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Showdown - Part 4

"It's tit-for-tat, we're not seeing tat." - Marine Lieutenant Colonel Brennan Bryne

Here is an example of two major news organizations, AP and Reuters, telling the same story...or are they?

The AP report below tells of insurgents not complying with the cease fire and attacking the Marines.

The Reuters report (further down in the extended section) indicates some compliance by the insurgents and has the Marines firing indiscriminately at unseen targets

Well, according to AP, as of this morning, NO Iraqis in Fallujah have come forward and turned in their heavy weapons (i.e. machine guns, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank weapons) which is part of the cease fire agreement. Instead, some have chosen to attack the Marines. That's not a smart move.

Insurgents Attack Marines in Fallujah
By LOURDES NAVARRO and JASON KEYSER, Associated Press Writers

FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S Marines backed by tanks and helicopter gunships battled insurgents in northern Fallujah on Wednesday, killing nine, as a day-old attempt to bring peace to the besieged city hit snags.

Explosions were heard coming from the scene of the fighting, and Cobra helicopter gunships were blasting with Gatling guns from the air. Tanks moved into the Julan neighborhood from which Marines said insurgents their positions.

The attack came as U.S. Marine commanders said no guerrillas have come forward so far to turn in their heavy weapons, a key tenet of an agreement reached by negotiators that began being implemented on Tuesday. The Marines, in response, halted a key commitment on their side in the deal, the return of Fallujah residents to the city...

Another reason that they halted the return of the residents is so that they won't be in the way when they retake Fallujah.

Contrast the above AP story with this BIASED piece from Reuters:

U.S. Troops, Iraq Rebels Clash in Falluja
By Fadel Badran

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents traded machinegun fire, mortars and grenades for four hours in Falluja early Wednesday, killing six civilians and breaking a tentative cease-fire, residents said.

They said the clashes erupted in the town's Golan district at around 6 a.m. Marine patrols moved from street to empty street, putting up intense barrages of automatic fire.

The fighting erupted hours after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the truce in the battered city of 300,000 people west of Baghdad would not hold indefinitely.

U.S. snipers, concealed behind rooftop parapets, pumped round after round into buildings, film shot by U.S. journalists with the Marines showed. Missile-firing Black Hawk helicopters blasted unseen targets with machinegun and cannon fire.

An F-16 jet flew overhead and a huge dust cloud rose in the air, possibly the result of a heavy bomb.

Residents said six unarmed civilians were killed and 10 wounded by U.S. fire. There was no independent confirmation of the toll nor of who was responsible for the casualties.

U.S. officials, who say troops do not target civilians, declined comment. ABC television journalists with the 1st Marine Division said troops told them there had been casualties in the four-hour battle but it was unclear how many on either side.

Rumsfeld said days of talks involving Iraqi and Sunni Muslim leaders, Falluja officials and representatives of the U.S. governing authority in the city did not include Iraqi insurgents who have been confronting U.S. troops.

The Marines launched an assault on Falluja, 30 miles west of Baghdad, on April 5 after the killing and mutilation of four private American security guards the previous week.

Local doctors say more than 600 Iraqis have died in fighting in Falluja since and up to 2,000 have been wounded, many of them women and children.
A member of the Muslim Clerics Association, which has been involved in negotiations, told a news conference in Baghdad talks would continue despite the latest violence.

"The breach in the truce will affect the talks, but negotiations will not stop," Muthanna Harith al-Dari said.

U.S. forces agreed not to resume offensive operations if insurgents handed in their heavy weapons, but said their troops were ready to resume attacks on short notice if necessary.

Dari said some had begun to hand in such weapons, but a senior official in the U.S.-led administration told reporters the response to the demand had been "very limited."

This is supposed to be the same cease-fire type story as the AP reported but it's spun very differently. It seems that this reporter is not very supportive of the Marines...and he speculates quite a bit.

    "...Black Hawk helicopters blasted unseen targets..."
    "...a huge dust cloud rose in the air, possibly the result of a heavy bomb."
    "Dari said some had begun to hand in such weapons..."

I wonder what he'll write when the Marines take the fight to the insurgents?

The Marines have complied with the cease fire. The insurgents have not. The Marines are going to go into Fallujah soon - ready for bear. Hopefully, they'll get armor support from the Army. No point in waiting around and giving even MORE time for these guys to be better prepared.

Showdown (Marines in Fallujah) Parts One, Two and Three