Sour Grapes
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US Army critique of War on Iraq

Steven Aftergood reports in this week's Secrecy News that despite the Army's measures to limit online access to their new report on the war by precluding such things, Francois Boo of has managed to make it available for downloading, printing or copying.

The Army recently completed a book-length study of Operation Iraqi Freedom entitled "On Point." It is a revealing and fairly critical account of lessons learned from the war. Last month, the Center for Army Lessons Learned posted the study...

Incredibly, however, the web version of the Army document is coded in such a way that it cannot be downloaded, or copied, or printed out. It must be read online at the Army site, or not at all.

This may be unprecedented for a government web site. The very notion of a document that cannot be downloaded is antithetical to the web and seems like an artifact from an alternate universe....

But in a marvelous feat of textual engineering, the intrepid Francois Boo of managed to overcome the Army's restrictive coding of the document and to make it publicly
... and downloaded or printed.

Among the highlights of the report is the disclosure that the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad was not a spontaneous act of an Iraqi crowd, but was instigated by a U.S.
Marine colonel backed by a psychological operations unit (reported in the LA Times July 3).

[slightly edited]

Further from Steven Aftergood's subsequent issue of Secrecy News:

The Army concern was that the document contained non-governmental materials including graphics and photos which might be copyrighted, said Dan French, a spokesman for the Center for Army Lessons Learned said.

"We have had some unscrupulous individuals who are taking our products and selling them on CD, even on," he noted.

If that were to happen with the "On Point" report, the spokesman said, this might entail a violation of the original copyright. Once the appropriate permissions are obtained, he said, the document would be made available without the current restrictions, perhaps by the end of the month.

OK, that makes sense.

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