Mark Fitz, AP's ace reporter, sent in a story we quoted Saturday about the exaggerated picture of violence in Iraq given by the news media. The media has also been all about the Sunni Crescent, contrasted with the peaceful Shi'ite south.
So we should expect that it is the Shi'ite south where the casualties will eventually pile up. Casualty report this morning, from the Guardian:
"The MOD statement said: "There have been two incidents today near Amara. We very much regret to confirm that in one incident, six British personnel have been killed. Arrangements are in hand to inform their next of kin."
The NYT story carries a little more information about the two attacks, which look like battles. A helicopter was attacked, most of its crew was wounded. At the bottom of the story, it carries this info:
"An American soldier was wounded, three Iraqis were killed and two were wounded in a firefight at a checkpoint in Ramadi today, the Central Command said, though did not offer further details about the incident or whether the Iraqis were soldiers or civilians."
The Times also carries, with that superb, Times-like aplomb, a graf that makes no sense:
"According to a United States Central Command statement today, coalition forces have conducted 1,068 day patrols and 837 night patrols since yesterday."
Right. And they juggled three million balls while doing so.
The BBC quoted a sensible man -- which will attract the usual Bush n Blair-ite complaints:
"Dan Plesch, a defence analyst the Royal United Services Institute, said UK political leaders and military commanders would be monitoring the situation very closely.
"One has to ask whether we are talking about people loyal to Saddam, or Iraqis that simply think that the UK and Americans are occupying their country and should leave. Those are two very different propositions," Mr Plesch told BBC News 24."
An American citizen might be forgiven for thinking Plesch is out of his gourd -- because there is little reporting, in this country, of what the Bremer regime is doing. The shutdown of critical media, the raids on the Shi'ite political party hq, and the drumroll of announcements of major changes, to be effected in Iraq without even the facade of consulting with a few Iraqi stooges -- this is what Iraqis are witnessing, every day.
Patrick Cockburn in the Independent -- by far our favorite reporter on Iraq -- reports that Saddam Hussein's nearest and dearest might be trying to flee to Belarus. Now, being opposed to the death penalty even for crimes against humanity, we believe that punishments for those crimes must be appropriately awful. Living in Belarus almost fits that standard.