Thursday, May 19, 2005
Biggest offensive since Fallujah. 125 insurgents killed. Nine U.S. troops dead, forty wounded. At this point you are perhaps wondering why you haven't read about it; our venerated colleague Joe Wezorek of American Leftist is most definitely wondering why you haven't read about it. From Monday:
Forget everything that's happened in the past five years, forget this war, forget Bush, forget 9/11, forget it all, and imagine what you would have thought if someone told you that in five years there would be a major American military operation in the Muslim world in which scores and scores of people would be killed, towns evacuated, Americans would kick families out of their homes, etc., and that the New York Times would not even mention the operation's name. That is where we are . . . .From Tuesday:
I wonder if the atrociousness of the coverage of Operation Matador is similar to the atrociousness of the coverage of the early bombing of Vietnam. I wonder if half a decade of Bush is starting to take its toll on our culture.
Knight-Ridder's Hannah Allam, who recently made waves by suggesting that the election of Iraq's new government has actually made the situation there worse, along with Mohammed al-Dulaimy, has apparently done some actual reporting about both the cause and effect of Operation Matador. Allam and al-Dulaimy make two claims: (1) Operation Matador began because two Iraqi tribes, tired of foreign trouble-makers in the al-Qaim area, called on the US forces for help and (2) the two tribes greatly regret doing so now . . . .And, from Wednesday:
[G]iven that Matador like Phantom Fury was a house-to-house sweep to rid a town of foreign fighters, given that in Operation Phantom Fury it was considered a good thing that 1300 Iraqis supported the US forces, I ask again: Why were no Iraqi security forces involved in Operation Matador? And why isn't the corporate media interested in this question?
The story is that Operation Matador was a huge bloody blunder, civilian infrastructure was targeted and destroyed with no pay-off of any kind. Its planners expected to kill or capture hundreds of foreign fighters. This simply didn't happen; spokespeople claim 125 insurgents were killed, offering no information on the nationalities of these insurgents or any reason to believe that they actually were insurgents. Given the massive amounts of lying going on lately I'm not sure why anyone should believe that the 125 insurgents existed anywhere besides in the statements made by Pentagon spokespeople.
On top of being a failure, Matador has created what amounts to a humantarian crisis. The New Standard's Chris Shumway provides a good round-up of the coverage of its aftermath: destroyed towns, perhaps 8000 displaced people, houses serving as hospitals because the hospitals were bombed, and god knows how many dead.