Friday, December 29, 2006

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How stupid is Little Man Marcs (Marc Santora) or how stupid does he think readers are? Today he writes another one of the New York Times' undercounts -- in so many ways. But let's just focus on US fatalities for the start. From Little Man Marcs' "A Suspect in the Killings of 2 Americans Is Captured in Iraq:"

Four Americans were killed in attacks on Wednesday, bringing the total number of Americans killed in December to 100, according to The Associated Press and making this one of the deadliest months for the military in the past three years.

There were five US troops announced dead by the US military yesterday, not four. You can check yesterday's snapshot or Nancy Trejos' "5 U.S. Troops Added To Death Toll in Iraq:
December's Number Steadily Edging Toward Highest Monthly Tally of '06
" (Washington Post) today. Yes, four of them were killed on Wednesday, the fifth was killed on Thursday -- all deaths were announced by the US military on Thursday and should have been reported by the Times in today's paper. But Santora's proven the last two weeks that he can take five or six deaths and turn them into three in print repeatedly. This isn't an oversight with him, this is a continued pattern.

And as usual with the Times this month (as they attempt to sell the war yet again), they don't open with the reality, they bury it in the midst of an article. Santora's bad article wants to tell you that US forces may have (MAY HAVE) captured one of the people behind the deaths of US soldiers Kristian Menchaca, Thomas L. Tucker, and David J. Babineau in June. One of the parents of the three soldiers is quoted and we'll note her reaction:

Meg Tucker, Private Tucker’s mother, struggled to hold back tears when told the news about the capture. "I'm glad that they caught him if indeed they did, but it doesn’t bring my son back," she said. "We have just gone through the holidays. It has been really tough. We miss him very much. We still get cards and letters from all over the United States, and we appreciate that very much."

Now let's deal with the reality Little Man Marcs can't. The three were not accused of a crime or thought to have taken part in one. There is no indication of that. But they were abducted (Babineau was killed during the attempted abduction, the other two were abducted, tortured and killed) in response to what James P. Barker did to Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and her family. (Four others are accused, Barker has confessed to his part in the war crimes.) Justin Watt came forward in June with the rumors and remarks he was hearing about what five US soldiers had done (gang raped and killed Abeer, killed her parents, killed her five-year-old sister and attempted to set Abeer's corpse on fire to destroy the evidence).

The three slaughtered in June were innocents who got targeted because Barker (who is no longer "alleged" -- having confessed in court) did to Abeer and her family and for what the four other suspects are alleged to have done.

As the Telegraph of London noted September 7th of this year (Akeel Hussein and Colin Freeman's "Two dead soldiers, eight more to go, vow avengers of Iraqi girl's rape"):

The American soldiers accused of raping an Iraqi girl and then murdering her and her family may have provoked an insurgent revenge plot in which two of their comrades were abducted and beheaded last month, it has been claimed.
Pte Kristian Menchaca, 23, and Pte Thomas Tucker, 25, were snatched from a checkpoint near the town of Yusufiyah on June 16 in what was thought at the time to be random terrorist retaliation for the killing of the al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in an American air strike two days earlier.

Now, however, residents of the neighbouring town of Mahmoudiyah have told The Sunday Telegraph that their kidnap was carried out to avenge the attack on a local girl Abeer Qassim Hamza, 15, and her family. They claim that insurgents have vowed to kidnap and kill another eight American troops to exact a 10-to-one revenge for the rape and murder of the girl.

The New York Times was never interested in Abeer, they couldn't even name her when the Article 32 hearing took place into her rape and murder -- they (Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall) could present the defense's 'novel' argument (one that was "not a defense known to the law" according to one military law expert) before even the defense could present it in court, but they couldn't tell you about Abeer. So Little Man Marcs continues the paper's long tradition of rendering Abeer invisible today. He wants to tell you about the June killings but not tell you why they happened. It's a funny sort of reporting.

We'll note this section from Trejos:

On Thursday, one soldier died and another was wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near their patrol north of Baghdad, the military said. A day before, the soldiers had been involved in the capture of four suspected insurgents believed to have planted a rocket on a main road, according to the military.
On Wednesday, a roadside bomb detonated near a patrol southwest of the capital. Two soldiers were killed and one was wounded, the military said. The unit had detained five suspected insurgents the week before after watching them place a bomb in a road.

Polly notes this from the BBC:

A British soldier has been killed by a roadside bomb in Basra, southern Iraq, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The soldier, from the 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was killed while taking part in a routine patrol in Basra City.
The Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle which he was travelling in was targeted by a roadside bomb.

That brings the total number of British troops killed in the Iraq war to 127. The total number of US troops killed in the illegal war is 2992 currently.

And Pru notes, "The New York Times story has imploded on them." She's referring to the fluff Sabrina Tavernise was pushing hard and Pru steers us to the BBC as well for this:

US forces in Iraq have released two Iranian diplomats detained in a raid in Baghdad last week, the Iranian state-run news agency says.
The diplomats were handed over to the Iranian embassy in the city on Friday, the IRNA agency said.
The Iranians were among a number of people held during the raid on suspected insurgents.
US officials, who announced earlier this week they were holding the men, have made no comment on their release.
'Iraqi government pressure'
The Iranian diplomats were in Iraq at the invitation of Iraq's president as part of an agreement to improve security between the two countries, according to Iranian officials.
"The American forces admitted, despite their initial denial, they had detained Iranian diplomats and pressure from the Iraqi government for their release fortunately bore results," said Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi.

For chuckles, you can read Tavernise and James Glanz' December 25th story and for loud belly laughs you can read Tavernise's December 27th report that should be entitled, "YES, IT'S TRUE! I SWEAR ON MY REPUTATION IT IS!" written as the cover story was falling apart and Tavernise was bound and determined to hang on to her scoop -- reality be damned. Surveying 2002 and 2003, Tavernise should be well aware that a woman caught spinning gets bashed and a man generally gets a pass (the real lessons of Judith Miller) so she might want to be a bit more careful before rushing US military fed 'scoops' into print next time.

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