Friday, September 08, 2006
A Look at Templates
Soldier’s Dad at Milblogs alerts us to a Press Conference, conducted by MG Thomas Turner, Commander of Multinational Division North in
Here’s an admittedly Army PAO version of the Press Conference:
Iraqis taking responsibility for security in north
Story by Sgt. Sara Wood
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 8, 2006) - Continual training with coalition forces has increased the capabilities of the Iraqi army and police in northern Iraq and allowed the local forces to take responsibility for more territory and work toward the future of the country, the U.S. commander in the area said today.
"In an area of responsibility that exceeds 47,000 square miles, we have leveraged the full spectrum of assets in order to engage the population and neutralize the enemy," Army Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner, commander of Multinational Division North, said in a news conference via satellite from
A year ago, only one Iraqi army battalion was in the lead in the north, but today, 35 battalions, eight brigades and two divisions have assumed the lead and have been assigned an area of operations, Turner said. The majority of all operations in the region are led by the Iraqi army, he said, and the logistics and sustainment capabilities of the army are developing.
Now that the majority of the Iraqi army combat units are in the lead, the coalition is focused on building combat support and combat service support units, Turner said. When these units are fully established, they will provide critical support, such as logistics, transportation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, he said.
Iraqi police in northern
"It was not so long ago that we saw Iraqi police either abandoning their post or throwing down their arms when attacked or confronted by the enemy," he said. "Today they are much stronger, and we continue to see progress."
Progress also is being made along
While developing the Iraqi security forces, coalition forces in the north also have reduced their presence, Turner said. In the past year, the coalition has gone from using 35 forward operating bases to 11, with the vacated bases being either closed or turned over to the Iraqi army or Iraqi government, he said.
Important challenges still lay ahead in
"The majority of Iraqis are tired of the bloodshed, and this enemy presents no challenge that cannot be overcome," he said. "This was most evident after the horrific bombing of the Golden Mosque in
Soldier’s Dad notes that the AP Report on press conference focuses very narrowly on another matter mentioned in the briefing, as reprinted in the Mercury News:
WASHINGTON - The senior commander of
Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner II, whose area of responsibility stretches from the Iranian border north to
"We do see that migration," he said when asked about a Pentagon report to Congress last week that expressed concern that sectarian violence was spreading beyond the Iraqi capital, where it is most intense and widespread.
Turner estimated that the torture chambers were about 6 feet wide and 6 feet long. He did not give their exact location. He said they were along the
"What it included were places where shackles were attached to walls, batteries, and other evidence of torture," he said.
Diyala province is predominantly Sunni, with a sizable population of Shiites as well as Kurds.
Turner spoke by video teleconference from his headquarters at Tikrit.
Contrast the official Army Press Release and the AP Report, with this account from Soldier’s Dad at Milblogs, who also watched the same Briefing:
I watched the Pentagon Briefing today on the Pentagon Channel. Gen Turner was giving his "End of Tour" summation. As usually befits a portion of the numb skulls that show up for these briefings, they want to talk about the 'subject de jour' which has nothing to do with an 'End of Tour Summation'.
So lost on all but maybe one or two reporters, was the real news, the number of FOB's in MNF-N is now down to 11 from 31. The number of coalition forces in the MNF-N AOR is almost half of what it was a year ago. Number of ISF battalions in the lead went from 1 to 35.
Nope, none of that real significant progress was newsworthy, the fact that a couple of torture chambers were found months ago, that's the story of the day.
I certainly don’t expect that the AP should print each and every press release from the Army, nor neglect to use their own judgment about what their readers would consider news.
But I have to think that Soldier’s Dad, in his middle paragraph above, narrowed in on three rather important facts, regardless of and absent any possible spin that one would care to apply:
has gone from 31 down to 11 Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), soon to be 10; US
- Coalition forces in MNF-N Area of Responsibility (AOR) are nearly half of what they were one year ago; and
- Iraqi Security Force (ISF) Battalions taking the lead role in security operations went from 1 to 35.
Meanwhile, AP focused on a single fact from 3 months ago, already known and reported, and spent 7 paragraphs exploring all the nuances of the fact.
Why? That should be obvious. It’s negative, and it fits the TemplateTM.
Links to this post:
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]