Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Headline/body discrepancy.

Headline: "Insurgents Captured in New Assault on Iraqi Police Station"

Sure makes you think they took prisoners in the heat of battle, doesn't it? The first paragraph also gives that impression.
Insurgents launched a large-scale predawn assault on a police station near Baghdad today, their second in two days, but Iraqi forces fought off the attackers and captured 50 of them, Interior Ministry officials said.
Wow, they caught 50 people in the middle of a pre-dawn raid! What a coup! Well, no. A little later in the article we read
After the assault was repulsed, a sweep of the area led to the arrest of 50 suspected insurgents, the Interior Ministry officials said.
Actually, the battle went like any ordinary battle, and afterwards they rounded up the usual suspects.

This was irresponsible journalism. I mean, even if you assume that the people arrested are really insugents and were arrested on good evidence, there is simply no way to say that they were taken prisoner in battle. They were rounded up by law enforcement.

Meanwhile, this weirdness is burried on the second page of the story.
American military officials announced Tuesday that they were looking into an allegation that American soldiers intentionally killed 11 Iraqi civilians last week.

The inquiry, the second announced in a week, stems from an episode last Wednesday in Ishaqi, a Sunni Arab town north of Baghdad.

American officials initially said that American troops had been fired on from a farmhouse during a raid to capture an insurgent, and that they had returned fire, from the ground and the air, killing four people.

Iraqi police officials immediately rejected that account, saying 11 people had been killed after American soldiers lined up an entire family — from a 75-year-old grandmother to a 6-month-old baby — and shot them.

A local police official, Farouq Hussein, told Reuters that all the victims had been shot in the head.

"It's a clear and perfect crime without any doubt," he said. And then there's this incident
Last week, American officials announced that they were investigating an occurrence in November in which residents in a western Iraq town accused American marines of gunning down 15 civilians after a marine was killed by a roadside bomb. Military officials originally reported that the civilians had been killed by the bomb blast, but later revised their account to say that the civilians were killed by gunfire.
And remember: The Vietnam War lasted 10 years, counting from the arrival of US combat troops to the fall of Saigon, continuing under both Democratic and Republican administrations. We are only in year four of our Vietnam rerun. If we stick to the script, we have six more years of fun ahead.

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