Monday, December 04, 2006

The double-edged integrity sword

Right wing bloggers have spent the past week bitching about the AP coverage of the burning deaths of six Sunnis in Iraq. The sources which contradicted the AP were military public affairs people and Iraqi spokespeople, which the army of the unbrained said was proof positive that the AP had lied.

A more recent story, however, proves that the "official" versions of events often differ greatly from reality. Case in point, last Friday's "Iraqi-led operation." The initial official word was that the attack was a success. The Americans who fought alongside the Iraqis said otherwise.
The offensive was initially billed by U.S. officials in Baghdad as an Iraqi-led success and a case study in support of the Pentagon's increasing reliance on using American troops as military advisors as a way to shift security responsibilities to Iraqi soldiers.

But interviews at their joint Rustamiya base with U.S. advisors and Iraqi soldiers involved in Friday's battle revealed a different story. The operation was hastily prepared and badly executed, they said, and plans to let the Iraqis take the lead in the battle were quickly scrapped.

"It started out that way," Baxter said. "But five minutes into it, we had to take over."

Staffed with veterans of the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s and equipped with a complement of refurbished Soviet tanks and American Humvees, the 4,000-soldier 9th division is considered Iraq's best hope for an eventual U.S. troop withdrawal.


At times, the overwhelmed Iraqi soldiers fired wildly, sweeping their machine-gun barrels across friendly and insurgent targets alike, witnesses said.


The number of insurgents in the area was estimated at more than 100. Soldiers said they killed 20 and detained 43 others, including three foreign fighters.

No count was made of the number of civilians killed in the densely populated neighborhood, but U.S. and Iraqi soldiers acknowledged a significant amount of "collateral damage."
Clearly, the official version was a lie (or would the right prefer to question the integrity of soldiers on the ground?), so I await with bated breath the right wing bloggers' demands for truth from military spokespeople.


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