NYTimes reporter Michael Kamber reports from Baghdad on a story that’s not news–militia infiltration of some of the Iraq security forces being trained by American troops (we noted the same problem during our embed in January reporting from the same area Kamber apparently visited). Give Kamber credit for not relying on some anonymous local stringer. As for the anonymous NYTimes headline writer: Big “F.” While the NYT headline emphasizes a bleak outlook, there’s more to Kamber’s story than “doubts growing” among G.I.’s. For example, there’s this:
Nineteen days later, just after Christmas, Capt. Douglas Rogers and the men of Delta Company were on their way to Kadhimiya, a Shiite enclave of about 300,000. As part of the so-called surge of American troops, their primary mission was to maintain stability in the area and prepare the Iraqi Army and police to take control of the neighborhood.
“I thought it would not be long before we could just stay on our base and act as a quick-reaction force,” said the barrel-chested Captain Rogers of San Antonio. “The Iraqi security forces would step up.”
It has not worked out that way. Still, Captain Rogers says their mission in Kadhimiya has been “an amazing success.”
“We’ve captured 4 of the top 10 most-wanted guys in this area,” he said. And the streets of Kadhimiya are filled with shoppers and the stores are open, he said, a rarity in Baghdad due partly to Delta Company’s patrols.
The article quotes a total of three troops who seem to favor giving up. In addition to Capt. Rogers, the article quotes Delta Company section leader, Staff Sgt. James Griffin, at the end of the article:
Sergeant Griffin understands the criticism of the Iraqi forces, but he believes they, and the war effort, must be given more time.
“If we throw this problem to the side, it’s not going to fix itself,” he said. “We’ve created the Iraqi forces. We gave them Humvees and equipment. For however long they say they need us here, maybe we need to stay.”
Now, let’s write a proper headline that actually reflects the rest of the story:
Doubts, optimism persist among G.I.’s training Iraqi security forces
Or how about this:
Some G.I.’s not ready to abandon Iraq yet
But that wouldn’t fit the grim milestone narrative, would it?
Update: The NYT website has a new front-page headline for the article. Judge for yourselves:
On the flip side: Praise for the NYTimes’ war coverage. When they deserve it, they get it.blog comments powered by Disqus
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