Mosul is just like Chicago!

The Instapundit keeps America informed about events in Iraq:

“CHICAGO SOUNDS LIKE MOSUL:” That’s an email from . . . Michael Yon, who knows his Mosul. Here’s the story on last weekend’s violence {in Chicago}.

Still, they’re different: One has crooked officials, violent gangs with their hooks into government and law enforcement, and a culture of corruption that has resisted the central government’s effects to clean it up, and the other is a city in Iraq.

To test this astounding theory, please review a few news stories from Mosul.  I randomly selected from Juan Cole’s Informed Comment (links go to the actual news report).  This is not a complete record, as I gave up after a half hour.

The Internet can make us smarter — or dumber.  The result of the tool depends on the user.  If we seek only evidence that confirms our opinions, we will be stupid — no matter what 21st century technology we use.  At the end of this post are links to other articles in this series about the two different views of Iraq that Americans see in their news media.

FYI:  Michael Yon has a new book out:  Moment of Truth in Iraq.


Was this a joke?  Probably.  But it fits in the narrative of increasing security in Iraq, which has been overstated often in recent months.  A quick Google search suggests that this comparison was taken seriously by many (examples here and here), which should be no surprise given the intense propaganda campaign during the past year for the “victory narrative.”  Violence in much of Iraq continues at horrific levels, and much of the commentary about Iraq does not well reflect this.  In my opinion, violence at this level — continuing for so many years, with no end in sight — is not a fit subject for humor.  Tears, yes.  Jokes, no.

News stories about violence in Mosul

Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq, Thursday 17 January 2008“, McClatchy

Gunmen exploded a primary school on the right bank in al-Intisar neighbourhood, east Mosul Gunmen exploded a primary school on the right bank in al-Intisar neighbourhood, east Mosul, late this afternoon. No casualties were reported.

  1. An abandoned carbomb explodes on the left bank of Mosul (west Mosul), in al-Shifaa neighbourhood near al-Tahira church causing the death of 1 policeman and the injury of 1 woman and damage to the outer wall of the church.

Round-up of Daily Violence – Wednesday 23 January 2008“, McClatchy

  1. gunmen assassinated Ali Suleiman Mohammad, a lecturer at Mosul university on his way home from a mosque to Wihda neighborhood in downtown Mosul .
  2. a squad of the Iraqi army killed a gunman in Mosul city and confiscated his car.

“Guerrillas were stockpiling munitions in an unoccupied building in the Zanjabili district near the Houston-sized northern city of Mosul. Someone informed the Iraqi security forces of the stockpile, and apparently the guerrillas had good intelligence on such things, so they blew up the arms warehouse to deny it to their foes. It blasted surrounding apartment buildings, killing 17 persons and wounding 132, including women and children. It reverberated through the city as no explosion ever had before. The casualty toll is likely to rise, since there were still people trapped under rubble at the site of the massive explosion.”  AP story no longer online.  From Informed Comment (24 January 2008)

Mosul “Police chief killed by suicide bomber in Iraq“, The Guardian (24 January 2008) – Also describes the bomb blast of the previous story.

Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq- Sunday 10 February 2008“, McClatchy

  1. A source in the Iraqi army said that gunmen from Qaida killed a family (parents and their four children) in Sinjar town west of Mosul city today morning.
  2. Four civilians were injured in a suicide car bomb that targeted a check point of the Iraqi army in al Hadba’a neighborhood downtown Mosul city north of Baghdad today afternoon.

 “Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq-Monday 11 February 2008“, McClatchy

  1. Mortar shells slammed into Al Zinjeli area in Mosul, injuring two residents.
  2. Gunmen attacked an Iraqi army convoy in Al Nahrawan area in Mosul, three gunmen were killed in the attack and one soldier was injured.
  3. A roadside bomb targeted a U.S. military convoy in Al Wahda neighborhood, injuring a woman and a child were near the bomb site.
  4. Gunmen attacked and injured one man near Mosul.

In Mosul a car bomb killed 3“, from an AP story no longer online (17 February 2008)

RPG kills US soldier in Iraq“, AFP (20 February 2008) — “An American soldier died in a rocket-propelled grenade attack while on patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday…”

Four policemen shot dead in N Iraq“, Xinhua(20 February) — “Four policemen were killed and four others injured in a drive-by shooting in the city of Mosul on Wednesday, a local security source said.”

 “Security developments in Iraq, March 4“, Reuters

  1. At least five people were wounded, including three policemen, when a roadside bomb detonated near their patrol in eastern Mosul, said Brigadier- General Khalid Abdul-Sattar, Iraqi security spokesman in Nineveh province.
  2. Gunmen shot dead a policeman near his house in western Mosul, police said.

Explosions in Mosul kill 6, injure 35“, UPI (7 March 2008)

Round-up of Daily Violence in Iraq – Tuesday 11 March 2008“, McClatchy

  1. The assistant of Mosul University Dr. Mowaffaq Yahya survived an assassination attempt when gunmen using machineguns attacked him in al Hadba’a neighborhood downtown Mosul city on Tuesday morning.
  2. Iraqi police said a US patrol killed one insurgent and injured another militant while they were trying to plant an IED in al Ektisadyeen neighborhood in downtown Mosul city on Tuesday afternoon.
  3. Clashes broke out between Iraqi police and insurgents in al Mithaq neighborhood in east Mosul on Tuesday afternoon. Four insurgents were killed, two civilians were injured and four Iraqi policemen were killed.

Security developments in Iraq“, Reuters (5 April 2008)

  1. Three bodies were found with gunshot wounds in different districts of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
  2. Gunmen killed a man in a drive-by shooting just outside his house in eastern Mosul, police said.

 “Gunmen Release 42 Students in Iraq“, AP (6 April 2008) — “Iraqi police say gunmen have released the 42 college students they kidnapped earlier in the day near the northern city of Mosul.”

Security developments in Iraq“, Reuters (9 April 2008) — “Two successive car bombs killed three policemen and a civilian and wounded 20 people including three policemen when they targeted a police patrol in central Mosul…”

Security developments in Iraq, April 10“, Reuters

  1. Three mortar rounds landed on a residential area in southern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, wounding 12 people including an Iraqi soldier, police said.
  2. A bomb exploded in western Mosul, wounding 3 people, police said.

Round-up of Daily Violence – Monday 14 April 2008“, McClatchy

  1. In the afternoon, a suicide truck bomber targeted a Peshmerga squad while they were on their way home to Sinjar in vacation. Also after that, gunmen opened fire on the Peshmergasquad. 14 soldiers were killed and 15 others were injured, an official of Peshmerga said.
  2. In the afternoon, a car bomb targeted an American patrol at Muthna neighborhood (east mosul). Two Iraqi people were killed and two others were wounded having no casualties of the American army reported.
  3. In the afternoon, a car bomb exploded at Al-Mahata neighborhood (south Mosul). Two civil defense men were wounded in that incident.
  4. Around 6 pm, a suicide bomber targeted a funeral ceremony in Tal Afer (west of Mosul). Four people were killed with 22 others injured in that incident.

Security developments in Iraq: April 15“, Reuters

  1. A girl was killed inside her schoolroom by a stray bullet in eastern Mosul, police said.
  2. A roadside bomb wounded four policemen when it struck their patrol in eastern Mosul, Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar said.
  3. Two Iraqi soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb in western Mosul.
  4. Gunmen killed a female lawyer and her sister in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
  5. Gunmen stormed an apartment and killed three women and a man on Monday in Mosul, police said.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling). 

For more information about the different reports we see about the Iraq War

  1. Three blind men examine the Iraq Elephant (6 February 2008)
  2. The oddity of reports about the Iraq War (13 March 2008) — Some theories why after 5 years we still debate basic things about the Iraq War.
  3. War porn (25 March 2008) – Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the war-bloggers’ reporting in Iraq.
  4. More views of the events at Basra (2) — bloggers and war-bloggers (28 March 2008) – Contrast the war bloggers’ reports with those of some experts.
  5. A rebuttal to “War Porn” (it takes 2 sides to have a discussion)(29 March 2008) — Someone writes a defense of the war bloggers, and my reply.
  6. A look at the writings of “war blogger” Michael J. Totten (31 March 2008) – extracts of his posts from 2003 – 2005.
  7. An email discussion with Michael Totten (31 March 2008)
  8. Evidence of the war bloggers’ growing influence (2 April 2008)
  9. Basra, a test case: war blogger’s vs. experts (2 April 2008)
  10. Experts’ views about the recent fighting in Basra (2 April 2008)
  11. Sources of the Instapundit’s knowledge — analysis or cartoons? (3 April 2008)
  12. Some comments by Bill Roggio, Editor of the Long War Journal (3 April 2008)
  13. Two views of Fallujah – which tells us more about the future?  (23 April 2008)
  14. Archive of links to articles about the Iraq War — My articles,
  15. Our Goals and Benchmarks for the Expedition to Iraq

3 thoughts on “Mosul is just like Chicago!”

  1. FM, I am no expert on epistemology, but it strikes me that you hit on an extremely important point in your post: “The Internet can make us smarter — or dumber. The result of the tool depends on the user. If we seek only evidence that confirms our opinions, we will be stupid — no matter what 21st century technology we use.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith offered a diagnosis of the underlying problem: “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

    If we accept Galbraith’s diagnosis of human nature, what can we do about the propensity toward stupidity? Jason
    Fabius Maimxus replies: Just guessing, but my answer is “social learning.” The bears in the Sierras have learned to get food from hikers, and do so despite new anti-bear tactics (such as learning to open sealed canisters). Can we develop methods using the Internet to increase our collective IQ, much as “science” does?

  2. Defending myself long after anyone will likely read either the post or the commments, but just for the record (I’m that first link in the update), I knew it was a joke and I think my post indicates as much. Thanks for the link, though!

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