The Palestinian Hotel; Selective Memory and Outrage

The attack on the Palestinian Hotel has created a media backlash against violence directed against journalists, but not against al Qaeda in particular. Media giant Reuters weighs in on yesterday’s multiple suicide assault. While Suicide bombings have been the calling card of al Qaeda in Iraq and its Islamist affiliates and allies, incredulously, Reuters feigns ignorance of the origin of the attackers; “Until now, the perpetrators remain unknown.” Reuters does not even hazard an educated guess.

Reuters is very careful to remind us of the accidental attack on the Palestinian Hotel during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as if the terrorist’s three car-bomb assault yesterday, which incidentally killed three photojournalists, is comparable to the U.S. tank firing on the hotel 2003. While the Committee to Protect Journalists is cited in this article, there is no mention of their finding on the incident at the Palestinian Hotel during OIF, which absolved the U.S. forces of intentionally targeting journalists. Regardless, Reuters devotes over half the article to remind us that the United States kills journalists, too.

This is not the first time the hotels have been targeted. In April 2003, the Palestine Hotel – a traditional way station for journalists and consultants – was hit by US tank fire. That incident resulted in the deaths of two journalists, one from news agency Reuters and the other from a Spanish television network.

Notably, on the same day, US troops also opened fire on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network’s Baghdad office, killing television reporter Tariq Ayoub.

US military officials later apologised for both incidents, which they said were the result of erroneous intelligence regarding insurgent positions.

Oh, and the U.S. and Iraqi government also intimidate journalists in country, so says an unnamed journalist.

Some Baghdad-based reporters say that journalists are regularly subjected to intimidation by the authorities, who hope to suppress coverage of the war’s less flattering aspects.

“Journalism in Iraq has been in crisis since the beginning of 2004,” said one reporter who preferred anonymity. “The Iraqi government and US forces have put pressure on us because they’re afraid of what we have been showing the world.”

This fails to explain the myriad of negative reports submitted from Iraq hourly.

As I stated in today’s post explaining the suicide bombing and its consequences, “The media’s reaction to viewing al Qaeda’s purposeful attack on their own is unlikely to match their fury over the accidental deaths of journalists during Operation Iraqi Freedom by U.S. forces at the very same hotel.” Reuters never fails to disappoint.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • exhelodrvr says:

    Boy, think what the reporting would be like if the US and Iraqi militaries weren’t intimidating the journalists so much. They would really be negative!!

  • Marlin says:

    Here’s hoping that President Bush’s nominee for the Pentagon’s chief public affairs official will be as successful as he hopes to be in generating positive Iraq stories.
    Pentagon nominee aims for more positive Iraq stories

  • blert says:

    As the streets in Baghdad calm down we can expect the MSM to leave their fortress. Ironically, though the attack was designed to keep the MSM inside these hotels it must flush them out.
    Zark has achieved an own goal. Thanks, buddy.
    As I posted elsewhere, I believe that the attack went down almost perfectly. There was never any intention to level these hotels.
    The cement truck was a super scale M-80 ‘firecracker’ designed to intimidate the MSM.
    They had been stirring from their holes ever since the vote. Zark man had to stop that.
    One must keep house pets where they belong.

  • Mike E says:

    Man, you called that one Bill!

  • blert says:

    What news is coming out strongly implicates the AP ‘stringer’ as the head of a terror cell. Most likely he was the trigger man. All he would need: the cell phone trigger number. Cell records ought to be swept as soon as possible to assertain the parties to that fateful ‘conversation.’
    This photo-shoot was about as structured as the “Truman Show”, and just as real.

  • vuc says:

    -a lie that leads to war
    -blaming the media
    -enemy body counts
    -scare tactics that the enemy will spread if not defeated in the current country
    Only thing that’s different is that there aren’t any rice paddies.

  • GK says:

    Well, if liberals understood numbers, they would not be liberals.
    Vietnam : 55,000 US deaths, no elections.
    Iraq : 1500 US Hostile deaths, and we are on the brink of an election.
    Iraq is a stunning success. People with common sense (as opposed to liberals) know this.

  • vuc says:

    There were elections in Vietnam. Go read a history book.

  • Lorenzo says:

    And a Nation alert to the horror of terror minded thugs! We’ll eat their rice and free them to be our lasting friends. I think they are worthy!

  • serurier says:

    Seems like vuc is terrorist’s good friend and support MSM .

  • mike E says:

    Except 1: there are no enemy body counts, 2: the media was not blamed in Vietnam (back in the gulible 60’s people believed CBS, ABC and NBC) and 3: if we had not blocked the spread of communism in SE asia the cold war would have been much harder to win.

  • vuc says:

    It’s not the media’s fault! First, all of you go after the “left-wing” media like CNN, CBS, Reuters, etc. and now even the Wall Street Journal, Daily Telegraph and other conservative media are targets too. The media is merely the messenger that is telling us what is happening. Pick one media source that you think is telling the truth and we’ll go by that one. All of them (right-wing and left-wing) are saying the EXACT same things.

  • vuc says:

    mike e:
    We didn’t block anything in SE Asia. We just lost a lot of lives trying.

  • vuc says:

    Back then we were trying to save the Vietnamese from the communists. We eventually realized that the Vietnamese WERE the communists.
    Today we are trying to save the Iraqis from the terrorists. We havn’t realized yet that the Iraqis ARE the terrorists.

  • GK says:

    What is funny is that Vuc knows so little about history that he doesn’t even know that every major war in the past has had a lot more than 2000 casualties.
    Vuc also conveniently avoids the fact that 3000 died on 9/11.
    It is people like Vuc that make me thankful that Bush is President…

  • cjr says:

    There are a lot of site I can go to to argue about how bias the MSM is, if the war was a good idea or not, or get into an idealogical discussion who to blame for what. There are VERY FEW sites that trys to analyze what is really happening based on real data and an understanding of strategy.
    This site is a good example of the latter. I would be really disappointed if it degenerate into the former.
    Just my opinion.

  • vuc says:

    How do you evaluate the war and based on what criteria?

  • Tom W. says:

    The war which OIF IV most closely resembles is the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962), not the Vietnam War.
    Comparing Algeria to Iraq, we see that the Coalition has not repeated the same mistakes as the French. The Coaltion kept the numbers of troops low, did not insititute a policy of massive reprisals, and supported a free and open political process. As a result, the Coaltion casualty rate is a third of what the French suffered, and the civilian casualty rate is somewhere between 10 and .3 percent, depending on the source you use. Most importantly, the vast majority of the Iraqi population does not sympathize with the “insurgency.”
    OIF is a huge success by any measure, but when you look at what it could’ve been–i.e. the killing fields of Algeria–it becomes almost miraculous.

  • vuc says:

    Tom W:
    45% support the insurgency according to a recent poll done by the British government. Our only friends are the Kurds. Half of Shiites (supposedly our friends) support the insurgency.

  • Justin Capone says:

    The insurgency is based on the premise of returing Iraq to Sunni minority rule, be it ruled by another Baathist general like the Iraqi Sunnis would like or a jahadist like Zarqawi as the foreign fighters would like.
    Only a fool would say that 45% of Iraq supports the insurgency. Sadrists and deeply religious Shia that are a decient chunk of the Shia community also strongly want us out of Iraq. But, they haven’t been responsble for one dead US soldier in well over a year for a number of reasons including because they hate the Sunni insurgents far more then they hate us.

  • huckleberry says:

    Lost in the “vuc” shuffle…
    “Pentagon nominee aims for more positive Iraq stories” See #2 above.
    This sounds like exactly the kind of guy for the position of Pentagon chief public affairs officer!

  • vuc says:

    I didn’t think that 45% supported it either but that’s what the poll says and the British government acknowledges the fact that they conducted it. I thought it was just a Sunni thing before but I think the poll has some basis in reality. There has been an increase in attacks in the South also. British soldiers are being killed in Basra at the rate of about 1-2 per week. I think the South could go either way. It could be big trouble if Iran starts causing trouble or it could stay relatively quiet like it is today.

  • Jamison1 says:

    The poll said that Bashra was more pro-coalition than the north. I suggest you read the reports on the poll again.
    I wish him well, but he has a heck of a job ahead of him.

  • vuc says:

    It says only 25% of residents of Basra support the insurgency but 65% of the Shiite province of Maysan do and 45% of the country as a whole does.

  • Caerdroia says:

    Wrong Word

    Bill Roggio used the wrong word: The attack on the Palestinian Hotel has created a media backlash against violence directed against journalists, but not against al Qaeda in particular. Media giant Reuters weighs in on yesterday’s multiple suicide assau…

  • mike E says:

    We were there for 10 years and the South stood. Two years after we left it fell because the democrats in congress would not even fund our allies. Fortunatly by that time most south east asian nations had become stable capitalisms and the spread of communism went no further.

  • mike E says:

    The millions of south vietnamese brutally repressed by the northern invaders were not communists and the 78 % of Iraqis who voted in democratic elections a week ago are not terrorists

  • Tom W. says:

    You expect me to believe that 45% of Iraqis support an “insurgency” that has slaughtered their children without mercy, killed their children’s teachers, sabotaged their electricity and oil networks, and promised to put them under either Ba’athist rule or Sharia law?
    C’mon. This is just more condescension toward Arabs. We’re supposed to believe that when given the choice between peace and freedom versus enslavement and terror, they’ll choose the latter because they’re savages.
    I don’t buy it.

  • serurier says:

    The media is merely the messenger that is telling us what is happening.
    Yes there happening a lot of **** and there happening good event , but MSM report about ****

  • Jamison1 says:

    78% actually voted for the constitution. That is all I need to know.

  • mike E says:

    A break down of the Iraq vote
    by province can be found here //

  • Justin Capone says:

    The International Institute for Strategic Studies says that it will take the US five more years in Iraq to build up enough security forces.
    He said that US troop withdrawals next year were likely only to be incremental and that it would take “five years at least” for Iraq to generate the 300,000-strong army it needed to fight the insurgency on its own.
    I am willing to bet we have advisors in with Iraqi units for the next several years, but I think they are totally wrong that we will need a large percentage of our army to stay in the fight.

  • Justin Capone says:

    We need to wipe out Iran’s military with airstrikes badly.
    According to a former Iraqi army officer who lives in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi and is now a member of al Qaeda in Iraq, the group headed by Abu Musab Zarqawi, insurgents have advanced beyond the crude bombs they once used, such as dynamite or gunpowder mixed with nails and buried beside a road. Now, he said in an interview, militants have access to TNT from Iran that he said was about seven times stronger than the TNT available in Iraq.

  • Jamison1 says:

    According to a former Iraqi army officer who lives in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi

    This wouldn’t be the same Col. that the MSM kept quoting prior to the elections would it?

  • Justin Capone says:

    There are a limited number of reporters out there so they don’t have enough to embed themselves with the Iraqi Army. There are just enough as it is for them to stay embeded with al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunna, and the Islamic Army of Iraq.

  • John says:

    “The International Institute for Strategic Studies says that it will take the US five more years in Iraq to build up enough security forces.” This is so much B.S. from some no nothing think tank. How was it possible for the U.S. to train so many soldiers from zero in 1941 to a proficient enough status to defeat the best that the Germans and the Japanese-and they were the best-could throw at us in 4 years. The iraqis are fighting a war for survival which tends to focus the mind and there is no better training than real time conflict. I think they’ll be ready by the end of next year to take the lead in most operations with the U.S. forces acting as the “Hammer” of last resort.

  • Don Cox says:

    “45% support the insurgency according to a recent poll done by the British government.”
    It was not done by the British Government, it was done _for_ the British by a group of Iraqi academics. Nothing has been published about the methods used and the original report and data are not available – only a leak to a newspaper.
    At the least, I would like to se the monthly data over 2004-5, not just one month which is said to be unusually bad.

  • cali_sun says:

    There is no question that Reuters, as well as AP are supporting anything which is against the Troops. As I read a report yesterday, the terrorists called the Ap before bombing the Hotel in Baghdad to achieve maximum expsoure regarding the bast, and they succeeded.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    The international strategic institute is ignoring a basic fact. 270,000 Iraqi security forces represent 1% of the Iraqi population. Figure in for every Iraqi policeman and soldier, the “close” family is 10 times that. That makes 10% of the Iraqi population who have a direct vested interest in the insurgency ending. That is a lot of eyes.
    Security force recruiting in AlAnbar and Salahadin was pretty close to zero prior to March or April of this year, and from all reports, hasn’t exactly been stellar since.

  • Kenenth says:

    I’m surprised you missed the most obvious comparison to the Viet Nam War: the comfort & encouragement given to the enemy by the unbalanced so-called anti-war opposition at home.
    And for the n’th time, politicians of both parties, including Gore, Kerry & Clinton cited Saddam’s WMD programs, his support for terrorism, & his many other crimes & atrocities as good readson to end his regime.
    The lies are coming from the left when they deny this fact.

  • Kenneth says:

    No discussion of the media’s role in the Iraq war is complete without mentioning the incident a few months back when US soldiers killed a cameraman stringer for CBS was killed in Mosul.
    CBS was outraged and condemned the US army. But when the army showed the CBS executives the video tape they had of the incident, clearly showing how this stringer arrived at the ambush with the terrorists, and the evidence that he had produced propaganda videos for the terrorists, CBS had to appologize for using known terrorists as stringers.

  • Pedestrian says:

    Tell Reuters that their bias could harm the Reuters staff that was detained by the US Armed Force weeks ago. Oh, and let the Reuters staff get kicked out of the Palestine Hotels. Terrorists will be happy to protect their Reuters brothers.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Reuters was well disliked by allied governments in WWII. Reuters prides itself on “non-judgemental” journalism.
    If you actually read their history, they are quite proud that they presented a non-judgemental view during WWII.
    An impartial observer does not assign moral equivalence to a wife beater and a nagging wife.
    A non-judgemental observer treats a wife beater and a nagging wife equivalently.
    Most people would like to media to be impartial.
    Reuters isn’t impartial, an impartial observer makes judgements.
    The AlQueda cause of the global caliphate would necessarily involve either enslaving or exterminating 5/6ths of the worlds population.

  • GJ says:

    Here’s an example of the MSM with their head up their a**. The Iraqi people thanking the President and the media acting infantile. Check the video.

  • Stormwarning says:

    GK/Vuc (and perhaps others)
    One commonality remains. That is the miscalculation of the tribal (and ethnic, religious) influence on the outcome. IMO, its an issue in Afghanistan, its an issue in Iraq and it was an issue in Vietnam.
    The Iraq election with 78% voting was impressive. But the “dust doesn’t settle” until the permanent Assembly is seated, and the Coalition (the U.S.) leaves the country.
    Please don’t misunderstand me. I am rooting for success. But I don’t believe that an objective view of Iraq can ignore the differences (and antagonisms) between Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds…nor can you ignore the impact on stability of outside influences.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram