Saturday, September 24, 2005

Another BS flag 
Here's the Independent printing another outrageous allegation, without any corroborating detail or attempt to fact check.

The rare insight into the chaos of the combat ­ including an order to open fire on all taxis in the city of Samawa because it was believed Iraqi forces were using them for transport ­ comes as US support for the war in Iraq slumps to an all-time low.

It would not be hard for an enterprising reporter to get to the bottom of that. The subject of the story knows who he served with. He knows who his CO was. Why not pick up the phone and call to see if that's true? There's no evidence anyone ever tried to verify a damn thing this guy's saying.

This is the state of journalism today. They didn't learn a thing from Rathergate. They run with the first outrageous report they can get their hands on. They do no background work. They seek no corroborating witnesses. It's a 'he-said, she-said' exercise, except they often don't even bother with a 'she-said.' Hell, this so-called "reporter" didn't even bother with a pro-forma call to Army Public Affairs to get them to decline comment. (Nor did his editors apparently expect him to.)

Oh, and the reason he doesn't know how many innocents were killed by his mortar rounds is because chances are he has no idea what he was shooting at. The mortar is primarily an indirect fire weapon, and in Iraq, because the terrain is relatively flat, and most of the fighting is urban, a mortar crew shoots at a grid coordinate someone else gives him, and not at anything he can see directly. "Direct lay" missions are pretty uncommon in Iraq -- at least in the valleys. Mileage may vary in the northern hills (You can do some direct lay in Fallujah, from outside the town, though. But a mortar crew would do it from hundreds or even thousands of meters away, and so would not even know what they were shooting at, even then.

Splash, out


Well, the white pages list young 'Benjamin' as a reservist. So was he attached or assigned to the "duece" back when?
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