May 05, 2008

Once More Unto the Breach: More Biased AP Reporting in Iraq

It seems to matter little whether the location is Gaza or Baghdad. If there is a way to spin a story, Associated Press reporters will find it.

Today, American forces called in an AC-130 for support when they came under fire in the Kazimiyah district of Baghdad.

The Associated Press editorializes:

The AC-130, a lethal tool used by the military since the Vietnam War, can slowly circle over a target for long periods.

Human rights groups have criticized their use in urban settings where militants may be among crowded populations of noncombatants. The four-engine gunships were also used to support the U.S. attack that took the western city of Fallujah from insurgents in November 2004.

What the Associated Press does not mention is that the modern AC-130U is the most complex aircraft weapons system on the planet, and the reason for its complexity is that the aircraft's sensors, navigation, and fire control systems are calibrated to conduct exceedingly accurate surgical strikes. It is likely because of their precision strike capabilities that the AC-130U was chosen for this mission over other available means of attack.

The Associated Press reporter attempts to recall the image of the 40-year-old Vietnam-era AC-130A and it's ability to saturate large area targets, portraying it as an indiscriminate and careless weapons system to use in an urban area... and so it is good we haven't fielded that particular model in decades.

It's a dishonest conflation of aircraft using technologies developed decades apart, but sadly emblematic of the kind of reporting we've come to expect where creating imagery is as important as reporting facts.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 5, 2008 12:11 PM

Gee, imagine that, an AP reporter being clueless and irresponsible, if not dishonest. Who would have thunk it?

Posted by: David at May 5, 2008 12:27 PM

The editorializing comments were probably inserted by some crusty old baby boomer liberal editor at the foreign desk, desperately trying to make Iraq another Vietnam.

Posted by: RaiderDan at May 5, 2008 02:34 PM

I know I shouldn't even bother to bring it up again, but why aren't the human rights groups decrying the illegal tactics of the militants of operating among crowded groups of noncombatants?

Posted by: daleyrocks at May 5, 2008 02:38 PM


Because if the guerrilas/militants/terrorists not to hide amongst the supposed civilians, the Israelis would find them and kill them. Which would be a crime against humanity, peace, the right of self-determination, and probably a ethical offense against any plants or animals nearby.

So, really, the Israelis are forcing those intrepid freedom-fighters to hide behind women and children while they attack those imperialistic, capitalistic, fascistic, monotheistic (whoops! how did that get in there?), Europeans who represent the 10th Crusade by the creation of the Jewish state of Israel. Or something like that.

Get it?

Posted by: iconoclast at May 5, 2008 04:46 PM

oops, I meant Americans, not Israelis. Same difference

Posted by: iconoclast at May 5, 2008 04:47 PM

Oh yes, the AC-130... the weapon that Bill Clinton wouldn't let the Rangers take to Somalia with them. If they had, there would have never been 2 MOH winners at Blackhawk Down... at least not posthumous ones.

And that's pretty much direct from LTC Danny McKnight's mouth.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 06:34 PM

The AC130 is a great urban warfare, close air support system. Since they are shooting down at a 20 to 40 angle, there is little gravity drop. The 105s are on a space stabilized platform which makes them highly accurate. Couple these weapons with the sophisticated sensors and computer aiming systems and you get a highly effective method of killing the enemy, protecting your troops and minimizing collateral damage.

Posted by: arch at May 5, 2008 08:01 PM

This kind of reporting makes you long for the days earlier in the war when we used white phosphorus as an antipersonnel weapon. /sarc/

Posted by: daleyrocks at May 5, 2008 11:01 PM

dalyrocks, you just stole my thunder.......I guess I'll just add depleted uranium to your comment.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at May 6, 2008 07:41 AM

The flying pig moment I'm waiting for is when the "human rights groups" criticize insurgents for hiding among noncombatants.

Uh, yeah--I'll be waiting for a while...

Posted by: ewo at May 6, 2008 11:38 AM

'where militants may be among crowded populations of noncombatants...'

Heaven forfend the AP actually note, much less criticize, the use of human shields by said militants.

Posted by: ThomasD at May 6, 2008 11:02 PM