Monday, June 13, 2005

Two armies, two reporters, too much trouble in Iraq

Greg Mitchell: 'Two armies, two reporters, too much trouble in Iraq'
Posted on Monday, June 13 @ 10:06:03 EDT
This article has been read 37 times.
A remarkable Washington Post article finds Iraqi fighters singing hymns to Saddam Hussein, and these are the ones on our side. It gets worse from there.
By Greg Mitchell, Editor & Publisher
Just back, absurdly well-fed, from E&P's interactive media conference in New Orleans, I was about to write an entertaining little column on bloggers, journalists and their different notions of "accuracy," when I came across a Friday piece in the Washington Post by two brave and widely-honored foreign correspondents, Anthony Shadid and Steve Fainaru. The bloggers vs. journos column will have to wait.
The immensely significant Shadid/Fainaru piece is based on their recent (and separate) three-day journeys with American and the Iraqi forces. The Iraqi unit was selected by the U.S. military, presumably viewed as one of the best. "The journey revealed fundamental, perhaps irreconcilable differences over everything from the reluctance of Muslim soldiers to search mosques and homes to basic questions of lifestyle," and much, more more, the two men write.
Consider its opening, set in Baiji, Iraq. Keep in mind, these are the Iraqis on our side: "An hour before dawn, the sky still clouded by a dust storm, the soldiers of the Iraqi army's Charlie Company began their mission with a ballad to ousted president Saddam Hussein. 'We have lived in humiliation since you left,' one sang in Arabic, out of earshot of his U.S. counterparts. 'We had hoped to spend our life with you.'
"But the Iraqi soldiers had no clue where they were going. They shrugged their shoulders when asked what they would do. The U.S. military had billed the mission as pivotal in the Iraqis' progress as a fighting force but had kept the destination and objectives secret out of fear the Iraqis would leak the information to insurgents."
This comes just after a Washington Post/ABC News Poll, for the first time, shows that most Americans do not believe the toppling of Saddam Hussein made the United States more secure....