Friday, January 26, 2007

The AP vs the US Military - Again

I've written here several times about the fact that you cannot trust press releases from the US military. We all remember the stories about Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch which later turned out to be proven false. Those are only two in a long line of releases that the military has had to issue corrections about. Yet, some people still take the military's word as gospel while continuing to demonize conflicting reports from media on the ground like the AP.

Here's the latest chapter in that book:

BAGHDAD - Contrary to U.S. military statements, four U.S. soldiers did not die repelling a sneak attack at the governor's office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala last week. New information obtained by The Associated Press shows they were abducted and found dead or dying as far as 25 miles away.

The brazen assault 50 miles south of Baghdad was launched Jan. 20 by a group of nine to 12 militants. They traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles - the type used by U.S. government convoys, had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues and spoke English.

In a written statement, the U.S. command reported at the time that five soldiers were killed while "repelling the attack." Two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials now say three of them were found dead and one mortally wounded in locations as far as 25 miles east of the governor's office.

The U.S. officials said they could not be sure if the soldiers were killed as the attackers drove them to the place where they abandoned the Suburbans or afterward. Iraqi officials said the men were killed just before the vehicles were abandoned.

The daring commando team also took an unclassified U.S. computer with them as they fled with the four soldiers and left behind an American M-4 automatic rifle, senior U.S. military officials said.

The new information has emerged after nearly a week of inquiries. The U.S. military in Baghdad repeatedly declined comment on reports that began emerging from Iraqi government and military officials which suggested a major breakdown in security at Karbala site.

The two senior American military officials now confirm the reports, gathered by The Associated Press from five senior Iraqi government, military and religious leaders. The U.S. military also has provided additional details from internal military accounts.


Here's the AP's story about the US military finally admitting the truth on Friday.

The details about how this attack emerged are disturbing enough. The infiltration and methods were shocking. But the US military doesn't do anybody any favours by refusing to tell the world the truth about the events surrounding this situation and by continuing to deny that reporters in the ground are actually capable of getting the real stories out there.

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