Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Under Reporting When it's Convinient

There is a large military action in Diyala province at this time, and when you do a google-news search for the operation name you get very limited responses. Now is that because the news in general is ignoring the action or due to Google being a lousy news search engine?

Action like this shows some good signs that the military is working quite hard on eliminating the terrorists and insurgents. But, the MSM seems to think this isn't worth reporting.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, said the troops were pursuing al-Qaida cells that had been disrupted and forced into hiding by previous operations.

"Our main goal with Lightning Hammer is to eliminate the terrorist organizations ... and show them that they truly have no safehaven—especially in Diyala," he said in a statement.

The military did not immediately provide results from the operation because it was in the beginning stages.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Donnelly said the effort would not interrupt operations in Baqouba, where U.S. forces have flushed out al-Qaida and Shiite militiamen who had fomented a virtual civil war there.

"We are not drawing down in Baqouba at all, in fact, we are in the build and hold portion of the operation there," he said.

The military has claimed success in quelling the violence in the city, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, as well as in the capital, but it also acknowledges that Shiite and Sunni extremists fled to outlying areas where attacks have been increasing.

This is about the only good thing in the article. Unfortunately, the political front is slowly drying up and blowing away.
The sinking fortunes of al-Maliki and his Shiite-led administration have become something of a second front for Washington.

Al-Maliki appeared to have cleared the way, with a last-minute push from U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, for a crisis council that seeks to save his crumbling government, but the timing of the meeting was uncertain.

Al-Maliki's government—a shaky coalition of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds—has been gutted by boycotts and defections. A full-scale disintegration could touch off power grabs on all sides and seriously complicate U.S.-led efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Al-Maliki has struggled over the past days to pull together a summit of Iraq's main religious and ethnic groups. The meeting finally appeared likely after Crocker called on Vice President Tariq al- Hashemi, the lone Sunni Arab invited to the talks. Al-Hashemi's attendance had been in question.

A senior American official, who spoke in Baghdad, said Monday that the stage was set for major changes in the "structure, nature and direction of the Iraqi state." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the planned gathering.

But ending the political impasse would likely require concessions from al-Maliki's embattled government toward Sunnis, who account for up to 20 percent of Iraq's population but complain they have been sidelined in trying to rebuild Iraq after Saddam Hussein.

Without all the portions of the solution pushed toward conclusion I just don't see success coming. I understand that this is difficult, but all sides have to concede something in order to reach some stability in the short term. And those that want the US out of Iraq the most seem to forget that the sooner they can stabilize the sooner the US will be leaving.

Then of course, you get the anonymous sources news section:
A police officer in Sadr City, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information, said the four civilians were killed and five others were wounded as American and Iraqi troops backed by helicopters, conducted house-to-house searches in the sprawling area in eastern Baghdad.

Associated Press photos showed the body of 3-year-old Zahraa Hussein lying in a wooden coffin, her white nightdress stained with blood. Police said she and her father had been struck by shrapnel while they slept on the roof of their house seeking comfort from the heat.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said he had no reports of civilians killed in the operation.

"I can't confirm that our operation did that," he said, referring to Hussein's death. "We work very hard to avoid any injury to civilians."

Since it's sourced by the AssPress, I'm going to guess that this is highly unreliable. Not that the AssPress has ever reported unvetted sources before. Nope, never seen that.

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