The New York Times Tries To Steal A Victory In Iraq

The mainstream media is absolutely determined to turn every victory in Iraq into a defeat no matter how they have to twist things around. The latest example is the Iraqi/US victory over a Shiite cult in Najaf. Here’s the New York Times spin on this incredibly successful operation from an article called, “Missteps by Iraqi Forces in Battle Raise Questions.”

Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed by the ferocity of an obscure renegade militia in a weekend battle near the holy city of Najaf and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed, American and Iraqi officials said Monday.

They said American ground troops — and not just air support as reported Sunday — were mobilized to help the Iraqi soldiers, who appeared to have dangerously underestimated the strength of the militia, which calls itself the Soldiers of Heaven and had amassed hundreds of heavily armed fighters.

Iraqi government officials said the group apparently was preparing to storm Najaf, a holy city dear to Shiite Islam, occupy the sacred Imam Ali mosque and assassinate the religious hierarchy there, including the revered leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, during a Shiite holiday when many pilgrims visit.

“This group had more capabilities than the government,” said Abdul Hussein Abtan, the deputy governor of Najaf Province, at a news conference.

…The Iraqis and Americans eventually prevailed in the battle. But the Iraqi security forces’ miscalculations about the group’s strength and intentions raised troubling questions about their ability to recognize and deal with a threat.

…Among the troubling questions raised is how hundreds of armed men were able to set up such an elaborate encampment, which Iraqi officials said included tunnels, trenches and a series of blockades, only 10 miles northeast of Najaf. After the fight was over, Iraqi officials said they discovered at least two antiaircraft weapons as well as 40 heavy machine guns.

The government knew that the Soldiers of Heaven had set up camp in the area, but officials said they thought they were there to worship together.

Mr. Abtan said the Iraqi forces later decided to move on the group because an informer said Sunday was “zero hour” and the government noticed more men streaming into the area.

…The Iraqis initially sent a battalion from their Eighth Army Division, along with police forces, but they were quickly overwhelmed, according to an Iraqi commander at the scene. The battalion began to retreat but was soon surrounded and pinned down, and had to call in American air support to keep the enemy from overrunning its position.

American Apache attack helicopters and F-16s, as well as British fighter jets, flew low over the farms where the enemy had set up its encampments and attacked, dropping 500-pound bombs on the encampments. The Iraqi forces were still unable to advance, and they called in support from both an elite Iraqi unit known as the Scorpion Brigade, which is based to the north in Hilla, and from American ground troops.

Around noon, elements of the American Fourth Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division were dispatched from near Baghdad.

After an American helicopter was shot down at 1:30 p.m., some of those soldiers helped secure the crash site and recover the bodies of the two American soldiers killed in the crash, according to a statement by the American military. Others joined in the effort to combat the renegade militia, the statement said.

A commander in the Scorpion Brigade said the combined American and Iraqi forces killed 470 people. He also said some of the dead Soldiers of Heaven fighters were found bound together at the ankles and suggested that the chains had probably been used to keep people from fleeing and to keep them moving as one unified group.

Government estimates of the number of fighters killed ranged from 120 to 400.

An Iraqi military official said at least 25 security force members were killed in the battle.”

So, long story short, the Iraqis were made aware of a terrorist enclave that was planning to mount an attack later in the week. It turned out to be stronger than they thought, so they had to call in help, but in the end — with our help — they killed somewhere between 120 and 450 terrorists at a cost of 27 men. That’s a kill ratio of somewhere between 4.4 to 1 to 17 to 1 against a well prepared, heavily armed, dug in force.

Moreover, although we did lose 2 men, the Iraqis lost 25, so it’s not like they were hanging around in the rear. It sounds like they bore the brunt of the fighting, which is exactly what they should be doing.

Yet, this is supposed to be an example of some sort of debacle? That just goes to show you how hidebound the media is to their “we can’t win” narrative.

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