Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Wednesday 9 April 2003

Whining journalists [lurks]

Some time this morning the yanks lobbed a shell from an M1 Abrams Tank into the Palestinian Hotel, that being where all the journalists are holed up. Which is a fairly poor show but what it's meant, and I watch 24-hour news pretty much all day out of the corner of my eye, is that it's been non-fecking-stop journo bleating. So rather than cover the actual war or even the fact that it looks likely Saddam got taken out with 4 bunker-busters, we've got this self-serving whining about how the yanks deliberately shot at them.

I find this a bit rich, quite frankly. They're in Baghdad, in the middle of a war. They can see the tanks steaming around and the militia scurrying from building to building. It's astounding, it's like they expect these days that you can just camp the other side of a street in a war and your safety is garanteed.

Personally, I would have thought that if you had a great avertion to being shot at, it's A) not a good idea to be in Baghdad and B) not a real wise move to point something at a tank which looks very like an infra-red glass-domed anti-tank missile.

The whining continues as I watch. Jesus christ, shows you how hypocritical these fuckers are - they're not out covering Iraqi casualties NOW are they?!


  1. Yet another symptom of how thoroughly the news media has bought into the idea of bloodless wars. These are the same people who have spent the last 3 weeks being shocked and surprised that the Iraqis sometimes shoot back, and thought that the invasion was in serious trouble because a couple of dozen coalition soldiers got killed. The poor grasp of reality presented by the media in general during this war has been shocking.
    Having said that, if you consider that journalistic losses due to 'friendly fire' are roughly comparable to the losses sustained by the vastly more numerous coalition forces, some questions have to be asked.

  2. Agreed, it is a bit odd that in a short space of time they lobbed a shell at the hotel *and* Al-Jazeera's HQ...

  3. Some figures:US losses: approx. 100 UK losses: approx 30 Journo losses: 15
    125k US forces in field, 25k UK forces in field. Dunno how many journos, but I doubt it's 12.5k (UK loss ratio) or 19k (US loss ratio). Maybe they've got a point after all!

  4. Update, the Spanish government is requesting an explanation from Washington for the death of a Spanish journalist in Baghdad. Well. That wont be very hard will it. I see it now.'We were fighting a war in that city at the time.'But seriously, it can't hurt to have the odd journo get offed. Then they might understand it's a war and that people die, they seemed to have a hard time grasping that fact up to this point.Sickening how our fallen soldiers didn't get the media attention when they returned home in caskets as the journalists gave themselves over this issue.Andy, while those figures are indeed pretty suspicious - I wonder how they are if you take out some of the deaths due to journalists being really stupid and sneaking into Iraq by themselves and getting killed by themselves in Southern Iraq. From memory that must account for a few as it is.Al-Jazeera have behaved rather oddly in the conflict. First of all they were the Iraqi regimes best chums, until the regime locked up a couple of their journalists - presumably for telling something approximating the truth at some point (in itself something of a miracle for Al-Jazeera). So they chucked a hissy fit and said they were pulling their journalists out of Iraq. Only they didn't. So some get killed by the yanks so they say 'We're really pulling our journalists out now!'. You could be forgiven for thinking that they were some sort of adolescent PR outfit rather than a news operation.

  5. Oh there's no doubt a fair few of those journos were 'in the wrong place', but surely that's part of the job of a war reporter? Yep, it's risky, but in previous wars there hasn't generally been this kind of 'friendly' fatality rate amongst journos. As John Simpson said, the biggest danger to journos in this war has been the Americans, not the Iraqis. Given the stern warnings the US military gave to unattached journalists prior to the action starting, it's inevitable there are going to be conspiracy theories. Personally I always go for cock-up over conspiracy though - never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.
    Of course that raises some serious questions itself. Firing tank shells at the Palestine hotel and the Al-Jazeera offices, a US aircraft mistaking a convoy of white jeeps containing John Simpson and the brother of the Kurdish militia leader for an Iraqi tank - these things are signs of gross incompetence indeed.
    As for Al-Jazeera - I have some sympathy for them tbh. They've come in for a lot of unwarranted hostility, notably the pressure applied to their english language website. They've talked a lot of bollocks, but they've generally been no more guilty of this thatn CNN. Hardly a great recommendation I know, but hardly a capital crime either. They are currently reporting celebrations in the streets of Bahgdad like everyone else.

  6. You're right, they are reporting on the celebratings so I've got a lot more time for them now. I viewed their (latest) threat to pull their reporters out as a responce saying 'Well we're not going to publicise the facts which currently show your story in a positive light'. I was wrong on that score.
    As for American incompetence, there's no shortage of it. There's also a number of cowboys that should never have been put behind a deadly weapon in the first place - that A10 encounter being one case, then there was the guy with the grenades in the base camp...
    I'd say the Americans will be looking at their psychological analysys proceedures for their troops a little more closely after this.
    Still, great pictures coming out of Iraqi now. The cheering and celebrations is really heartening.

  7. I think it's worth mentioning that the only A-10s left in the US airforce are in use by reservists only! Kinda weird given how deadly and useful it is. Did you see the footage of one strafing that ministry on the news yesterday? F'in hell that gun is savage..

  8. 70 x 30mm shells a second. The sound alone is terrifying.

  9. Robert Fisk is on good form today in the independant. There's much bleeting about being targeted but also some nuggets in there. Like how the US 'targeted' Al-Jazeera in 2001, suggesting that they were after Taiseer Alouni at that time too. More telling though is talk of video footage of the shelling 'showing 4 minutes of silence' before the tank lets fly. As we know though the absence of proof dosen't mean that something didn't happen.
    Assuming the tape proves that no sniper fire took place, the US story of sniper & rocket fire, well seems like a weak attempt at covering up yet another friendly fire incident.
    Side note: ever wondered what the three whopping stripes on the fuselage of the aircraft that took part in D-Day were? Well, they were there to reduce friendly fire because gunners coudn't tell the difference between Allied & Axis aircraft. Now correct me if I'm wrong but any soldier who believes he is being fired upon in a war zone isn't going to hang about to check lists of coordinates or for the enemy to have another go just to make sure.
    What I find more flabbergasting is that the US military gave assurances that the Reuters building wouldn't be targeted, apparently giving the coordinates to troops. I fail to see how this would be possible. Such an assurance may as well put a big neon sign up & say 'enemy safe haven here'. Equally barmy is the suggestion by Fisk that civilian reporters could be expected to secure the building against Iraqi use. That no fire assurance should never have been sought, and never given.
    There's no targeting of journalists going on here, to suggest so in my mind screams vanity above all else. They're simply putting themselves directly in harms way, and for some reason being surprised at the consequences. Don't get me wrong here. I do admire their bravery & dedication to report the truth (as seen by them).
    I'll leave last thoughts to Sky news correspondant David Chater: 'We now feel extremely vunerable'. Well, no shit. Here's a tip: See those people with guns pointed at each other? Try not to stand in between them eh?

  10. There are some 500 journos 'embedded' in theatre (ref: to AndyK's stats earlier).
    I find it absolutely hysterical that these dumb fucks should be complaining about being put in harms way.
    Still, on the upside, John Simpson got semi-blown up, which'll take the 'Man Who Single Handedly Liberated Afghanistan' down a peg or two.

  11. It's likely that the tank commander just spotted light glinting off a lens, decided it was a sniper, and took a pot shot before anyone mentioned to him that it was the Palestine hotel he was firing at.
    I make 6-9 journos killed in 'friendly fire' incidents. If we double Brit's figure to include the Baghdad based journos we get 0.6-0.9% Can't find a good figure for coalition military 'friendly fire' losses, but it's of the order of 0.01%.