Friday, May 18, 2007

7 Days Later, NYT Front Pages the 3 Missing US Soldiers

Colonel Daugherty's report found that a "quick reaction force" in the area took 25 minutes to arrive at the scene of the ambush, where it found Specialist Babineau dead and the two other soldiers missing.
The report criticized numerous aspects of the way the outpost was situated, supported and supervised. "This platoon needs to take a hard look at its standards and discipline," the report said.

The above is from Paul von Zielbauer's "Army Punished 2 Officers in ’06 After Failures in Iraq Ambush" in this morning's New York Times. Now, note, PvZ is not writing about the current missing soliders, he's writing about last June. Note the criticism of the "quick reaction force" for taking "25 minutes to arrive" and remember that Saturday's attack took longer to respond to than that. The original story was one hour and then, on Wednesday, they started putting out, no, no, it was only 30 minutes.

Martha notes a remark of "Col. Michael Kershaw, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team's commander" quoted in Sudarsan Raghavan's "For Searchers in Iraq, a Peerless Mission" (Washington Post):

He added that the soldiers who are pushing the hardest are the ones who arrived at the scene first. "They feel like they didn't get there in time," Kershaw said.

Not their fault. It's the fault of those in command. No ones accusing those attempting to respond of dilly-dallying. The issue is that the command created a sitting duck situation. And there's something more shameful than CYOA about Kershaw's statement. As long as Kershaw's confessing to others feelings of blame, why doesn't he address his own? This is from Tina Susman's "Hunt for 3 U.S. soldiers in Iraq enters 7th day" (Los Angeles Times):

Col. Michael Kershaw, the commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division and the man leading the current search, said the victims of last year's ambush had been paraded up Route Malibu before being killed. An insurgent group loyal to the Al Qaeda terrorist network claimed responsibility for the capture and slayings.
Route Malibu also was the site of Saturday's ambush. The military says attackers hurling explosives and firing guns assaulted eight soldiers in two Humvees as they manned a position beside the road, watching for insurgents placing roadside bombs. Four U.S. troops and one Iraqi soldier working as an interpreter died in the attack; the remaining three Americans disappeared.

And low and behold on the 7th day, the New York Times declares "Let it be news" and finally front pages the story. Damien Cave's "Hunt for 3 G.I.’s in Iraq Slowed by False Trails" breaks no new ground other than speaking and seeking lower in the chain than the paper normally does, but finally the 3 missing are on the front page. Now maybe Bono wasn't suffering from ennui yesterday or had no complaints about his neighbors? Whatever the reason, it certainly took the paper long enough.

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