March 30, 2007 /

Is John McCain The WAPO's Editor?

This is very interesting. Last night Joe on AmericaBLOG posted this from a Washington Post article: Five suicide bombers struck Shiite marketplaces in northeast Baghdad and a town north of the capital at nightfall Thursday, killing at least 122 people and wounding more than 150 in one of Iraq’s deadliest days in years. The savage […]

This is very interesting. Last night Joe on AmericaBLOG posted this from a Washington Post article:

Five suicide bombers struck Shiite marketplaces in northeast Baghdad and a town north of the capital at nightfall Thursday, killing at least 122 people and wounding more than 150 in one of Iraq’s deadliest days in years.

The savage attacks came as a new American ambassador began his first day on the job, and Senate Democrats ignored a veto threat and approved a bill to require President Bush to start withdrawing troops.

At least 178 people were killed or found dead Thursday, which marked the end of the seventh week of the latest U.S.-Iraqi military drive to curtail violence in Baghdad and surrounding regions.

I went to the article linked by Joe and read the entire thing, which started with those three paragraphs. Now today when you go to the link, the first three paragraphs are as follows:

Bombs tore through crowds of after-work shoppers in Baghdad and a town north of the capital on Thursday in an onslaught of violence that killed more than 100 people, according to Iraqi government and hospital officials.

Both areas — a bazaar in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Shaab and the farming town of Khalis in Diyala province — are populated predominantly by Shiites, and Iraqi government officials quickly blamed the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. The attacks followed two violent days of bombings and reprisal killings in the northern city of Tall Afar and threatened to increase the likelihood of a resurgence of open sectarian warfare despite the heightened U.S. military presence in Iraq.

The bombing in Shaab, which police said killed at least 60 people, took aim at the six-week-old Baghdad security plan, under which U.S. and Iraqi officials have sought to protect public marketplaces from such catastrophic attacks.

I find the new wording in the first paragraph the most curious. Last night it was one of “Iraq’s deadliest days in years”. Today it doesn’t mention that. Last night it was “killing at least 122 people” and today it is “killed more than 100”. The first article also goes on to say “at least 178 people were killed or found dead” yesterday.

So let’s take a look at the actual numbers the article reports. First from the Shaab bombing, which start off saying 60 people were killed, but then that number raises to 75:

The death toll in the bombing rose quickly and by late evening Iraqi television reports said at least 75 people had died in the attack.

So we got 75 and to that we can add another 50:

Earlier in the day, at least three car bombs exploded in the town of Khalis, set amid orange and pomegranate farms north of Baqubah. Timed to explode within quick succession, the bombs struck near a mosque, near a courthouse and amid a marketplace, according to police. The car bombs killed about 50 people and wounded 90 others, many in critical condition, said physician Adnan Khadum, director of the Khalis hospital.

That brings us to 125, and by the end of the story we can add another 20:

More violence in Iraq killed at least 20 others Thursday, and 13 dead bodies were found scattered around Baghdad in the past day, Interior Ministry officials said.

So we got 145 deaths mentioned in this article. So why did the WAPO change the opening paragraph from “at least 122 people” to “more than 100”? The first description sounds more accurate. The actual article has a feeling of downplaying the very deadly day. Here is the Reuter’s Factbox from yesterday:

* KHALIS – At least three suicide car bombers launched almost simultaneous attacks in a mainly Shi’ite town, killing 53 people and wounding 103, police said. The blasts took place in Khalis, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

* BAGHDAD – A suicide bomber killed at least 62 people and wounded 27 in a market in the Shaab district of northern Baghdad, police sources said. Most of the victims were women and children who had been out shopping in the crowded market in the Shi’ite district, a health ministry official said.

* BAGHDAD – The bodies of 25 people were found in Baghdad, a police source said.

* BAGHDAD – Gunmen opened fire on a crowd in Shabab district in southern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding three, a police source said.

* MAHMUDIYA – Gunmen killed an eye doctor as he was leaving work in Mahmudiya, a police source said.

* BAGHDAD – A car bomb killed three people and wounded 16 in Jamiaa in western Baghdad, a police source said, adding that the bomb targeted an army patrol.

BAGHDAD – A car bomb killed four policemen and one civilian and wounded nine more police in Jihad in southwest Baghdad, the U.S. military said. Police were checking a suspicious vehicle when it exploded.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb in Bayaa district in southern Baghdad killed three people and wounded 20 others, police said.

MAHMUDIYA – A car bomb killed four people and wounded 20 in a parking lot in Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. A local official in the town said eight people were killed and 12 wounded.

MAHMUDIYA – Two mortar bombs landed in a residential district of Mahmudiya, killing two people and wounding seven, police said.

BAGHDAD – Two policemen were killed and six wounded when they approached a car bomb in Amil district in southwestern Baghdad, police said. There was a body in the car.

MOSUL – Gunmen killed Nawaf al-Hadidi, imam of a mosque in Mosul, in a drive-by shooting on Wednesday, police said.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen attacked the motorcade of the head of traffic police, Jaafar al-Khafaji, in northern Baghdad, killing two traffic policemen and wounding two others, police said.

BAGHDAD – Thirteen bodies were found shot in different districts of Baghdad on Wednesday, police said.

BAGHDAD – A car bomb targeting an Iraqi army checkpoint killed a soldier and wounded three others on Wednesday near al-Shurta tunnel in western Baghdad, police said.

DIWANIYA – Gunmen killed a policeman near his house in the southern city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

DIWANIYA – The body of a young man was found shot in Diwaniya, police said. He was kidnapped on Wednesday. Gunmen also kidnapped a woman engineer as she left her office in Diwaniya on Wednesday.

Now we got a total of 181 deaths listed in the Reuter’s article. This is even closer to that sentence in the first revision of the WAPO article, which read; “at least 178 people were killed or found dead”.

Going through this, it appears that the WAPO really cleaned up the wording in their article to make the violence appear better than it was. None the less, yesterday was a very deadly day in Iraq, but there is more.

If you look at the list above, you will quickly see that the violence is spreading out beyond Baghdad. This is something that opponents of the surge said would happen. It is like every other “security plan” we have used; we put a huge force in Baghdad so all the troublemakers spread out to other areas. This was once aptly named “a game of whack-a-mole“, and we have a perfect example of it here. That name still fits today, but the person who coined the administration’s strategy as such doesn’t. That person was John McCain, the same person who said two days ago that there is “much progress” in Iraq and that even the military’s top brass can walk around without protection because it is so secure.

So we got McCain totally altering his view of the surge in Iraq and the WAPO changing an article drastically to make the violence yesterday sound not as bad. This leaves the final question, and the title of this post – “Is John McCain the WAPO’s editor?”

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