Eight years ago, Web Services wasn't an obviously absurd idea. The Web was for crashing Java applets and badges that claimed to work best in some crappy browser. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see it was a bad idea to try and abstract away application protocols using RPC calls tied to verbose, rigid, statically-typed languages mapped with a Rube Goldberg schema language that has a more flexible type system than said languages.
If you use Apache Axis against a web server that uses Relative References for redirects, you're in trouble. Web browsers happen to deal with it, but Axis throws a MalformedURLException. I was able diagnose the problem pretty quickly when I encountered it, but I think that counts for pretty intimate interaction with HTTP. Oh, also the API I was talking to used strings to transport SQL-esque statements. Thank goodness for that type-mapping.
Heh. I love the way so many static typing advocates dodge around those rules, all the while touting their value :)