It should have been called an exercise. Instead the Pentagon pumped out the propaganda to the US and foreign media and called it Operation Swarmer. It was a hoax.
Of course the big guns of the Bush administration came out to laud the new capabilities of the Iraqi security forces:
The offensive demonstrated the increasing effectiveness of Iraq's security forces, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.Offensive? Oh yeah, CNN did call it the largest air assault since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They gathered all that information from one photograph of a line of helicopters.
U.S. Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq, echoed Rice's comments during a televised news conference.Without regard to religious or tribal affiliations? Well... good. I guess. And they can be used in just about any role. Wonderful. When there's no opposition they work even better. This is, however, a very big jump from a month ago.
Iraqi soldiers are performing well "without regard to religious or tribal affiliations,'' he said. "Iraqi units with our support can be used in just about any role.''
The U.S. military last month said there were no Iraqi battalions capable of operating without support, a reduction from one battalion in September and three in June that were in the Pentagon's top category of readiness, Level 1.Yup. And just so you don't get too confused, that is pretty much what Chiarelli said. "Iraqi units with our support can be used in just about any role."
Of course, when you take a reporter with you, you get a report. Time magazine's Brian Bennet saw everything differently.
But contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. WhatÂs more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders.They did find a woman baking bread though.
Before loading up into the helicopters for a return trip to Baghdad, Iraqi and American soldiers and some reporters helped themselves to the woman's freshly baked bread, tearing bits off and chewing it as they wandered among the cows. For most of them, it was the only thing worthwhile the had found all day.No one should surprised at this latest attempt by the Bush administration to lie to everyone. It's now a habit. What's surprising is that major news outlets swallowed it whole and then fed the story internationally. One would expect by now that they would check things out before pushing the headline across the screen.
The Bushies perpetrated a hoax, and the media was played for fools. Have you had enough yet?