Monday, October 17, 2005

CENTCOM Vs. the Associated Press

Updated: How propaganda gets from the ground in Iraq to the nightly news in America

In the previous story I referred to this CENTCOM news release. Let's see how Thomas Wagner of the Associated Press chose to report the same story.

Baghdad, Oct. 17: US helicopters and warplanes bombed two villages near the city of Ramadi, a hotbed of Sunni-Arab insurgents west of Baghdad, killing around 70 Iraqis, the military said on Monday.

The military said all the dead were militants, though witnesses said at least 39 were civilians.

On Sunday, a group of around two dozen Iraqis gathered around the wreckage of the US vehicle and were hit by the airstrikes by US warplanes, both the military and witnesses said.

The military said in a statement that the crowd was setting another roadside bomb in the location of the blast that killed the Americans. F-15 warplanes hit them with a precision-guided bomb, killing around 20 people, described by the statement as "terrorists."

But several witnesses and one local leader said the people were civilians who had gathered to gawk at the wreckage of the US vehicle or pick pieces off of it — as often occurs after an American vehicle is hit.

The airstrike hit the crowd, killing 25 people, said tribal leader Chiad Saad and several witnesses who refused to give their names.
Gee, sounds like Wagner is really doing his job, sticking it to the man. Let's compare the CENTCOM version to Wagner's tale.
While conducting a combat air patrol, crewmembers from an F -15 observed 20 men arrive in four vehicles at the crater site of a previously-detonated IED which had killed five U.S. and two Iraqi Soldiers on Oct. 15. The terrorists were in the process of emplacing another IED in the same spot when the F- 15 engaged them with a precision-guided bomb, resulting in the death of terrorists on the ground.
Let's see, we can believe the detailed, precise account of a US servicemember, or we can accept Wagner's tale based on unnamed witnesses and a "tribal leader" from an area that Wagner admits is "a hotbed of Sunni-Arab insurgents".

Guess which version the terrorist sympathizers at The Guardian and al-Jazeera chose to run with? You remember al-Jazeera, don't you, the organization that recently had its reporter, Tayssir Alouny convicted by a Spanish court of aiding terrorists? And the Guardian, wasn't that the paper that employed a terrorist sympathizer, then had to fire him after he wrote an editorial justifying the London bombings?

For some reason, Thomas Wagner's reports are highly popular with ultra-leftwing bloggers.

Update: Brian Williams repeats a portion of Wagner's story on the NBC Nightly News, referring to the conflicting report as coming from "Iraqi civilians" - omitting the fact that even Wagner acknowledged, that the area is "a hotbed of Sunni-Arab insurgents". You remember Brian Williams, he's the one who speculated that there's not really much difference between al Qaeda terrorist insurgents and America's Founding Fathers.