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You Owe Me A Beer:
This is two weeks old but still pretty interesting: a Washington Post story on the impact of the human brain's tendency to think that "easily recalled things are true." Hat tip: Frank Pasquale.

  UPDATE: I should point out that the title of this post, "You Owe Me A Beer," is not accurate. If you're thinking, "hey, I owe Orin Kerr a beer," then that belief is false. I repeat: While you might be thinking that you owe me a beer, in fact you don't. You do not actually owe me a beer.
RainerK:
Here comes the predictable reply:

Orin, I distinctly recall that you owe me 2 beers, ergo it is true. I definiteley recall that.
At your convenience at a place of your choice.
9.17.2007 10:34pm
Malvolio:
No, it is me you owe a beer.

How many people still believe that abandoned refrigerators are a danger to small children, who might crawl in them and become trapped? It was probably true with old-style positive latches, which haven't been used in the US since the advent of magnetic closures more than 50 years ago.

As an experiment, I went around telling people I planned to paint the interior of my house a flat white color. More than half protested it would look "like a hospital" -- although hospital walls haven't been white in the lifetime of anyone I asked.

I thought it was interesting that the actual article was itself full of myths and misstatements, most notably "Bush administration officials have repeatedly tried to connect Iraq with Sept. 11."
9.17.2007 10:38pm
Litigator:
Orin, I'm pretty sure I do owe you a beer. Based on how much free reading material you've given me, it may be many beers.
9.17.2007 10:38pm
Realist Liberal:

Orin, I'm pretty sure I do owe you a beer. Based on how much free reading material you've given me, it may be many beers.


Darn, Litigator beat me to it. I think I definately owe him several for all of the entertainment (and help in law school although indirect).
9.17.2007 11:06pm
OrinKerr:
Wow, this stuff works really well.
9.17.2007 11:09pm
Drake (mail) (www):
Give me a light -- Manchurian Light!
9.18.2007 12:23am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Pshaw. Politicians have known this -- the part about people believing recalled things, not the part about Orin owing me a beer -- for years.

There's a possibly apocryphal story about LBJ in one of his early runs for Congress, telling his campaign manager to spread a rumor that his opponent, er, had sex with pigs. His manager said, "But Lyndon, you know he doesn't have sex with pigs." And LBJ replied, "Yes, but I want to hear him deny it."
9.18.2007 1:01am
OrinKerr:
David, in case you're wondering free Reunions beers don't count.
9.18.2007 1:14am
Henri Le Compte (mail):
Interesting article, but wow, was that author stuck on Iraq or what? How many times did she insinuate that the Bush Administration planted/propagated a "Iraq=9/11" myth? In fact, it appeared to me that the entire impetus for writing this article was to regurgitate, yet again, the myth that Bush deceived us all into believing that Saddam caused 9/11.

Ironically, I think the author of this piece is guilty of the very same abuse of the truth that she decries! Where and when did Pres. Bush accuse Saddam of having a major role in 9/11? I seem to remember a concerted effort to put the blame on Al Queda, not the Iraq regime.

Weird.
9.18.2007 1:22am
LTEC (mail) (www):
I believe the following claim of this article is a myth:
Bush administration officials have repeatedly tried to connect Iraq with Sept. 11.
I can't say this never happened, but the administration was usually linking Iraq with Al Qaeda, not specifically 9/11.
9.18.2007 1:23am
Steve:
I can't believe anyone actually doubts that the administration has repeatedly tried to connect Iraq with 9/11. I assumed the original commentor above was just trolling for kicks.
9.18.2007 1:34am
OrinKerr:
Henri,

As I understand it, the Bush Administration has (1) repeatedly linked Iraq and Al Qaeda, and has (2) specifically denied saying that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks. See, for example, here:

Bush Defends Assertions of Iraq-Al Qaeda Relationship

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 18, 2004; Page A09

President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week's finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission.

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," Bush said after a Cabinet meeting. As evidence, he cited Iraqi intelligence officers' meeting with bin Laden in Sudan. "There's numerous contacts between the two," Bush said. . . .

"This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda," Bush said. "We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda."
So to be clear, the statement "the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda," is not accurate. If you're thinking, "the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda" then that belief is false. I repeat: While you might be thinking that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda, in fact they were not. Saddam did not help orchestrate the attacks.
9.18.2007 1:35am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Listening to Petraeus and his diplomat sidekick this week, I must have heard them referring to winning the battle over al-Qaeda a hundred times. They never pointed out this was al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia or whatever. I heard W use the same phrasing in his address to the nation. It's the difference between the Hells Angels of Oakland, CA and the Hells Angels of Lancaster, PA.
9.18.2007 2:07am
Just Dropping By (mail):
As I understand it, the Bush Administration has (1) repeatedly linked Iraq and Al Qaeda, and has (2) specifically denied saying that Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Only after the fact of getting the war started. Before then it was open season on conflating the two. Please see the official press release from the White House announcing the launch of the Iraq War:

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-1.html

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
9.18.2007 10:56am
Rob123 (mail):

"including those nations . . . who . . . committed . . . the terrorist attacks that occurred on" 9/11.

Does "including" by itself imply limited to, or could an argument be made that Saddam was part of a terrorist organization that did not commit the attack on 9/11, but still falls under (2) above?
9.18.2007 12:28pm
mobathome:
Application to Teaching: Never knowingly write a false statement on the blackboard.
9.18.2007 12:46pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
This also applies to technical writing, according to my mentor. Never show what not to do, even if it has a big red slash through it. Buy me a beer instead.
9.18.2007 3:25pm
Alaska Jack (mail):
I hear this all the time -- Bush said Saddam was behind 911! and whatnot.

All I can say is that, from the beginning, I, at least, understood that Saddam was not considered to have helped plan or execute the attacks. And I still supported the war.

Anecdotal, I know. But surely there are others?

- Alaska Jack
9.18.2007 3:28pm
fishbane (mail):
I may not owe you a beer, but I'd buy you one next time you're in NYC.
9.18.2007 3:36pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
What fishbane said: the next time you're in Chicago. Or the time after that. Or any time you're in Chicago.
9.19.2007 8:18pm