Sunday, November 20, 2005

Headline bias

The story headline reads, "Insurgent Ambush Kills 24, One U.S. Marine Among Dead." So, get the picture in your head. "Insurgents" - which really means "terrorists" - jump out from behind cover and gun down 24 people including 1 U.S. Marine, right? Wrong.

::::::::An ambush on a joint U.S./Iraqi patrol northwest of Baghdad left 15 civilians, eight insurgents and a U.S. Marine dead from a roadside bomb and the firefight that followed, a U.S. military statement said Sunday.

The attack began with an improvised explosive device detonating next to the Marine's vehicle in the town of Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, on Saturday, the U.S. command said.

Fifteen Iraqi civilians were also killed by the blast, which was followed by an insurgent attack with small arms fire, the statement said.

"Iraqi army soldiers and Marines returned fire killing eight insurgents and wounding another," the statement said.

Emphasis mine. OK, when the AP decides to mention the body count, it appears that they think the higher the number, the better it is. Skip lightly past the fact that this was an IED attack which was, ostensibly, aimed at an American and then count up the innocent Iraqi civilians that had the bad form to be actually standing nearby and you have 16 dead. When the terrorists decided to actually engage the targets themselves, the Iraqi military and other Marines returned that engagement and killed 8 of the attacker. While it's true that the attackers died as a result of their ambush, you don't incude them in the body count "success rate" of their action. A proper headline would have read "15 Civilians, 1 Marine Killed In Terrorist Ambush; 8 Terrorists Got What Was Coming To Them."

The real story here is that 15 people who were simply going about their lives trying to improve things for themselves and their neighbors were killed by the actions of people who cannot bear the notion that others are living their lives out from under their thumbs. The terrorists have no care for who gets killed, it's just a matter of killing people to get the AP to write glowing stories. And, please note, that the muted mention of the response to the terrorist attack pays as little attention as possible to the fact that once the Iraqi Army and Marines were engaged, the terrorists got routed badly and no mention of any IA or USMC casualties is seen. The IA has become a force the terrorists cannot now match and they know it. We're winning. We - us and the Iraqis - are winning.