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Another Grim Milestone

Let's hold a press conference!  Ibrahim Al-Shammari, spokesman for the Islamic Army of Iraq, did just that with Al Jazeera.

"Dr. Al-Shammari, what does it mean to you that 4,000 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq?" a moderator on Al Jazeera asked Al- Shammari during a March 24 broadcast translated by the BBC.

"This figure means a lot to us because it is the first time the number of U.S. deaths amounts to 4,000. This means a lot to the American people," said Al-Shammari. "The figure we have is 4,000 plus 40,000, and not 4,000 as they claim. This shows the deep trouble the U.S. Administration engaged-"

At this point, according to the BBC translation, the moderator interrupted Al-Shammari. "Excuse me, the figure you have is 44,000?" the moderator asked.

"The Americans do not count those who have Green Cards," explained Al-Shammari....

"Do you have an accurate calculation and a clear follow-up on this issue that allows you to announce the figure 44,000?" asked the moderator.

Al Jazeera:  setting the record straight!

As odd as it may seem, Al Jazeera's English language broadcasts are some of the best stuff coming out of Iraq.  I used to watch their stuff while over there, and while it wasn't accurate, it was consistently better than what CNN or FOX could put together.  Partially it's because they have better contacts, but it's not only that.  They're willing to engage our enemy and hear their side of the story -- but they're not willing to accept it without critical analysis.  They're therefore providing two useful services:  giving us some OSINT insight into our enemies' minds, and calling their statements into question.

If you're attempting the very difficult task of understanding the war from over here, Al Jazeera English can be a useful tool.  That's not what we'd have expected earlier in the war, when their reporters sometimes referred to US warplanes over Afghanistan as "enemy" planes...  but expected or not, I think it's proving to be so.