Monday, November 22, 2004

Media coverage is fallujahed up

Powerline on the slanted media coverage in Fallujah:

If the Fallujah campaign had been long and difficult, and had given rise to many casualties, the hysteria in the media would have been unrestrained. Instead, however, the Fallujah campaign was one of the most stunning successes in the history of urban warfare. Consequently, it has dropped off the media radar screen. Newspaper attention immediately turned, not to the important strategic advantages of depriving the terrorists of their home base, or to the horrifying discoveries of torture and murder chambers, the "Iraq al Qaeda" headquarters, or vast quantities of munitions that have been captured in Fallujah, but to: 1) video footage of a Marine shooting a wounded terrorist, and 2) terrorist attacks in other parts of Iraq. The point of the latter coverage is not subtle; the reader is intended to conclude that the battle of Fallujah has been futile.

update: Of course, that doesn't mean that the likes of the NY Times can't produce some stellar writing... because it can. Casualty-focused, sure, but not defeatist, and with heroism on display:

More than once, death crept up and snatched a member of Bravo Company and quietly slipped away. Cpl. Nick Ziolkowski, nicknamed Ski, was a Bravo Company sniper. For hours at a stretch, Corporal Ziolkowski would sit on a rooftop, looking through the scope on his bolt-action M-40 rifle, waiting for guerrillas to step into his sights. The scope was big and wide, and Corporal Ziolkowski often took off his helmet to get a better look.

Tall, good-looking and gregarious, Corporal Ziolkowski was one of Bravo Company's most popular soldiers. Unlike most snipers, who learned to shoot growing up in the countryside, Corporal Ziolkowski grew up near Baltimore, unfamiliar with guns. Though Baltimore boasts no beach front, Corporal Ziolkowski's passion was surfing; at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Bravo Company's base, he would often organize his entire day around the tides.

"All I need now is a beach with some waves," Corporal Ziolkowski said, during a break from his sniper duties at Falluja's Grand Mosque, where he killed three men in a single day.

During that same break, Corporal Ziolkowski foretold his own death. The snipers, he said, were now among the most hunted of American soldiers.

In the first battle for Falluja, in April, American snipers had been especially lethal, Corporal Ziolkowski said, and intelligence officers had warned him that this time, the snipers would be targets.

"They are trying to take us out," Corporal Ziolkowski said.
The bullet knocked Corporal Ziolkowski backward and onto the roof. He had been sitting there on the outskirts of the Shuhada neighborhood, an area controlled by insurgents, peering through his wide scope. He had taken his helmet off to get a better view. The bullet hit him in the head.


Acts of heroism in Fallujah are not exactly in short supply. This missive from the front details a few of them:
The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety. The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds.

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