Remember the horrific accounts of how Al Qaeda used two women with Down Syndrome to carry out attacks killing roughly 100 people in Baghdad in February? It turns out that there is no evidence that they had any physical or mental ailments and may not have any connection to Al Qaeda. It turns out the the account of the Down syndrome bombers was traced to Iraqi officials who reportedly based their view on the appearance of the women’ heads – which had been severed in the blasts.
The U.S. military joined in the account of the use of disabled individuals shortly after the blast to show how low Al Qaeda would go. Maj. Gen. Jeffery W. Hammond indicated that the women were mentally disabled and did not know what they were doing. The military now admits that there is no evidence that the women were unwitting participants.
The irony is that you really do not have to make Al Qaeda look worse. Even without the use of disabled individuals, the organization is subhuman and needs no improvement on the villainy scale. Indeed, many of Al Qaeda’s supporter like Zacarias Moussaoui has proven to be barking lunatics. However, the story shows how hard military information specialists work to frame the conflict. A problem that we saw in the Tillman scandal in Afghanistan and other stories.
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