This AP story on MSNBC report details the increasing anger against insurgents in Iraq. Even prominent Sunnis are jumping into the fray. I can hear this editorial meeting:
EDITOR: Johnson, wuddah you got?
JOHNSON: Well, chief, I’ve been working on a story about the Iraqi people turning agianst the insurgents . . .
EDITOR: You mean turning against the US troops?
JOHNSON: No, sir. Against the insurgents. Even Sunni clerics and leaders.
EDITOR: You’re sure.
JOHNSON: Well, uh, yeah. I’ve been here for a year. I’ve been to demons . . .
EDITOR: (looks at ceiling, feet on desk) Okay, okay, Johnson. How ‘bout this angle. “Cruelty of American troops drives ordinary Iraqis to new levels of depraved violence.” You know, that whole Khmer Rouge, “Killing Fields” thing.
JOHNSON: Well, yeah, sir. But you don’t understand: the people aren’t violent. What I’ve seen have been peaceful protests, editorials, stuff like that.
EDITOR: We can pass off the editorials as propaganda from Rumsfeld’s office passed through the puppet government press operations. What about these Sunnis? Can we put them on the Haliburton payroll?
JOHNSON: I checked that out. No. These were Saddam loyalists, but they’ve lost family in terrorist attacks . . .
EDITOR: (interrupting) You mean “collateral damage” from stray American bombs.
JOHNSON: No, sir. They really were killed by terrorist, and the Sunnis know it.
EDITOR: Goddammit, Johnson, we’re telling the American people that the Iraqi people are turning against the insurgents–the freedom fighters, Middle Eastern Ches.
JOHNSON: I’m afraid the Iraqis don’t see them that way, sir. They think of them as, well, terrorists.
EDITOR: Fine, fine. Whatever. Send me the piece. We can always slant it with sub-headings:
That explains this incongruent sub-head and the two paragraphs that follow, but don’t support it:
Little acceptance of U.S. troops
“The Iraqi people are brave and won’t accept any foreigner on their soil. They will fight the occupation troops until force them to leave Iraq,” said Haitham Abdul Razak, who was a captain in Saddam’s army, which was disbanded by U.S. authorities.
Although American military deaths in Iraq passed 1,500 this week, they do not approach the toll among Iraqi civilians and their security forces. Bombings and other attacks killed more than 300 Iraqis just in February.
Notet that the only quote that speaks of disapproval of American presence comes from a Saddam army leader who Paul Bremmer fired in May, 2003 because of his Baathist loyalties. But the story doesn’t tell us of his grudge, now, does it? Since the AP provides no date for the quote, we may assume this is an old, old quote, possibly from just after his firing two years ago.
But give the headline writer credit: he or she rescued the AP from stumbling onto the truth.
Dave Johnson (not the fictitious character in my piece) has more on GOP Bloggers.
Check out Carnival of the Trackbacks on Wizbang.
Other Iraq News: Joe Gandelman observes new photos of al-Zarqawi on CNN