The New York Times piece on the Iraqi documents brought this bit of analysis to my attention:
On his blog last week, Ray Robison, a former Army officer from Alabama, quoted a document reporting a supposed scheme to put anthrax into American leaflets dropped in Iraq and declared: "Saddam's W.M.D. and terrorist connections all proven in one document!!!"
The Times reporter notes that "the anthrax document that intrigued Mr. Robison, the Alabama blogger, does not seem to prove much. It is a message from the Quds Army, a regional militia created by Mr. Hussein, to Iraqi military intelligence that passes on reports picked up by troops, possibly from the radio, since the information is labeled "open source" and "impaired broadcast."
All true. But I noticed something else. The English translation does indeed say "impaired broadcast," but the Arabic original says "itha'a sawa."
Which could mean "impaired broadcast", I suppose, but also
sounds an awful lot like... Radio Sawa. Which is, of course, the name of the American government run
Arabic language radio station which began broadcasting in 2002. Which could,
hilariously enough, mean that the al-Quds Division document was
actually reporting propaganda picked up
from an American radio station. Which an enthusiastic conservative blogger then, in turn, embraced as evidence. In a word, blowback!
That might or might not be the case, but sure would be a heck of a story if it were - which, frankly, is pretty likely the strongest conclusion any of us bloggers are ever going to be able to draw from scrutinizing these documents.
UPDATE: Bingo! AA regular upyernoz brought the Radio Sawa thing over to Robison's blog; Robison's translator agreed; Robison acknowledged that he was probably wrong; and then another of his commenters found a quote from Richard Myers during the war which makes a strong circumstantial case that this was, in fact, a report based on what was heard on Sawa as part of an American psychological warfare. Well done, upyernoz and others!