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Wikipedia Entry Turned Into Actual Encyclopedia

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

Wikipedia 96

Ponca City, We love you writes "If journalism is the first rough draft of history, what does that make Wikipedia? Time Magazine reports that technology writer James Bridle has created a 12-volume compendium of every edit made to the Wikipedia entry for the Iraq War between December 2004 and November 2009. 'It contains arguments over numbers, differences of opinion on relevance and political standpoints, and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes "Saddam Hussein was a dickhead.,"' writes Bridle. 'This is historiography. This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification.' The books presumably only exist in one copy, so they are not for sale."

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96 comments

More Pictures at BookTwo (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532466)

Time Magazine reports ...

It was BookTwo that originated this story [booktwo.org] because that's written by the guy who put the book together [shorttermmemoryloss.com] (which was picked up by a blog [tumblr.com] which was picked up by The Awl [theawl.com] which was picked up by Time's NewsFeed [time.com]). Of course, we are talking about Time [theonion.com] here. I found the images [flickr.com] of what's actually inside very interesting but I would bet that the guy who used some simple code to create the Creative Commons work is probably the only person to tender cash for a physical copy.

Here's another complete rewrite reducing the whole article to:

-
Iraq War, eh???
-
All your oil are belong to U.S.
-
Stup up stoopid Americans

But you know what's really interesting? When Bridle compiled this used their lexer to transform the XML, he kept the IP address in the upper right of each edit. So the above edit's IP address is forever in print: 68.162.123.240 Of course if you had used a username to make an edit, that was put in place of the IP address.

This whole thing reminds me of the time lapse video done of the Virginia Tech shootings [youtube.com]. Creative stuff you can do with Wikipedia.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532492)

Clearly shows two things we already knew; history only tells a very small part of the story; and it represents the view of whoever is doing the writing, rather than any guarantee of the reality.

Just think how poor the quality is for history written long after the fact from indirect evidence. Boggles the mind.

And in that light, I'd like to present: This tee design [teevirus.com]. :)

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532732)

As the saying goes, history is written by the winners.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (3, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532790)

Indeed. Or, perhaps in the case of Wikipedia, "History is written by the whiners."

:o)

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533644)

And those with a cult following. Wikipedia's notability requirements are a bit "in or out". I've noticed many no-so-notable people, events and activities that probably qualifies for a page but that get a ton of information, many links from other pages and whatnot as if they were really big and important. I'm quite sure Wikipedia will give a skewed image of the past compared to what people actually thought.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (2, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533960)

I'm quite sure Wikipedia will give a skewed image of the past compared to what people actually thought.

As opposed to the totally inclusive image of history given by book publishers/editors/collectors though the ages?

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33536412)

As opposed to the totally inclusive [b]New York/London-centric[/b] image of history given by book publishers/editors/collectors though the ages?

Fixed that for you :)

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534000)

Never forget: if you have a wikipedia admin at your back, you can get away with murder. If you were a friend of a now-wikipedia admin, never fear, they will make sure your entry glows.

Take Frank Zeidler [wikipedia.org], communist former mayor of Milwaukee, and look at how the Wikipedia article glows. The reason is that one of his "friends", a wikipedia administrator named Orangemike [wikipedia.org], patrols the article with a vengeance and has no qualms about banning anyone who tries to un-POV the article. He even went so far as to make ridiculous false sockpuppet allegations [wikipedia.org] and still somehow became an administrator in wikipedia's corrupt system.

Nevermind [[WP:OWN]] problems. Orangemike is a corrupt scumwad and since he's supported by other corrupt scumwad admins, he gets away with it.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534246)

One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter? I wonder if not the concept of impartial reporting of facts is a pipe dream of epic proportions. Maybe it would be better if everyone just declared their biases front and center.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534806)

Like sex. Look up almost anything related to sex and you'll find tons of gratuitous photos and illustrations. Search on something visually fascinating which should feature photos and routinely you're lucky if they've bothered to include a lone, crappy photo.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

rolando2424 (1096299) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535568)

I'm quite sure Wikipedia will give a skewed image of the past compared to what people actually thought.

That's why I only trust slashdot's editors.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33533598)

As the saying goes, history is written by the winners.

Well, the v1.0 for sure is, provided winners were more literate then losers, which wasn't always the case. We might say more accurately that history is written by many, but only the history written or authorized by the winners is allowed to be read, at least as long as the victory stands, that is. Once victors' luck is up, their history is thrown away and new winners write not only new chapters, but rewrite old ones too, creating version v1.1, which then becomes new canon.

However, once the importance of history for present politics fades away, historians often seek and find clues of what was left out of official versions or outright fabricated. In the end all known independent and relevant sources are cross referenced and compared with other material evidence and then history v.2.0 is compiled. Unfortunately, due to parallels, analogies and symbolism of even ancient history for present time, as well as some nations' very long lived heritage, we don't get that much v2.0 and later updates history - because very little history is non-consequential today and it is thus held hostage by politics. It is also main reason why none ever learns anything from history, or why learning history never helped anyone - because we can't allow people to get inappropriate ideas from studying unadulterated history! If history is the teacher of life, it is important to those in power (i.e. winners) to ensure that it teaches "proper moral values" - which are already taught elsewhere and generally known. That's how you get history by Wig, history by Marxists, history by nationalists, history by any ideology, especially those who even doesn't recognize themselves as one, "normalists" or "mainstreamists".

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | more than 3 years ago | (#33543668)

As the saying goes, history is written by the winners.

s/is/was/
(Or for those who don't know this editor script ... substitute "is" with "was", producing "history was written by the winners.")
One of the few things that can be said for sure ... sorry, that's a little overconfident. One of the few things that can be said with a high degree of confidence about the consequences of the Internet, and it's significant democratisation of the production, retention and distribution of information, is that people who are not "the winners" will be able to have their say, and for that to be heard by generations to come.
Once you view, for example, the Facebook chatter of people who've just been dumped (by their employer, significant other, cricket team, whatever) in that light, you'll see that our history has so far generally been written from the winner's point of view. On precisely the same point is the way that Wikileaks (with the essential assistance of the people who actually leak the information) is disseminating information about the true consequences of modern warfare.

Which reminds me to make this month's payment to Wikileaks, to do my bit to mollify my conscience that I've done something to fight back against the governments that are doing terrible things to people that I don't know, and doing them in my name. There's not a lot that I can do about the misuse of my name, but I can damage the governments that are doing it.

It must be terribly galling to politicians to have people holding them to account for their lies and deceits while they're still in power. I'm not surprised that they're trying to put the genie back into the bottle.

Re:More Pictures at BookTwo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33534202)

The IP addresses/user names have to be printed; Wikipedia is published under a copyleft license that requires attribution.

Ah yes (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532482)

Never let facts get in the way of a poorly constructed opinion.

Of course, it's hard to tell what the facts are when your opinion is constructed of information told by people who refuse to divulge the facts...or something.

Re:Ah yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33534180)

Of course, it's hard to tell what the facts are when your opinion is constructed of information told by people who refuse to divulge the facts...or something. [johnpilger.com]

FTFY!

Re:Ah yes (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534716)

Truth of it is, if you didn't witness it first hand, you'll never know what actually happened. Everyone revises history, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. The best we can do is ask around and use the majority of agreeing sources as "fact". This is why it's important to be a part of things, as opposed to reading them (says the guy in his mom's basement).

Re:Ah yes (1)

ajrs (186276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535620)

Truth of it is, if you didn't witness it first hand, you'll never know what actually happened. Everyone revises history, sometimes on purpose, sometimes not. The best we can do is ask around and use the majority of agreeing sources as "fact". This is why it's important to be a part of things, as opposed to reading them (says the guy in his mom's basement).

Even if you do witness something first hand, your own biases and limited perception can change the 'facts'.

The iraq war? (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532486)

It would've been much more interesting were it made with the discussion on malamanteau.

Re:The iraq war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532706)

best xkcd ever!

"This is historiography." (0)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532506)

Is that the same kind of bullshit as "edutainment"?

Re:"This is historiography." (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532582)

Think of it as a description of a running battle, in this case, a flame war. Maybe one day in the future, historians will study great flame wars of history, like alt.impeach.bush during the run-up to the 2004 election as compared to, say, the Battle for Iwo Jima. I guess by that metric, that would make news.admin.net-abuse.email the 100 Years War.

Re:"This is historiography." (4, Informative)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532610)

Wow, you missed something in college. Historiography is essentially "checking your sources" and looking at how history was written. It's not some off-the-wall media term or something. Every historian does (or should do) it.

Re:"This is historiography." (0, Offtopic)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532692)

I thought on soviet Slashdot, college was for suckers? At least, that seems to be the general narrative any time someone mentions college in an 'Ask Slashdot'. Maybe this can answer the question once and for all: college isn't there to teach you IT, and probably not to teach you how to be a programmer if you just aren't one; college is there to help you raise the level of your discourse to an acceptable level.

Re:"This is historiography." (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532614)

No, you're just a fucking moron with the vocabulary of a 4th grader.

historiography /hstrigrfi, -stor-/ Show Spelled[hi-stawr-ee-og-ruh-fee, -stohr-] Show IPA
–noun,plural-phies.
1.the body of literature dealing with historical matters; histories collectively.
2.the body of techniques, theories, and principles of historical research and presentation; methods of historical scholarship.
3.the narrative presentation of history based on a critical examination, evaluation, and selection of material from primary and secondary sources and subject to scholarly criteria.
4.an official history: medieval historiographies.

Wikipedia admins are fucking bastards (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532536)

Bsadowski1, Pmdrive1061, Nawlinwiki, Derhexer and Gogo Dodo are the worst of the bastards.

You can find a lot more. Go to wikipedia, click login / create account and create accounts with insulting usernames.

Willy on Wheels!

Saddam Hussein not a dickhead?? (5, Funny)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532546)

[...] and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes "Saddam Hussein was a dickhead.

I searched the page, and I cannot find the entry that Saddam Hussein was a dickhead. Should I assume he was not?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War [wikipedia.org]

Re:Saddam Hussein not a dickhead?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532864)

[...] and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes "Saddam Hussein was a dickhead.

I searched the page, and I cannot find the entry that Saddam Hussein was a dickhead. Should I assume he was not?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War [wikipedia.org]

Propaganda

Don't worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532868)

Check again in 5 minutes, and I'm sure it'll be there.

Cathedral vs. Bazaar (0)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532576)

I think this is a good thing.

The old version of history was a pronouncement from above about "what happened", as if it could be exactly determined, rather than being a story you tell like priests interpret scriptures.

I think it's good to have argumentation about historical facts, and what they're based on (government press releases?). Historians based history on "documents", which are all too often just complete lies typed up.

It's funny how when if someone tries to sell you the Brooklyn bridge verbally you'd never buy it, but if it's "documented", then it becomes a "fact", a data point for history.

This applies to both sides of the partisan divide from FDR's knowledge (if any) about Pearl Harbor, Eisenhower's Iran coup, Kennedy's Cuba invasion, the October Surprise (if any) of release of US hostages from Iran, Iran-Contra, etc.

Re:Cathedral vs. Bazaar (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532682)

I think you may need to spend more time reading history books. Historians are not content to assume that every document from a verifiable is the "truth".

If you scan through any history textbook, you will always find a debate on the accuracy of all of their sources, as well as discussions on the motivations of the author, and the weaknesses in their account.

Only very poor historians ever assume a documented "fact" is the absolute truth.

Re:Cathedral vs. Bazaar (4, Interesting)

Rysc (136391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533012)

Historians are not content to assume that every document from a verifiable is the "truth".

However the people who read history books, by and large, tend to assume that what they read is true. Or, at least, based on facts. It's an interesting mental trap: I know fact X about history because I read it in a respectable history book. But was that fact based on a highly reliable source, multiple reliable sources, hearsay, speculation? As the end-reader it's hard to know. It's even somewhat difficult for the historian to really verify something, if that's what he's trying to do. If enough people after the fact begin asserting a certain narrative about what happened or what it meant then this can "drown out" contrary accounts, especially if it is not due to a centrally directed conspiracy.

What the historian eventually writes down as his best estimate of the truth is going to be presumed to be correct by his readership, absent someone discovering something that makes it obviously untrue. Even in such a case many will continue to cling to the correctness of the account they read first, denying evidence that now proves it incorrect. This happens all the time.

Re:Cathedral vs. Bazaar (3, Funny)

Izhido (702328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532796)

Okay, this is all good and all that. But, I think the real question in here is: *WHO* is the real owner of the Brooklyn bridge? Who should I call to make a bid for it? I mean, I'm so tired of giving money to the wrong people for it... sigh...

Is this something actually useful? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532584)

Is this an actual useful work containing for instance some sort of commentary?

Or is this one of those artistic statements where somebody just took the entire history of the page and printed it as a book with minimal formatting?

Re:Is this something actually useful? (2, Insightful)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533020)

Why does it need a commentary to be useful? There is plenty of value in seeing the timeline and content of edits as they progress, being able to see what entries survived and remain and which have been done away with. It can give us insights into the process, the type of people that actually take the time to work on a wiki, the value of knowing multiple edits came from a single IP range. Some people like to say Wikipedia is a democracy, but there are people whose sole purpose is to raise the level of quality, that, tempered with the large amount of information coming from all over the globe (the internet is a relatively border-less society) can teach us a whole lot. Now, this is just one article, but I imagine for scientific value many articles of a varying nature would have to be looked at.

Re:Is this something actually useful? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533556)

Because all that is available on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], except it doesn't take a whole shelf, and is more convenient to access.

Proper commentary could be incredibly interesting. A book on how the news about the war affected the changes people made to the article, the different editing factions, etc could be very worth reading.

Re:Is this something actually useful? (1)

carp3_noct3m (1185697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535382)

I see what you are saying now, that having someone interpret it and make some summaries of the information therein would indeed be valuable.

Re:Is this something actually useful? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#33536532)

It's a primary source, in printed form, of the developments of the Iraq war for ~6 years. This is sort of like (but not really) having the transcription of every town hall meeting and journalist's notes from the Civil War in your bookshelves to reference if you wanted to write the de-facto book on the subject. Somewhere in there is some fact of number that was deemed too obscure or too specific for a general wikipedia article buried in those 12 volumes that someone might use in a book some day. Primary sources are very important when doing research, just ask your 8th grade social studies teacher :)

they say history is written by the winners (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532600)

now, with the internet, we get to see all of the opinions forming: the opinions that won out, the opinions that lost out, and of course, the trolls

internet: what is history without trolls?

Re:they say history is written by the winners (2, Interesting)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532622)

Actually, I think that what you stated is the true genius of wikipedia - not necessarily the finished product, but the PROCESS of how that product evolves over time.

On historical matters, it also shows that maybe we CAN'T know the whole story because, even in today's world, facts can be dubious things.

Re:they say history is written by the winners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532700)

Wikipedia: History written by losers

Re:they say history is written by the winners (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33535072)

This always reminds me of an article I read on ancient Rome. Back then they had a problem with graffiti, people would write and draw all kinds of nasty things about the politics of the day onto the side of buildings. The solution was to simply whitewash over it. Fast forward to the present, archeologist's are pealing back those layers of whitewash to get to the graffiti underneath. It's providing historians with very interesting insights. I wonder if 2000 years from now we will see historians poring over our troll threads to better understand us.

some of the scariest 'life' forms on the planet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532616)

Elliott Abrams Gary Bauer William J. Bennett Jeb Bush

Dick Cheney Eliot A. Cohen Midge Decter Paula Dobriansky Steve Forbes

Aaron Friedberg Francis Fukuyama Frank Gaffney Fred C. Ikle

Donald Kagan Zalmay Khalilzad I. Lewis Libby Norman Podhoretz

Dan Quayle Peter W. Rodman Stephen P. Rosen Henry S. Rowen

Donald Rumsfeld Vin Weber George Weigel Paul Wolfowitz

it's what they represent that's unnerving to us. more&more (soon to be) bad history reflecting negatively on all of us all of the time now. we (all of us) are accountable for their megalomaniacal behaviors.

A shame it was such a contentious issue. (4, Interesting)

VShael (62735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532660)

Even at this late stage, there are
1) People who still claim there were WMDs.
2) People who say there were WMD's but don't actually believe it anymore.
3) People who say we genuinely thought there WMD's and there was never any reason not to think so.
4) People who say we genuinely thought there WMD's but we were misled by bad intelligence.
5) People who say we genuinely thought there might be WMD's, but if we were wrong, we didn't really care.
6) People who say we never actually thought there were WMD's, but they made a good excuse to invade.
7) People who now say there were no WMD's, but pretend that they knew this all along.
8) People who claim that there never were WMD's, but no one would listen to them.

At any one time, any one of these subsects could be winning the ongoing flame war.

I can't help but think this exercise might have been more meaningful, had it been conducted over a page with less competing factions.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (5, Interesting)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532928)

The thing is, Iraq really did have WMDs at one point. This is a verifiable, widely known fact. The use of them is documented. However, they bought them from the US who was willing to sell chemical weapons to the lesser of two evils in order to create a bullwork against Iran, after our Iranian puppet fell in revolution. I make no claim to have any knowledge of whether or not Iraq had any WMDs at the time of the invasion, and frankly its almost sort of irrelevant at this point.

This is all just fallout from the breakup of the Ottoman Empire following World War I. The British encouraged Arab nationalism against the Turks, since Istanbul was allied with the Germans. Then the Brits took over administration of the region, and in World War II, the Germans backed the Baathists against the British. Then the Americans took their turn, and now we have this crap. Its all just failed attempts at managing an empire without the benefit of a heavy boot.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (2, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533376)

And even all that ignores the fact that WMDs were found. The were basically remnants of their previous stockpiles. Of course they were invaded because of supposed, massive levels of new production. It didn't matter that none was actually found as Saddam was more than happy to play the cat-n-mouse/shell game with inspectors which played right into intelligence reports. Reports, which seemingly, indirectly, verified Saddam has biological weapons to hide, much of which was on the basis of Saddam's cat-n-mouse/shell game.

The morale of the story? When your country is on the brink of invasion, don't play games which create the illusion you have what they are looking for, when people are looking to avoid the invasion in the first place.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (2, Interesting)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533870)

It was obvious, even at that time, that Saddam was playing a shell game in order to create the perception of strength for both his country's civilians and his neighbours. By maintaining the illusion of strength, the Iraqi population was less likely to revolt and he would make Syria and Iran less likely to consider invading. He also had to maintain the illusion to prevent Kuwait from resuming their directional drilling scheme which sparked the whole 1990 Gulf War.

The fact is that the first Gulf War left Iraq hugely weakened and Saddam did not want to look weak.

It was clear from a very early time in the second Gulf War that Saddam did not have even half as much resources as he had at the start of the first Gulf War. The UN sanctions did work: He was not able to rebuild the military technology he had before.

Not that he had much military tech before - his efforts to clone and mass produce replenishments to his US-supplied chemical weapons was largely a bust. Allied forces in both wars suffered more health complications from the anti nerve-agent and other anti chemical and biological agents than they did from anything Saddam threw at them.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (2, Interesting)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534694)

in order to create the perception of strength for both his country's civilians and his neighbours.

I've heard that said endlessly at this point and I still don't buy it all. It doesn't make sense at all. Never has. Not one bit. Had he not played his game, inspectors would have come, verified, left, and that would have been the end of it.

Unless you're position is that the only reason his neighbors hadn't invaded and the population hadn't revolted is they feared use of biological weapons by Saddam. I've never heard that suggested before. Is that your position?

The reality is, the people were completely terrified on Saddam. The number of people killed in the Iraq war is a drop in the bucked compared to the deaths inflicted by Saddam every year. He was a modern day Stalin. And that's not counting the roaming terror squads who would randomly pick someone up. Frequently they were murdered. Torture was always used - typically involving meat hooks. Mass rape occurred every day. The chance of civil revolt was zero. For it to be non-zero means the population would have revolted and overthrown the government at the start of of the invasion. The population was frozen in terror. There was zero chance of revolt. US had actually hoped it would happen during the days of the invasion. It never did.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535326)

If it's a civil rights issue, they should have just fucking said that, not lied to people with the "mushroom cloud" nonsense.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | more than 3 years ago | (#33543084)

I would really like to see some solid verifiable backup to everyone of your claims. How the fuck you have been modded Interesting buggers belief.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33614958)

The reality is, the people were completely terrified on Saddam. The number of people killed in the Iraq war is a drop in the bucked compared to the deaths inflicted by Saddam every year. He was a modern day Stalin. And that's not counting the roaming terror squads who would randomly pick someone up. Frequently they were murdered. Torture was always used - typically involving meat hooks. Mass rape occurred every day. The chance of civil revolt was zero. For it to be non-zero means the population would have revolted and overthrown the government at the start of of the invasion. The population was frozen in terror. There was zero chance of revolt. US had actually hoped it would happen during the days of the invasion. It never did.

Wow. Bizarre logic, and not a single citation to back up any of your claims. And you have the sack to criticize other people's claims? Pathetic.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33637724)

Do I need a citation that 1+1=2?

Everything stated is extremely widely known. The fact that you're demanding a citation for what is essentially common knowledge says far, far more about you and how ill equipped you are to be making comments here, on this subject, than anything else.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33640860)

Do I need a citation that 1+1=2?

Everything stated is extremely widely known. The fact that you're demanding a citation for what is essentially common knowledge says far, far more about you and how ill equipped you are to be making comments here, on this subject, than anything else.

Estimates of Iraq war deaths versus Saddam inflicted deaths do not remotely equate to "a drop in the bucket" by any math I can think of. This is where a citation of what numbers you're using would at least tell us that you're not just making shit up, and that you're doing an apples to apples comparison.

As for the chance of revolt being zero, yeah, I think that requires some explanation, the kind that might be provided through a citation. Saying that they would have revolted at the start would mean that they thought they could do so without getting bombed by the U.S. or that the U.S. was actually going to follow through this time rather than getting them to act and then abandoning them, as it had done before to the Kurds. So, no, I don't think you've made a case for your zero chance claim.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534874)

Huh? No, no WMDs were found. 50 shells capable of being filled with chemicals eventually turned up, months after the invasion - but there were still no chemical weapons to put in them.

I don't think those in power in the US/UK were seriously looking to avoid the invasion. If they were, why invade just after the weapons inspectors had been allowed in? They could've afforded a few weeks to let Hans Blix & co. reach a conclusion (even if that conclusion was just "Saddam's not given us full access, again, so we don't know").

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535008)

The thing is, Iraq really did have WMDs at one point. This is a verifiable, widely known fact.

Saddam was more than happy to play the cat-n-mouse/shell game with inspectors which played right into intelligence reports. Reports, which seemingly, indirectly, verified Saddam has biological weapons to hide, much of which was on the basis of Saddam's cat-n-mouse/shell game.
 
The morale of the story? When your country is on the brink of invasion, don't play games which create the illusion you have what they are looking for, when people are looking to avoid the invasion in the first place.

Indeed - that's what the "never had any WMD" crowd misses completely. I used to frame it to my anti-war friends in a scenario than ran like this:

  • Yesterday morning, a man walked into a bank, shot three people with a pistol, and walked out with the cash. The cops have this on video clear as day. Yesterday afternoon, the same man was spotted running with what looked like a machine gun. Today, the cops have his house surrounded. He can be seen inside pointing what looks like a gun of some sort out his windows at the neighbors and occasionally through the picture window in the living room he can be see waving and pointing what appears to be a gun of some sort at someone you can't clearly see.
     
    Negotiations with the man have completely failed.
     
    What would you have the cops do?

Almost invariably the response was - "rush the motherf____r" or "have a sniper take the shot". If I added "and the guy is on parole after a previous armed robbery" the responses became even more vehement.
 
But when I'd point out that this was exactly the situation in Iraq - you could almost see the blinders coming down. Instantly the dogma make out, "Saddam doesn't have any WMD, never did", etc..

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33535818)

Of course they say that - you constructed a deliberately misleading analogy that poorly represents what actually happened in Iraq. You don't bolster your position very well by using intellectual dishonesty.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33537364)

He can be seen inside pointing what looks like a gun of some sort out his windows at the neighbors

But that's the thing, after the invasion of Kuwait, the US went in front of the UN and said that they had satellite pictures clearly showing that Saddam Hussein was amassing troops and tanks in the desert near the border of Saudi Arabia, so as to prepare to invade Saudi Arabia. It turns out that the satellite pictures didn't show any of those troops. And former Secretary of State Powell did say a few years later in the most unambiguous terms that the the satellite imagery at the time were a complete fabrication and a complete lie.

So if your friends are dubious of your analogy, they certainly should be. This is not the case of large governmental organizations making possible misinterpretations/honest mistakes from time to time in the heat of the moment. And yes, I am sure that those cases of misinterpretation still do happen from time to time (that's simply life). But it's the case of not be able to take supposed "very clear" evidence at face value, because we know that when it comes to entering a war (or entering a conflict if you prefer that watered down term), our government has lied to us in the past, and will certainly lie to us in the future as well. So then, it becomes very difficult for us as mere citizens to distinguish when our government is telling us the truth, simply making an honest mistake, or completely lying to us.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (0)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535122)

Well, Sadam didn't really have a choice did he:

If he said: Come and see, we have no such weapons anymore in our arsenal then he would've gotten invaded right away because the US wanted access to the oil.
If he said: Yes, we have massive amounts of weapons then he would've had to use them or look stupid when he was invaded anyway because the US wanted access to the oil. Besides that, the UN would've probably embargoed the heck out of the country because they have stockpiles of weapons the US doesn't approve of.

The only option is to say maybe we have them maybe we don't and have a whole political cat and mouse game with the UN.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534204)

I make no claim to have any knowledge of whether or not Iraq had any WMDs at the time of the invasion, and frankly its almost sort of irrelevant at this point.

I find this conclusion distressing.
You do realize that history tends to repeat itself unless we learn from it the first time around?
Iraq's lack of WMDs at the time of the invasion will be relevant for as long as the USA has a military.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534436)

I suspect the USA will have a military longer than there will be an Iraq. Iraq itself, as a political entity, is a creation of British Imperialism, which is why we had to spend so much time suppressing a 3-way civil war. That's the same reason there is constant civil war in various African countries where groups who don't particularly care for each other are forced to jockey for position to negotiate on behalf of the entire population of some lines on a map that were drawn by Europeans who then up and left them to their own devices, but who still want to deal with the "recognized government" of a former colonial area.

I'm just saying, that whether Iraq still had any left overs in 2003, or whether they were making new stock, or both, or neither doesn't really change the fact that we went in, and have been there for 7 years. It doesn't matter if the North Vietnamese actually attacked the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. playing Monday morning quarterback on the Vietnam war is an exercise in futility, much the same way debating the merits of the cause de guere from 2003 doesn't really change the fact we have to deal with the mess NOW.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33535130)

Unless you fall into group 6 (which I do). The real reason to invade Iraq was diplomatically unspeakable. If we could have pulled it off and setup a stable (preferably pro-US) Arab secular democracy in the Middle East it would be awesome for us and probably for the world as a whole.

Of course it was almost impossible to do and we really pooched it.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33533128)

Missed one

9) People who believe the months of foot dragging by the UN preceding the war while the US was trying to get them on board allowed Iraq to move their WMD's to Syria.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33533148)

1) People who still claim there were WMDs.

There were [washingtonpost.com] WMD's [nature.com]. There were simply no nuclear weapons. The classification "WMD" also includes chemical and biological weapons, both of which were found in Iraq.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33541510)

Nice play on words. You did not mention "at the time of invasion"... sure enough, at one point in time, WMDs existed, and some (mustard gas) was even used. But that was 10 years prior.

And that stuff was NOT found during or after the second war, despite massive efforts to find any; and this effort more than anything else basically proves beyond reasonable doubt that Iraq did not have WMDs to use during the conflict

As to remaining claims that Saddam wanted to give impression they existed; for a while, yes, but for last month or so before invasion no; he was clearly afraid of invasion. He did co-operate with UN, and that was the main reason why France and Russia were not giving go-ahead for US invasion under UN mandate.
I still remember how even the least conservative talking heads were so certain that Saddam just had this stockpile -- hell, even SNL had jokes about UN weapons inspectors being unable to find their own ass, without a search party and helicopter. That was just sad, how blind people can be during height of nationalism.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (4, Interesting)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533186)

I'd like to see a compendium of the PR fallout. For example, remember all the anti-France hatred, because they dared to question our information? Remember "Freedom Fries" and "Freedom Toast"? I actually saw "Freedom Ticklers" in a gas station vending machine a couple of years ago. I'd like to see a record of how much anti-world sentiment was generated against countries that questioned us, and how much of that sentiment still exists.

I wonder how many people there are who now believe that Iraq had no WMD, but still have a distrust of France because they voted against us.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33535836)

For example, remember all the anti-France hatred, because they dared to question our information?

They didn't question the intelligence; they had no conflicting intelligence on which to base such a position. They questioned our intent to invade.

I wonder how many people there are who now believe that Iraq had no WMD, but still have a distrust of France because they voted against us.

I distrust France because their leaders are incompetent, their people have few principles, and the country relies on the stability provided by the UK, Germany, and USA to ensure its own integrity.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#33539082)

They didn't question the intelligence; they had no conflicting intelligence on which to base such a position. They questioned our intent to invade.

Stop spreading lies. All the major powers, France, Russia, China, believed that Iraq didn't have WMDs. That's three independent intelligence services that said no, when only one intelligence service (America's, which mixes data freely with the UK's) said yes. Any sane person faced with odds of 3 to 1 would suspect political shenanigans, and guess what? That's exactly what occurred.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

wfstanle (1188751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534884)

What many people don't know is why he tried to convince the world he still had some WMDs.

He was not worried about the US and the rest of the world but he was afraid of Iran. He figured that the uncertainty might keep them from invading Iraq. Unfortunately, he overplayed his hand. The US called his bluff and invaded. Of course, Bush and his friends were just looking for a plausible excuse and he provided it.

Re:A shame it was such a contentious issue. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534908)

Did you know that there were 550 metric tons of yellowcake taken from Iraq and sent to Canada [msn.com]? Of course not.

In fact, the reference I found on Wikipedia to that yellowcake, under the entry for Iraq War, maintains that the claims were false, if not an outright lie.

I don't know if yellowcake qualifies as a WMD, but I'd argue it shows that the intent was there to build these weapons. Whether that stuff justified the way is another argument all together.

Facts sure can be a pesky, can't they?

So (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532722)

Saddam wasn't a dickhead?

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33532992)

No. You're thinking of Donald Rumsfeld.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33533046)

Saddam wasn't a dickhead?

Wasn't he be-headed? So he might have been...but isn't now...

Bad summary (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33532814)

This wins the award for the day for being the post where the title disagrees most with the article content. Yay!

!encyclopedia (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533136)

That's a big book at 12 volumes, but it's not an encyclopedia. An encyclopedia is "training in a circle [etymonline.com]", the "full circle" of knowledge of the world. "Iraq War Jr" is not a full circle; even "everything about its Wikipedia entry" is merely a small point of knowledge in a full education.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Indeed, it's more like a cylinder, since its circle is stacked atop the previous circle of revisions. It's an encylindropedia.

Re:!encyclopedia (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534614)

It's more like the roughly spherical splaying of threads of molten matter you get when someone detonates a thermal grenade in the middle of your information burrito.

Deletion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33533188)

If an article is deleted on Wikipedia, the edit history is placed out of reach of common users.

Does anybody else find that disturbing?

I find the technical aspect most interesting. (1)

LinkTiger (1000531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33533444)

What I love about this is not just the "history of a history" idea (though the hobbyist journalist in me likes that), but the fact that, really, anyone can do this with a Wikipedia XML dump and not-too-difficult XML Transforms. I'd love to know the process this guy went through, even if it's not all that complicated (or maybe it is).

12 volumes of wiki info...... (1)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534132)

and they couldn't put the damned things in order for the photo? my OCD is going to be bugging me about that all damned day now......

Quick, call Google books (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33534712)

The books presumably only exist in one copy, so they are not for sale.

Have them scanned and put on line. Before Sony [slashdot.org]does it and applies DRM.

Online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33536132)

Is there an online version?

what I find disturbing about this article... (1)

kwoff (516741) | more than 3 years ago | (#33536310)

....is that the books are out of order. Why does volume IX come after volume XII?

Not quite a hoax but..... (1)

Auldclootie (1131129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33543356)

Have anyone actually tried to get their hands on this? If its not for sale ...and it is not online.... and not available for download paid or otherwise (and believe me I tried) Then I call Shenanigans.... The alleged author website is a mess of cross references going nowhere... Put up or shut up!
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