Operations Swarmer nets some results while the media coverage of the war continues to disappoint
Amid cries of an “Overblown… Potemkin Operation” which “fizzled”, Operation Swarmer nets some results. Iraqi officials have disclosed further information on the objectives. While the U.S. and Iraqi intelligence disagree on the size of the insurgent contingent operating in the region (100 vs. 200), the region is believed to be an area of operations for insurgents in the Samarra region, and the targets of the raids were the group responsible for the destruction of the dome of the Alaskaria mosque in Samarra, and the murderers of Iraqiya television correspondent Atwar Bahjat and two of her partners.
Six suspects were detained in the Iraqiya TV case, as well as a ringleader of the attack in Samarra. Jaish Muhammed (or Army of Muhammed) is believed to be behind the Alaskaria mosque bombing, and a ‘ringleader’ is said to have been captured.
A look at the major attacks in Iraq over the past three days provides further evidence and reinforces the belief the insurgency and al Qaeda are concentrating attacks in central Iraq, in the areas around Baghdad and to the north. The air assault near Samarra is but the most recent in a series of air assaults and other operations in the region which has become the central front in Iraq.
The reporting on Operation Swarmer is a microcosm of the sub-par reporting on the Iraq war. Events are immediately placed into a political context. Commentary is often mixed in with reporting. There is little understanding of operational intent or how the military even works. Operations are viewed as individual events, and not placed in a greater context. Failure and faulty assumptions are the baseline for coverage and analysis. Success is arbitrarily determined by a reporter or editor’s biases. The actions of the U.S. and Iraqi military are viewed with suspicion and even contempt.
If you don’t believe me, just read the “objective” reports from Time’s Brian Bennett and Christopher Allbritton. Would they have preferred a bloody battle? Should the military sought their advice in advance to determine the size and composition of the assault force?