"We don't do body counts," Gen. Tommy Franks once said.
This has changed.
Juan Cole wrote this morning:
The remarkable thing about the operation was the claim by the US to have killed 100 guerrillas, a new move in the propaganda wars. ... The problem with giving out such numbers, however, is that sooner or later there will be another scandal.
We did not have to wait long for the obvious scandal to unfold.
James Janega, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune embedded with US troops in western Iraq, reports form the combat zone:
Though military commanders in Baghdad announced that 100 insurgent fighters were killed in the early fighting, along with three Marines, [Col. Stephen] Davis' [, commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team 2, responsible for this rugged corner of Anbar province near the Syrian border], figures were lower. He said "a couple of dozen" insurgents had been killed in Ubaydi, about 10 at another river crossing near Al Qaim, and several who were killed by air strikes north of the river.
Apparently Colonel Davis did not get the brief from Central Disinformation Command, Baghdad, that was distributed via the Associated Press. But the Main Stream Media did get the brief, and swallowed its content - as usual - hook, line and sinker:
Wapo: Marines Kill 100 Fighters In Sanctuary Near Syria,
NYT: 100 Rebels Killed in U.S. Offensive in Western Iraq,
Boston Globe: US kills 100 militants in Iraq offensive,
Guardian: U.S. Attack in Iraq Kills 100 Insurgents,
CBS News: U.S.: 100 Militants Killed In Iraq,
NPR: U.S. Offensive Kills 100 Insurgents in Iraq,
Indianapolis Star: U.S. assault leaves 100 militants dead,
ABC News: U.S. Attack in Iraq Kills 100 Insurgents,
Washington Times: Major U.S. attack kills up to 100,
SF Chronicle: U.S. Attack in Iraq Kills 100 Insurgents,
St.Petersburg Times: U.S. raids in Iraq kill 100 militants,
NY Post: TROOPS KILL 100 ZARQAWI GOONS,
Pakistan Tribune: US forces kill 100 militants near Syrian border,
CNN: U.S.: 100 insurgents killed near Iraq-Syria border,
Muslim American Society: U.S. Kills 100 in Iraq Offensive,
Gulf Daily News: 100 rebels die in US offensive",
South Coast Today: U.S. corners al-Zarqawi followers 100 militants killed in sweep
... plus "a couple of dozen" which I "don´t do body count" here.
Do those editors really wonder why the blogsphere denounces the MSM?