Slapping on their fedoras, note pads in hand, Pentagon flacks raced to the scene of the horrific drive bombing in Baghdad today and tried to spin a situation that has already spun out of control.
As I noted a couple of hours ago, Don Rumsfeld's flacks finally started doing body counts of Iraqi civilians, telling reporters that up to 40 people died in today's major suicide bombing. The news services, meanwhile, are reporting that 25 died.
Shocking that the Pentagon, after two years of refusing to publicly count Iraqi corpses, would actually start counting and even inflate such a figure? Not really.
Read the Pentagon's own story of today's blast, and you'll understand that the Bush regime is merely hyping the credibility of the ISF—the Iraqi police:
- A spokesman for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, condemned the attack and said terrorists clearly see the Iraqi police as a credible threat to their aims.
"The car bomber made a deliberate decision to attack the Iraqi police station," said Maj. Russ Goemaere. "The terrorists undoubtedly see the improved Iraqi police services as a threat to their operations. The Iraqi police will not be deterred, but rather (will be) more determined to fight these terrorists and stop them from committing these heinous acts."
But the Reuters reporter Lutfi Abu Oun didn't fall for the hype, using that quote but adding these two paragraphs—also from the Pentagon—for context:
- Despite that interpretation, a senior U.S. military official in Washington offered a more cautious view of the ability of Iraqi forces in a report released last week.
"Only a small number of Iraqi security forces are taking on the insurgents and terrorists by themselves," said an assessment provided to the U.S. Senate by Marine Corps General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
That's a good job by the Reuters reporter. Meanwhile, the major foreign source for U.S. papers, the Associated Press, has so far today given no credibility to the Pentagon's tally of 40 dead.
Keep in mind, though, that Don Rumsfeld isn't really changing his policy of not doing body counts. Today's propaganda from the Pentagon is careful to pin the estimate of 40 dead not to U.S. military personnel but to "Iraqi police" sources—who are unnamed, by the way.
I thought the Bush regime was pissed off with the press for using unnamed sources. On May 17, in fact, regime flack Scott McClellan told a press gaggle:
- "There is a credibility problem in the media regarding the use of anonymous sources."
Today, however, it's the Bush regime using unnamed police sources in Baghdad to suit its purpose of trying to make the ugly explosion look even more horrific. The AP, on the other hand, is using named Iraqi police as its source:
- At least 22 people, most of them civilians, were killed, police Col. Ala'a Salih said. The U.S. military, citing initial Iraqi police reports, said 40 people were killed, but police said they were uncertain where the figure came from.
I'm fairly certain: The figure came from where the sun don't shine. And that's certainly not sweltering Baghdad.