMPIRE needs to read the George Orwell short story, "Shooting An Elephant" ...

In my younger years I was an avid reader of Orwell and many here might be surprised to learn that he wrote more than just 1984 and Animal Farm!

"Shooting An Elephant" is by far the best book that I have ever read that supports our Founding Father's position on limited and small government. Essentially Empire imprisons itself until the weight of its fiscal and moral atrocities cause the fatal collapse. No past Empire has ever survived its own HUBRIS!

HUBRIS ... look it up! It was so important to the ancient Greeks that it was outlawed. Here in America it is a prerequisite to enter Harvard and the US Congress and without a massive dose you cannot even work in the mail room at Goldman Sachs!


8/10/2009 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Victor Crebolder said...

we should never forget Mark Twain's story/essay/assault To The people Sitting In Darkness where we can read the outrageous claim some European country once made towards China for killing one catholic priest.

Why this focus on one person when countless people die, will die & have to dy for reasons none other then the same reasons back then: profit, gain, freeloading tribes vandalising another tribe.

Why did that pilot fly there in the first place...

and Why, Twain stated, why should one individual be worth the ridiculous amount this country claimed from China, whereas everybody (in the dark)could see it was all just part of a worldwide pokergame.


8/13/2009 12:52 PM  
Anonymous KAIMU said...


"... it was all just part of a worldwide pokergame."

Here in America all red cards are wild!

8/15/2009 3:44 AM  
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8/19/2009 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Elli said...

really graet blog

8/25/2009 5:37 AM  
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