Mickey Kaus on Jamil Hussein:
Capt. Jamil Hussein, controversial AP source, seems to exist. That’s one important component of credibility!
Too bad about the other components . . .
UPDATE: For those of you who don’t know what I mean by that, I’ll spell it out.
Let me just remind you what a couple of the major questions about the initial “Burning Six” story are.
For one thing, the story initially claimed, based on Captain Hussein’s word, that there were four mosques burned:
The savage revenge attack for Thursday’s slaughter of 215 people in the Shiite Sadr City slum occurred as members of the Mahdi Army militia burned four mosques and several homes while killing 12 other Sunni residents in the once-mixed Hurriyah neighborhood, [Police Captain Jamil] Hussein said.
But after an Iraqi Army patrol said the mosques had not all been burned, the AP later appeared to back off of this claim, saying that they had corroborated claims of a burning at one mosque.
Second, the event generated remarkably little buzz — a fact that caused a local New York Times correspondent to doubt that it had happened. Here is what that correspondent said in response to a query from a New York Times reporter:
You ask me about what our own reporting shows about this incident. When we first heard of the event on Nov. 24, through the A.P. story and a man named Imad al-Hashemi talking about it on television, we had our Iraqi reporters make calls to people in the Hurriya neighborhood. Because of the curfew that day, everything had to be done by phone. We reached several people who told us about the mosque attacks, but said they had heard nothing of Sunni worshippers being burned alive. Any big news event travels quickly by word of mouth through Baghdad, aided by the enormous proliferation of cell phones here. Such an incident would have been so abominable that a great many of the residents in Hurriya, as well as in other Sunni Arab districts, would have been in an uproar over it. Hard-line Sunni Arab organizations such as the Muslim Scholars Association or the Iraqi Islamic Party would almost certainly have appeared on television that day or the next to denounce this specific incident. Iraqi clerics and politicians are not shy about doing this. Yet, as far as I know, there was no widespread talk of the incident. So I mentioned it only in passing in my report.
Also, the Washington Post reported that “two local imams, in an interview, denied such an attack took place.” Could they have been wrong? Sure. But does their denial raise questions? Yes, it does. Have those questions been answered? No, they haven’t.
I’m still curious about Marc Danziger’s sources, which said that the only Jam(a)il Hussein at Yarmouk was a Sgt. Hussein who was a Uday acolyte and Baathist holdover. Is this the same guy that the Ministry of the Interior says is at al-Khadra? I don’t know.
There are plenty of other unanswered questions. Plenty. Cassandra has an excellent post on this which you should read, which mentions a few. Karl at Protein Wisdom has more.
But the left hopes to try to embarrass righty bloggers into ignoring all these questions, as if the fact that Jamil Hussein is a policeman ends the whole inquiry. But it doesn’t, as I noted when we thought Marc Danziger had found the guy:
[F]inding that such a person exists doesn’t answer the many lingering questions about the story. . . . [I]f the [AP] story is completely wrong — and there is such a person as Jam(a)il Hussein, Legit Iraqi Cop — doesn’t he have some ’splainin’ to do?
Yes, he does. Will we get the explanation? I doubt it.
By the way, those oh-so-careful leftists? Some of them are claiming that Jamil Hussein has already been arrested — based on a report that says he faces arrest. Careful leftists like this guy, who says “Malkin may get this guy killed” because “Jamil Hussein has been found, and he’s been arrested.” There is another example I could give you from a much more major lefty site (“he’s now been arrested . . .”), but it’s a site I don’t link as a matter of principle, so you’ll have to figure it out yourself. (It rhymes with “Madly Ho.”) Anyway, keep your eyes open for the lefties who claim Jamil Hussein has already been arrested. You’ll see ’em. Because they’re the careful ones!
The bottom line is that, as Kaus says, existence may be “one important component of credibility” — but there are others. And Jamil Hussein fails miserably on those.
Saying that “Jamil Hussein exists” ends the story is like saying there is nothing to Rathergate because Bill Burkett existed.
Usually, the fact that a media outlet actually has a source is not cause for rejoicing. Usually, the source is expected to be accurate and reliable.
Not here. For the lefty bloggers, existence ends the inquiry. Or so they hope.