Thirteen U.S. soldiers have been killed in Baghdad since Monday, the American military reported, registering the highest three-day death toll for U.S. forces in the capital since the start of the war.
The latest losses -- four soldiers who were killed at 9 a.m. Wednesday by small-arms fire -- are part of a recent spike in violent attacks against U.S. forces that have claimed the lives of at least 24 soldiers and Marines in Iraq since Saturday, the military said.
[. . .]
Seventy-four soldiers and Marines were killed in Iraq in September, representing the highest monthly toll since April, when 76 died, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.
The above, noted by Martha, is from Amit R. Paley's "Attacks in Baghdad Kill 13 U.S. Soldiers in 3 Days" (Washington Post). Paley's article also tells you that at least 59 Iraqis died yesterday and that Moqtada al-Sadr's "top aide" states that they have learned a major US operation is in the works for Sadr City (a section of Baghdad controlled by al-Sadr) that will create "mass graves". And then you flip to Sabrina Tavernise's "Iraq Suspends Police Brigade In Baghdad" and wonder what country she's reporting from. Fourteen Iraqis died yesterday, she writes. With the qualifier that she's writing of Baghdad. Does Tavernise keep banker's hours? Does she file at 5:00 pm Baghdad time and head out? Yesterday, by 8:00 pm in Baghdad, AP was already listing the number of Iraqis who'd died in Baghdad at sixteen. There's no mention of any other deaths in Iraq (and there were) so we'll assume it was rush-rush job. Maybe she had to rush home to catch Green Zone Idol? Maybe she was competing?
You read her article and you see the quotes from Willie Caldwell IV, from the press conference he gave yesterday, not in quotes but presented as fact and you have to wonder who even notices? Not who cares because at this late date it's obvious the paper doesn't care. (AEB their laughable story on Iran and a letter from 1988. They'll be little need for Niger forgeries in order to get Bully Boy his latest war with much more 'reporting' like that. Instead, we'll again note
Ellen Knickmeyer's"British Find No Evidence Of Arms Traffic From Iran.") So Willie speaks and suddenly his statements are facts, not opinions. And they're so factual that you don't even need to treat them like quotes. Equally amazing is that Tavernise includes a quote from a former State Dept. flack Matthew Shepard. Iraq's always been treated as a fish out of water story by the Times. They've always needed and American to act as travel guide.
There was a quote yesterday that almost made the snapshot . . . Long story short, eye witness to the kidnappings from the computer stores (Monday) stated he had seen official security (police) vehicles used in the kidnapping as well as people wearing the uniforms of the police conducting the kidnappings. I figured the Times (of New York) would grab that quote because he was being "shopped" but maybe Tavernise is leery of those being shopped lately. We're dropping that point because a friend just called noting that she's claiming "the new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was captured in Baghdad on Sept. 28". She's running with Willie again and presenting his asides are facts. The US military was not claiming yesterday (other than in whispered asides) that "the new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq" (Abu Ayyub Al-Masri) has been captured. Today's hot talking point is he may have been killed in a (US) raid in Haditha. You'll see that throughout the day. Where Tavernise got that "the leader" was captured on the 28th of last month, who knows? But she is fast becoming the joke of the morning. No, I haven't forgotten Gordo, he'll be the next entry and we're starting late today because friends -- press and military -- couldn't stop calling to laugh at his "report" earlier this morning; however, as the calls accumulate it appears Tavernise will emerge as joke of the day.
And hold on, someone's finally providing a link. Click here for AP story on "new leader" may have died in Haditha raid. There were three points I wanted to make re: Tavernise's story and "fish out of water" was one. I hadn't even planned to note the silliness of "leader" because, unlike the press, I take those claims with a grain of salt. But I've got too many phone calls coming in saying, "That is the biggest mistake!" So we'll note it and move on to the next entry. I actually thought, after all the calls about Gordo, Tavernise's report would be the 'ease in' entry. But the point is, as many sum it up in their phone calls, don't run with a US claim and extrapolate. Publicly, even Willie IV didn't make that claim yesterday. Tavernise does and it's exploding in her face with today's talking point. It's like falling for that nonsense about troops being furnished with card decks. It's a way to get the press excited over 'stats' and 'positions' as opposed to reality. And it's a strong argument for insisting those who write about resistance, rebellion or revolutions take a few courses in the topic (and, no, criminal justice doesn't count).
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