Is the media “blacking out” the battle in Baquba?

posted at 2:30 pm on June 21, 2007 by Allahpundit

Nah, just downplaying it the better to focus on death tolls. The Times, the Post, the LA Times, and now Time magazine all have reports on the battle, two of them filed by people on the scene. But they know what their readers want:




See-Dub complains that the AP sees fit to mention the 14 dead without mentioning the gains being made in the fighting that killed them. In fairness, that’s because they weren’t killed in Baquba: two were killed in Anbar and the rest by bombs and fighting in and around Baghdad. But the larger point, about prioritizing the body count over the battle reporting itself, is well taken, especially when you read Roggio and see just how massive and potentially significant this operation is. The Diyala offensive is a small part of it; the broader offensive encompasses Baghdad itself and various surrounding provinces, including eastern Anbar. As for Baquba, the only MSM reporters known to be there are Michael Gordon of the NYT and Joe Klein of Time. Superstar freelancer Michael Yon is there too, of course, and reports early success:

[O]ur guys are seriously outsmarting them. Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that’s the plan.

A positive indicator on the 19th and the 20th is that most local people apparently are happy that al Qaeda is being trapped and killed. Civilians are pointing out IEDs and enemy fighters, so that’s not working so well for al Qaeda. Clearly, I cannot do a census, but that says something about the locals.

Gordon corroborates that and the LAT strongly implies it’s true in noting that troops have uncovered more than 1,000 roadside bombs around the city. What kind of residents would know where roadside bombs are buried? A special kind, writes Klein:

A lieutenant colonel named Bruce Antonia told Odierno about preparing to attack the Buhritz neighborhood a few nights earlier when he was approached by local Sunni inusurgents—members, they said, of the 1920 Revolutionary Brigades—who were streaming out of the neighborhood. “They said they’d been fighting al-Qaeda but had run out of ammunition and asked us to supply them. We told them, ‘Show us where AQ is and we’ll fight them.'” The insurgents did and the neighborhood was cleared.

A second lieutenant colonel named Avanulis Smiley picked up the story from there, “Sir, they’ve also showed us seven buried IED sites. They gave us specific information—description of the houses, gate color, tree trunks.”

After the briefing I asked Colonel Antonia if he’d asked the Sunnis why they had turned against al-Qaeda. “They said it was religious stuff,” he said. “AQI demanded that the women wear abayas, no smoking and they preached an extreme version of Islam in the mosque. They’d also spent the winter without food and fuel because of the violence al-Qaeda was causing. One guy said to me, ‘We fought against you because you invaded our country and you’re infidels. But you treat us with more dignity than al-Qaeda,’ and he said they’d continue to work with us. I’ve been involved in many operations here and this is a first—usually everybody’s shooting at us. This is the first time we’ve had any of them on our side.” (In web postings, the 1920 Revolutionary Brigade has denied it is cooperating with the Americans.)

Per Roggio, MNF reports 41 jihadis dead thus far; the only American KIA I’ve heard of is from the NYT’s report.

Exit question: How much heat is Klein going to take from the nutroots all-stars for daring to publish something vaguely positive about the battle?

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…but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered.

Yeeaaahh, baby.

Editor on June 21, 2007 at 2:34 PM

Not to state the obvious, but ya, it looks like the MSM elites give them they’re headlines. SHOCKER!

Rode Werk on June 21, 2007 at 2:38 PM

The Daily Telegraph reported that the BBC was calling on people in Iraq to report troop movements:

The BBC was accused last night of risking the safety of British forces in Iraq after trawling for information on troop movements in the war-torn country.

Politicians reacted in disbelief to the revelation that for over two hours yesterday, the BBC News website carried a request for people in Iraq to report on troop movements.

The request was removed from the website after it sparked furious protests that the corporation was endangering the lives of British servicemen and women.

But according to accounts last night, a story on a major operation by US and Iraqi troops against al-Qa’eda somewhere north of Baghdad contained an extraordinary request for information about the movement of troops.

Last night the BBC confirmed the wording of the request was: “Are you in Iraq? Have you seen any troop movements? If you have any information you would like to share with the BBC, you can do so using the form below.”

BBC ‘risked safety of troops’

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2007 at 2:39 PM

al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered

That’s the way to get ’em to reunite with Osama.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on June 21, 2007 at 2:51 PM

Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that’s the plan.

That, to me, sounds like a good plan.

nailinmyeye on June 21, 2007 at 2:57 PM

but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that’s the plan.

Music to my ears :)

AlexB on June 21, 2007 at 2:58 PM

Feeling the Surge…

Yea Baby….

Romeo13 on June 21, 2007 at 2:59 PM

Just more examples of the leftist press doing everything in their power to undermine our war efforts and support our enemies.

rplat on June 21, 2007 at 3:00 PM

The MSM’s desire for a US defeat is like an addict’s desire for heroin.

Halley on June 21, 2007 at 3:02 PM

Positive spin on this? Hey at least they aren’t trying to reveal troop movements a la the BBC!!!

Hoodlumman on June 21, 2007 at 3:04 PM

Nice. God be with our soldiers and I pray for victory. These operations seem to be grounded in a success outcome paradigm. I don’t think anything has been left to chance, including simutaneously engaging Sadr’s army, while setting up the new Iraqi army to intercept the ‘brave’ al qaeda fighters running scared for sanctuary. Burkas will be in great demand!

sonnyspats1 on June 21, 2007 at 3:11 PM

Sounds like Al-Qaeda’s about to be pounded to dust. Excellent.

Hopefully the various insurgents are gonna get that extremism isn’t gonna do them any good, of course if they aren’t, and are just using us to weed out Al-Qaeda for the time being, I’m hoping we’re infiltrating them to flatten them later.

Bad Candy on June 21, 2007 at 3:14 PM

Shots like that of the NYT, above, just serve to illustrate what a national treasure guys like Yon and Roggio really are.

Citizen Duck on June 21, 2007 at 3:22 PM

Not a big deal, but I do think my criticism of the AP is valid. They spent a while talking about a mortar attack in the Green Zone that didn’t kill anyone. It was obviously the AP’s attempt to round up daily violence in Iraq.

It’s moot now, though. The AP updated the story and it now includes info on Diyala.

see-dubya on June 21, 2007 at 3:24 PM

Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that’s the plan.

That, to me, sounds like a good plan.

nailinmyeye on June 21, 2007 at 2:57 PM

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Jaibones on June 21, 2007 at 3:41 PM

Well, we found out today with a good deal of certainty that these publications are little more than screed sheets for the Democrat party, so who cares?

Good Lt on June 21, 2007 at 3:50 PM

Imagine this sort of anti American reporting during WWII.

“Thousands die in botched invasion attempt on so called D-Day.”
“Omaha beach a disaster say ranking generals.”
‘This was is lost.”

Mojave Mark on June 21, 2007 at 3:51 PM

TheBigOldDog on June 21, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Everyone involved in that treason should be sent to Gitmo.

pedestrian on June 21, 2007 at 3:56 PM

Yeah Baby..kill ’em all…nobody goes to Gitmo…

areseaoh on June 21, 2007 at 4:02 PM

Ha! According to Yon, most MSM don’t even have a staff reporter in the mix.

All they actually have to draw a story from is KIAs that aren’t even involved in Arrowhead Ripper!

unamused on June 21, 2007 at 4:07 PM

My point is that this may not be just bias. This may be the MSM using bias to cover up their own incompetence!!

unamused on June 21, 2007 at 4:08 PM

TO: Alissa J. Rubin, Graham Bowley, New York Times, John Ward Anderson, Howard Schneider, Washington Post, Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times
FROM: A father whose son is serving in Iraq
SUBJECT: Liberal rags acting as cheerleaders for our enemies
DATE: Every friggin’ day

Eat Sh*t and Die, you worthless pile of biased wimps.

fogw on June 21, 2007 at 4:10 PM

It’s possible that the BBC isn’t trying to reveal troop movements, any more than Yon or Roggio are when they report which US units are involved in battle. Since they don’t have embeds in Baquba the BBC must rely on it’s own readers.

rokemronnie on June 21, 2007 at 4:44 PM

I love the smell of burning al Qaeda flesh in the morning.

csdeven on June 21, 2007 at 5:40 PM

By the way, the Americans lost WWII because a lot of Americans lost their lives. See we can even lose wars long past.

David on June 21, 2007 at 5:42 PM

Everyone they kill is one less terrorist….

Tim Burton on June 21, 2007 at 6:18 PM