Compare and Contrast

Here are two reports of the same incident yesterday in Iraq. First, from CNN, reporting from US headquarters in Baghdad:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Coalition airstrikes killed an attacker early Tuesday after members of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division came under fire near Fallujah, west of the Iraqi capital, the Coalition Press Information Center said.

According to the coalition, members of the 82nd Airborne came under attack near Fallujah — a town about 43 miles (70 kilometers) west of Baghdad — just after 2 a.m. (6 p.m. EDT Monday). Coalition forces pursued the attackers into a building and set up a perimeter around it before calling in air support.

Now, the same incident as reported by a reporter for the Guardian, who was at the scene of the incident:

Wednesday September 24, 2003, The Guardian: Rory McCarthy reports from al-Jisr, scene of the killing of three farmers at hands of US troops

It was the middle of the night when the crack paratroopers from America’s 82nd Airborne Division arrived outside Ali Khalaf’s farmhouse in the parched fields of central Iraq.

“We heard voices and so my husband went out to check what was happening. We thought they were thieves,” said [one of the Iraqis]. “My husband shouted at them and then immediately they started shooting.”

By the family’s account, the troops of the 82nd Airborne – known proudly as the “All American” – opened up a devastating barrage of gunfire lasting for at least an hour. When the shooting stopped, three farmers were dead and three others were injured, including Hudood’s two sons, Tassin, 12, and Hussein, 10.

Eventually the shooting stopped, the soldiers pulled back and then they called in the air strike. At least seven missiles were fired but only one hit the house, tearing through the ceiling of an unoccupied storeroom.

…”My brother was a polite and decent man. He was poor and we had only enough farmland to survive,” said Ali Khalaf’s brother Zaidan, who lives nearby.

“None of us are interested in politics, none of us worked in Saddam’s regime. We got nothing from Saddam… We don’t have any weapons in our homes and we don’t have any intention to fight the Americans.”