17 March 2006

Operation: Snorer

"Major show of force"

"Largest air assault since 2003"

"Airborn sweep of insurgent resistance"

"US leads huge airborne assault"

"US/Iraqi forces continue major offensive"

Yes, this is what we heard about "Operation: Swarmer," conjuring all sorts of images of sorties and gunships and F-16s. Troops seeking out the insurgents where they live, on their turf, and rooting them out of their entrenched positions.

Too bad it wasn't remotely close to the truth.

CNN, MSNBC, and Faux News worked themselves into a lather with "Breaking Story"-style coverage, graphics, the whole nine yards. And for what? 47 low level suspects that we've already started to release, and 6 weapons caches, consisting of only about 300 total pieces of equipment. Word play about air power managed to turn a minor search mission into Operation: Overlord 2, The Next Day.

And why? The BBC got it spot-on, right off the bat:
"The reasons for it being given such high-profile publicity are clearly open to speculation.

The operation came at a time when support at home for President Bush and his campaign in Iraq is running very low, and when the international media were preparing to focus on the third anniversary of the war, just three days later."
Open to speculation? Once you've started a war under false pretenses, the notion of using a simple PR blitz as a fig leaf for your 1000 day debacle is hardly a reach.

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