Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We Report. You Decide.

Dueling headlines, same incident.

Fox News: Iraqi Police: 14 Shiite Militiamen Killed in Battle With Coalition Forces

Agence France Press: US strikes in Baghdad kill 14 sleeping civilians

Let's see what AFP has to say specifically, shall we?

Iraqi defence and interior ministry officials said US helicopters fired on houses in the Al-Washash neighbourhood of Mansour district in west Baghdad between 2:00 am and 3:00 am.

Abu Ali Saad, a resident of the mainly Shiite enclave, said US military vehicles had arrived in large numbers in Al-Washash during the night.

"There were tanks and armoured vehicles and many troops," 35-year-old Saad told AFP while surveying the rubble of his neighbour's house.

"The tanks started firing then the helicopters came. Missiles were fired from the air. Houses were destroyed. A family of five were killed in this house," he said, referring to his neighbours.

"We are a peaceful neighbourhood. There are no militia here. There were no exchanges of fire. We were all sleeping."

A US military statement said Iraqi and US forces had engaged Shiite extremist militants who were part of a "terrorist cell" operating in Al-Washash.

When Iraqi and US forces entered the area they came under fire from "more than a dozen extremists firing from the rooftops of surrounding buildings," the statement said.

The fire was returned and air strikes were carried out against "positively identified armed gunmen directing small arms fires on to the assault force."


Amid the rubble of one house was a mattress covered in blood with human body parts scattered about. Neighbours said a family of six had been killed in the house, including a 12-year-old girl.

Bloodstains could also be seen amid the wreckage of the other houses, where angry residents gathered to denounce the US military.

"They prevented me from trying to get two of my wounded neighbours to hospital," said Ammar Assem. "They fired on my car when I tried to leave the area. I had to go back."

Now let's get the Fair and Balanced take on the same story.

American and Iraqi Special Forces clashed with suspected Shiite militiamen Thursday in western Baghdad, the U.S. military said, in a gunfight that saw at least 14 people killed, according to residents and police.

Acting on intelligence information, the U.S. and Iraqi troops launched the early-morning raid in the capital's Washash area against the suspected terrorist cell, which was believed to be responsible for attacks on police and sectarian killings, the U.S. command said in a statement.

As the troops entered the area they came under fire from more than a dozen militiamen firing from the rooftops.

"Iraqi and U.S. forces then responded with well-aimed and suppressive fire," the military said. Forces also directed proportional aerial fires onto targeted buildings against positively identified armed gunmen directing small arms fires onto the assault force."

The military reported that four buildings were damaged, "including two enemy strongholds that sustained major damage and two surrounding buildings that sustained moderate damage."

There was no mention of any civilian or suspected insurgent casualties, but local police said 14 people died.

So, just out of curiosity, what do you believe happened last night?

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