mlah The “culture” that has evolved here isn’t conducive to sissies

December 15, 2004


Filed under: Politics — mlah @ 11:09 pm

there’s a new term on the internet.

astro turfing.

simply put, it’s artificial grass. and in the context of the blogosphere (faux pas, i know) it is the act of artificially creating a hubbub.

not clear?

let me give you the context of where i found it.

some certain asshat, who’s initials are juan cole, are claiming that the ‘agent provaceteurs’ are astroturfing support for the iraqi war through manipulation of opinion in the blogosphere.

specifically, he named ‘iraq the model’ as a ‘potential’ astroturfed blog.

does he really believe a corp or think tank is running propaganda on the web through a few iraqis in baghdad.

as support for his claim, he pulls the usual noam chomsky tactic of raising a possibility, building another possibility on top of that, then expecting me to believe the whole mess as truth. intellectually devoid of any credibility.

in fairness here is juan coles post on his site.

let’s take a look.

but first, a little background on the squabble. i’ve been delinquent in my military blog reading for far too long. no more. y’all will see a little leaning in this area for a while.

after the gulf war, there were more than a few iraqis who set up blogs.

here are some:
iraq the model
healing iraq
ibn alrafidain
kurdo’s world

these blogs are important for the point i am making. most iraqi blogs are kind of pro american. except for riverbend. if you go to a few of the blogs listed above, they kind of all link to more iraqi blogs. brothers in blogs, so to speak. take a look at healing iraq. sharp dude, had a relative killed by u.s. troops, apparently in bad circumstances. i doubted him at first. surely, none of our troops would behave as he claimed. but his internet campaign forced the DoD to launch an investigation, and the truth came out. he’s still pro american. i don’t think he likes us as an occupying force, but is willing to persevere long enough for a democracy to be set up.

juan cole makes the case, that because opinion polls in iraq are mostly anti u.s., and most iraqi blogs are pro u.s., that these pro-u.s. blogs must be funded by someone with an agenda.

bet he believes in the illuminati too.


has it ever occured to him that the opinion polls could be wrong? not like the western press has ever ‘polled’ anything, made a conclusion, and then seen the oppostie come about? remember j f’n kerry? exit polls had him so far ahead….

no. he doesn’t make this leap in analytical thought because he is biased.

biased as evidenced by his choice of polls.

he keeps citing polls on iraqis’ faith in the cpa, and the cpa is now non-existant, and drawing his conclusions from that. he IS a doctor, supposedly at u of michigan, so i credit him with a modicum of intellect. his obvious error in the choice of his sources must have been deliberate.

tell me juan cole, how much faith do you have in the mongol silver horde to administer the former seat of the umayyid caliphate? what’s that you say? long gone? but wait, the local populace has little faith in the mongols as an occupying force…..


he merely raises the question. cites what he thinks are suspicious coincidences, and then expects us to tie the whole thing together as a covert attempt by the pentagon to influence public opinion through manipulation of the blogosphere.
he really doesn’t even make those observations himself, he cites the martini republic. he expects me to accept his arguments as truth when the best he can do is cite another blogs suspicions?

what an asstard.

here are some specifics from his post.

The MR posting brings up questions about the Iraqi brothers who run the IraqTheModel site. It points out that the views of the brothers are celebrated in the right-leaning weblogging world of the US, even though opinion polling shows that their views are far out of the mainstream of Iraqi opinion. It notes that their choice of internet service provider, in Abilene, Texas, is rather suspicious, and wonders whether they are getting some extra support from certain quarters.

Contrast all this to the young woman computer systems analyst in Baghdad, Riverbend, who is in her views closer to the Iraqi opinion polls, especially with regard to Sunni Arabs, but who is not being feted in Washington, DC.

look, us ‘the neoconservative web-bloggers’ can do what we want with our money. the little bit of it we manage to keep out of your incompetant welfare wastes. us, NOT wanting to pay money to speak with riverbend is not indicative of any plot by the anyone. anymore than you paying to bring riverbend to ann arbor is indicative of a plot.


The phenomenon of blog trolling, and frankly of blog agents provocateurs secretly working for a particular group or goal and deliberately attempting to spread disinformation, is likely to grow in importance. It is a technique made for the well-funded Neoconservatives, for instance, and I have my suspicions about one or two sites out there already.

how much money did jfk have leftover at the end of the election? well funded? what is the persoanl wealth of jfk and his significant other?

by his logic, that’s evidence the libshitz are spreading disinformation on my blog!

oh wait, some troll has actually left crap here and claimed to BE juan cole before.

i have my suspicions about some sites too.

yeah. i have more ranting to come.


  1. I’m just waiting for the drama to start. I have a migrane and PMS and I’m ready to start bitching lefties out. K thnx.

    Comment by rachel — December 16, 2004 @ 1:31 am

  2. He didn’t “CLAIM” anything. He merely related someone else’s hypothesis that it is a possibility, which it is. Neither you nor I nor Juan Cole nor Martini Republic really know for sure, do we?
    Below is JC’s latest response to this hubbub.
    Myself, just for the record, I don’t work for anyone; I comment here as a labor of love, totally amateur hobbyist, not rewarded in any way by anyone.
    I really don’t know what you are so up in arms over.

    My allegation that the IraqTheModel website is far outside the norm of Iraqi public opinion as measured by polling has caused a stir in the weblogging world among, apparently, dittoheads who can’t read polls.

    Here are the results of an April, 2004, Gallup poll, which was scientifically weighted and involved over 3000 face-to-face interviews all over the country.

    On Balance, do you think of the Americans mostly as Occupiers or liberators?

    Occupiers: 71 %
    Liberators 19%

    (43% reported that in April 2003, they had thought of the Americans as liberators).

    How have the US Forces Conducted themselves?

    58% said “fairly badly” or “very badly.”

    Asked if the US was serious about establishing democracy in Iraq:

    50% said “no.”
    12% said “don’t know.”

    Asked if attacks on US troops could be justified,

    52% said “sometimes,” “somewhat,” or “completely.”

    The United States had an unfavorability rating of


    (and there wasn’t a significant difference between the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs).

    Only 31% favored a separation of mosque and state! (But 66% of Kurds did).

    Only 30% of the Arab population favored a multiparty parliamentary democracy!

    I drew attention to Martini Republic’s questions about the independence of IraqTheModel without actually expressing any opinion myself one way or another, except to say that they are out of the Iraqi mainstream. The dittoheads who read them and can look at the above polling figures and come to a different conclusion are just innumerate (if only they were also so illiterate as to be unable to figure out my email address).

    One of them complained that this poll was done last April. Does anybody really think US favorability numbers are up since then?

    An IRI poll in September found that Muqtada al-Sadr was just about as popular as Iyad Allawi (45% and 47% favorability respectively). And Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the clerical leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, trumped them all.

    – (the real ) Juan Cole

    Comment by f-in_cheney — December 16, 2004 @ 4:41 am

  3. I think until Juan Cole lives in Iraq for a couple of years, travelling throughout the whole region, he really can’t speak for or against the Iraqis, or for or against the war, with any certain amount of expertise. JC and folks like him thrive on purely the negative. That is the only thing that existst in their mindset. So, I challenge JC to leave the comfy confines of his academic comfort, go live in Iraq, and then come back and tell us how it really is. Give us a real opinion based on real experience.

    Comment by Madame Butterfly — December 16, 2004 @ 10:55 pm

  4. That’s great Madame Butterfly, count yourself among the “innumerate”. Your problem is with the Gallup organization, not Prof. Cole. Frigging idiots.
    How was the Gallup Poll of Iraq conducted?
    “For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ń1.7 percentage points.”

    Comment by f-in_cheney — December 17, 2004 @ 1:33 am

  5. jc, you don’t dispute her claim that you only live off of the negative.

    did she hit a nerve?

    and whether you, or gallup want to admit it, it is more than possible for an iraqi to view the u.s. as an occupier, and still have a positive view of the u.s..

    you’re making bad conclusions based off of your own persoanl desires.

    isn’t that called self affirmation? come on now. take a basic psyc course.

    Comment by mlah — December 17, 2004 @ 9:30 am

  6. NICE POST, Dude!

    NICE WORK!!!!

    [cheers from County Cork, Ireland!]

    Comment by Dz — December 17, 2004 @ 11:29 am

  7. “jc, you don’t dispute her claim that you only live off of the negative.
    did she hit a nerve?”
    Umm, NO.
    As I have already asked you putzes to do, read Juan Cole on a day-to-day basic like I do, and you will see that mostly what he does is refer people to HARD NEWS stories about Iraq, especially as they refer to the underlying religious groups there, which was his obscure specialty before this war was a glimmer in Rummy’s eye.
    He has condemned this insurgency, considers them evil terrorists– it’s just that he FORESAW some of problems we’re having. He knew disbanding the army was a boneheaded play. He deduced, long before our leaders and media seem to have, that the idea of Iraq being flooded with “foreign fighters” was wildly exaggerated.
    If telling people what they don’t want to hear, but which is nevertheless true, is the sin of negativism, then yes, he is guilty of that, you fagbats.
    And, Mme. Butterfly, he has travelled extensively in the area, worked there for years.
    Mlah, precisely WHAT “bad conclusions” have I or Gallup or JCole made? Have any of us said that it isn’t “more than possible for an iraqi to view the u.s. as an occupier, and still have a positive view of the u.s.”? No, no one has suggested that that. More than PROBABLE, NO. More than POSSIBLE, YES. It’s a matter of REPRESENTATIVENESS. MOST Iraqis both view us an an occupier AND have a negative view of the U.S. Some don’t! Most Kurds love us! Cole hopes things work out wonderfully for the Iraqi people, as do I– he’s just alerting us all to some of the roadblocks that our gov’t doesn’t always see, some of which we may even be exacerbating– if not downright creating out of thin air. He wants to help. Our leaders ignore him at their peril (our rather the peril of the troops on the ground).

    Comment by f-in_cheney — December 17, 2004 @ 5:42 pm

  8. once again gussy boy, you prove yourself a moron.

    “mostly what he does is refer people to HARD NEWS”

    was any of the astroturfing dribble hard news? which parts constitute most of it?

    no gus, i refuse to bow down and worship with you at the feet of baal. i mean juan cole. i read him occasionally, when it please me.

    you’ve kept repeating your own fantasies long enough that you actually believe them.

    what bad coclusions have you or juan cole made?

    1st, i’m not going to gritique your demigod. if he wants me to debate with him, he can post here. he should be reading what i have to say everyday. afterall, i do know more about the region than he does.

    2nd, you gussy boy. your bad conclusions. that’ll have to be the subject of another post.

    Comment by mlah — December 17, 2004 @ 6:04 pm

  9. Where did an Iraqi kid learn to write English?


    Comment by mark — December 17, 2004 @ 7:38 pm

  10. the french taught him

    Comment by mlah — December 17, 2004 @ 8:14 pm

  11. “was any of the astroturfing dribble hard news? which parts constitute most of it?”

    Anyone can go thru his website and see for themselves that– and I stand by my statement 100% — “mostly what he does is refer people to HARD NEWS.” What is someone else’s conjecture, he qualifies as such– read the original post again. One needn’t worship him as some kind of god to understand the English language.
    You’re really not doing much to make a case that I am a moron aside from simply stating it. Why wait for some future post, why not here and now? Because you need time to contort yourself into unnatural and impossible rhetoric. And now you’re not going to critique JCole because “if he wants me to debate with him, he can post here”??? Wow, you’re taking everything off the table becaue YOU GOT NUTHIN’. So, so lame and cowardly and hypocritical… and defeated, in front of all your friends and family.

    Comment by f-in_cheney — December 18, 2004 @ 5:15 am

  12. Hmmm, going back through old postings and notice that F-in Gus is being homophobic and using offensive terms (calling people on Mlah’s page “fagbats”). Where’s the outrage from the Left?

    And now Gussy’s upset because Mlah makes a statement and refuses to enter a debate over the statement (which is exactly what Gussy’s liberal ilk do all the time). So, Gussy’s mad because Mlah’s acting like his political kith and kin?

    Comment by yup — January 6, 2005 @ 7:15 am

  13. how dare you insinuate that i’m acting like a lefty! the outrage!

    must be more conservative!

    i merely refused to accept gus as juan cole’s champion. i believe gus speaks for himself and no-one else.

    Comment by mlah — January 6, 2005 @ 3:30 pm

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