From the Americans, a claim that 1,000 Iraqi troops were “destroyed” with one US tank commander dead and one vehicle damaged. From Sky News, claims from on-the-spot journalists that 12 vehicles had been destroyed in “fierce fighting”. From the Iraqis, 300 US troops killed as their column was repelled.
The US column that claimed to be “within one mile of central Baghdad” is no longer there. The pictures of “Iraqi citizens welcoming US troops” were reduced to a few children waving back at soldiers as their parents looked on is sullen hatred.
While it is impossible to ascertain the truth in the middle of the deception and denial from both sides, it would appear that the claims by the US armed forces that a thousand Iraqi troops had been killed in close fighting, while they lost only one, are optimistic in the extreme, especially when we weigh up the factor that the Americans claim that only one vehicle was damaged when in fact the number according to Sky (which is as gung-ho a TV station as they come) was twelve times greater.
One US tank commander, interviewed by western journalists, described the incursion as “three hours of organised chaos”. In three hours of organised chaos, when a small column of perhaps 30 vehicles were met by thousands of Iraqi troops, on their own territory, it would seem more probable that the incursion was sent back with heavy casualties.
This would explain why the US Command Centre has decided not to make any further incursions until “softening-up” operations by the air force have been performed. How many more civilians will be murdered by these pilots is anyone’s guess.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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