New York

Falluja, Information Hole


It looks like most of the journalists covering the invasion (which has started) are embedded with U.S. forces, despite an offer by some rebels inside the city to travel with them. Few journalists are likely to take up the offer by the insurgents, who will be on the receiving end of an awful lot of firepower . A few newspapers and television outlets seem to have Iraqi or Arab stringers working inside the city.

The marines grabbed the hospital first, believing it the source of propaganda that dogged the last attempt to pacify the city, in April. Casualty figures, logically, often come from hospitals. It’s not yet clear how grabbing a medical facility solves this problem.

But look for the reporters — especially the ones with cameras — who have remained inside Falluja to restore a measure of balance. Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer, seemed to shoulder the load alone today, with pictures of the dead inside Falluja, destroyed buildings, and insurgent fighters.

It’s likely that many of those embedded with the U.S. this time around are watching the invasion with a more critical eye, especially as Donald Rumsfeld returns to his favored spot in front of the podium, narrating events to the American public. His press conference today did little to answer the most basic question about the invasion of Falluja — just who exactly is the U.S fighting?

The briefing did seem to suggest that there are still many, many civilians left in Falluja.


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