And, it looks like my notion that wishful thinking was involved may not be that far off ("Abu Ayyub al-Masri: Captured (Again), Maybe, This Time in Mosul" (May 9, 2008).
Iraqi police apparently picked up a man with a similar name, and then an Iraqi commander became "convinced that he had arrested al-Masri".
" 'Neither coalition forces nor Iraqi security forces detained or killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri. This guy had a similar name,' said Maj. Peggy Kageleiry, a U.S. military spokeswoman in northern Iraq. She said no additional details were being immediately provided.
"Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said the confusion arose because the commander of Iraqi forces in northern Ninevah province was convinced that he had arrested al-Masri — also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir." (" (International Herald Tribune (May 9, 2008))
This sort of thing happens. Remember, in the months immediately after 9/11, how bin Laden conscious people were? I remember a minor news item from that period, about someone in Europe who had stopped a shipment because the word "LADEN" was on it. My German is rusty, but I think that means "load." Not a particularly odd word to find on a load of goods from Germany: but mistakes happen.
And, I think that's something to remember here. Mistakes happen. People tend to see, hear, and read what they want to see, hear, and read. Even if it isn't so.
I'm not happy to learn that an Iraqi commander seems to have trouble sorting out facts presented to him. But, it does happen. And, maybe with Iraq in the global spotlight, Iraqi leadership will decide that it's in their interests to develop procedures for processing information - and prisoners - and stop acting like the clueless third-world leaders that were popular stereotypes decades ago, before America became sensitive to the feelings those who run alternatively-advantaged countries.
finally, a lesson for everyone:
- Check Facts
- Then make statement