Meat wagon story full of holes


New reader Harvey Britt sends in this debunking of a bombed-ambulance story from last month's Israel-Lebanon unpleasantness. As blog cross-examinations go, this one—by "zombie," the mysterious San Franciscan who assembled the Face-of-Muhammad image archive—is less conclusive than cloudgate but considerably more persuasive than dusty-babygate.

Zombie claims this story "contributed to the outrage over the war, eventually causing Israel to stand down," which seems like a stretch. The story got some circulation, but it certainly didn't lead the news in the United States. And some of the claims about the photographic evidence are open to other interpretations, closer examination, and endless enlargements, after which we're all out there playing tennis in the park with a bunch of mimes. (Though it seems clear under any circumstances that the vehicle was not hit by an explosive rocket.) But the stuff about how the story got milked, with an endlessly expanding number of people having lost increasing numbers of limbs and the ambulance enduring larger and large explosions as the story circulated, is pretty amusing. I guess the bottom line is that I've spent most of my life driving automobiles that were in worse shape than this one:

NEXT: JAMA Reports on a Public Health Controversy: Should the Surgeon General Lie, or Should He Tell the Truth?

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  1. I had misgivings about the appropriateness of Israel’s response, without having seen the ambulance photos.
    Probably, most people who sided with the Lebanese felt that this vindicated their position, and those who sided with Israel felt that the bombing of an ambulance was an unfortunate but unintentional consequence of Israel’s appropriate response to a threat.
    The debunking is thorough, but what does it really matter?

  2. I think it’s entirely possible that the ambulance was hit. Given the damage to a press van that Isreal admitted to hitting.

    NOTE: I say “possible” not “probable” or “certain”. Also notice I say “hit” and not “targeted”.

  3. Though it seems clear under any circumstances that the vehicle was not hit by an explosive rocket.)

    a rocket meant to pierce some layer of armour before detonating, or had a detonator that required it to strike something extremely hard to detonate would pass thru the roof and the floor, and go off (maybe) underneath.
    Its quite possible that hole was made by a rocket. Dont know if it was or not. Coulda been an explosive 30mm rd meant for thin skinned targets. Not much diff to the people in it. Cant blame them if they cant ID it from the pointy end.
    Thats a rather blanket statement, above, tho, Mr. Cavanaugh…..

  4. has lots of war fauxtography on display. Suspiciously clean Disney stuffed animals on top of dirty wreckage, green helmet man, white shirt man, the same people running in panic and/or grief stricken in multiple locations. LGF is a biased, hard right, pro-Isreali, pro-American version of democratikunderground, but at least they’re honest about it. Not that bias matters anyway, does it?

  5. I tend to think it matters that news professionals are somewhat less qualified to detect fraud than “some guy in his pajamas”.

    There is a whole heap of fauxtography examples at LGF is at least as unbiased as any other mainstream news group, so there is no need to think for yourself while visiting.

  6. Is this the same “zombie” who called Jill Carroll “Traitorous … member of the mujaheddin … terrorist-supporter” based on the videotape she made in captivity?

    “She was not held against her will. She cooperated with — perhaps even initiated — a fraudulent hoax kidnapping designed to free Iraqi prisoners and to be an anti-American propaganda coup.”

  7. but joe said israel was intentially attacking civiliians…and that is all the evidence i need.

  8. Highnumber:

    Don’t get out much, do you?

    This war wasn’t between the Lebanese and Israel. It was between Hezbollah, an illegal militia not authorized to act in the name of the state of Lebanon, and Israel.

    Siding with the Lebanese does not preclude siding with the Israelis. Their common enemy is Hezbollah.

    Not that I expect such nuances to make any difference to you, because you already know which “side” you’re on.

  9. “an illegal militia”
    as declared by……who? Israel? The Central Gvt of Lebanon?
    Yup, “illegal militias”.
    Nice to see someone take the Crowns position.

  10. If I’m dense somebody will point it out, but reading the zombie post leads me to the point of wondering if an ambulance was ever shot at at all.

    Until now, through the MSM releases, we have only seen the photo of the top of the ambulance with the hole directly in the middle of the red cross. From whence they came is not completely clear, but somehow zombie managed to get enough other pictures to study them closely and based on that study put together a completely different story than the one originally published.

    Along with a litany of originally un-asked questions about the ambulance itself, the “wounded” victim is photographed with and without bandages, and he looks just as healthy both ways. There is rust on and around all the holes, (rust around fresh bullet holes????), in the ambulance except for the unpainted circle on top where someone recently ripped off the ventilator, and all the holes are going in, with no evidence of anything, (schrapnel), coming out.

    The windows are intact, the tires are not flat, there are no signs of damage from fire, heat, smoke, or a crash. (The ambulance was moving when it was hit, remember?). There is a questionably “possible” hand on a stretcher. ?Questionably? because no one was reported to have lost a hand, while wounded people were supposed to have been everywhere, and someone “was” reported to have lost a leg. But there is no blood. All sorts of wounded, , , a severed leg , , , but no blood, , , aw come onnnnn, now.

    To ice the cake, anyone who has ever seen the results of an air-to-ground missle travelling at mach three hitting an automobile, whether it exploded or not, would have to just plain scratch his head at this one.

    Nope, I’m more convinced than before that somebody just cooked up another “news event” about even MORE mistreated Israeli “victims”.

    And it is still being bought into.

    Of course I’m biased though, and can’t claim clairvoyance, having seen the pictures and read the entire zombie article.

  11. Zombie is delusional about his impact: “Either way, (the media’s) credibility has now been lost.”

    The media indulging in a war story? Misleading people in order to inspire confidence in one side? Like that hasn’t happened as long as there have been reporters.

  12. hepzeeba,

    Were the Lebanese in favor of the Israeli attacks? I must have missed that nuance.

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