Fair & balanced Iraq
Bad news from Iraq:
Backed by tanks firing cannons and jets dropping bombs, U.S. troops in Iraq on Monday engaged insurgents in a fierce battle that started with a bombing that killed a soldier. Other units, meanwhile, staged raids, including one that marked the largest joint operation with U.S.-trained Iraqi police.
SPORADIC, HEAVY gunfire rattled farming communities north of Khaldiyah, where resistance to the American presence is strong.
A military spokesman said the fight started about 9:10 a.m. when a homemade bomb exploded along the road as a U.S. convoy passed, killing one soldier and wounding another.
By late afternoon, the fighting was still raging about three miles north of Khaldiyah. It appeared to be the biggest engagement in the area in months.
M1A2 tanks fired 120-mm cannons as helicopters strafed farm houses with 50-mm machine gun fire. Two A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft bombed guerrilla positions while F-15 jets streaked across the sky.
Six U.S. armored personnel carriers â€” two of them ambulances â€” had earlier arrived as reinforcements. As the fight continued, eight Humvees carrying U.S. troops also could be seen heading toward the battle.
A U.S. armored personnel carrier left the area carrying six blindfolded Iraqi prisoners. In the distance, civilians, including women and children, could be seen fleeing on foot. An American recovery vehicle towed away two Humvees, one of which had a bullet hole in the windshield.
An Iraqi man, fleeing on foot with his wife, three other women, a nephew and five children, said at least 10 houses had been destroyed. He refused to give his name.
â€œIs this the freedom that we were promised?â€ he asked. â€œI had to get my family out. … The helicopters were firing almost nonstop. My 7-year-old is too young to hate but how can he not hate them (the Americans) after this?â€
You’re a 7-year-old who has just been driven from your home due to an all out assault by tanks and 50-mm machine gun-wielding helicopters. Where are you going next? “I’m going to the soccer field!”:
Some members of Congress are sounding the same theme. Georgia Democrat Jim Marshall says negative media coverage is getting our troops in Iraq killed and is encouraging Baathist holdouts to think they can drive the U.S. from Iraq. Marshall, a Vietnam vet, said there is “a disconnect between the reporting and the reality,” partly because the 27 reporters left in Iraq are “all huddled in a hotel.”
Marshall and a bipartisan group of six other representatives just returned from Iraq. The lawmakers charged that reporters have developed an overall negative tone and a “police blotter” mind-set, stressing attacks and little else. Ranking member Ike Skelton, D.-Mo., said he was impressed with the flexibility and innovation of the American military, including 3,100 projects in northern Iraq, from soccer fields to schools to refineries, “all good stuff, and that isn’t being reported.”
Of course, Glenn Reynolds will call all of this “lazy Vietnam-templating”, because, you know, this is nothing like Vietnam. Except for the specious reasoning for fighting there, the daily deaths, blaming the American deaths on those who oppose the war, lack of an exit strategy, the failure to understand a foreign culture, the press bashing by the administration and its syncophants, the populace that hates us……
Nope. Nothing like Vietnam.