AP Knows Best: No Reporting Iraq Combat Mission Over
September 3, 2010
(ChattahBox U.S. News)— President Obama addressed the nation Tuesday to announce the official end of the combat mission in Iraq, dubbed Iraqi Freedom. With the last remaining combat brigades gone, the remaining troops will serve in an advisory role, called New Dawn. “So tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country,” said Obama. That sounds pretty definitive, right? Except the Associated Press, has decided it’s the final arbiter on all Pentagon and White House directives. AP’s standards editor sent out a memo after the President’s speech, ordering staffers not to report that the Iraqi combat mission has ended. “To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials, wrote editor Tom Kent.
Kent adds that, since the security and living conditions of Iraqis remains unstable, the AP has decided the United States is still conducting a combat mission.
“The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months. Iraqi security forces are still fighting Sunni and al-Qaida insurgents. Many Iraqis remain very concerned for their country’s future despite a dramatic improvement in security, the economy and living conditions in many areas.”
Because sectarian violence and al-Qaeda insurgents still threaten Iraq’s peace, AP in its infinite wisdom, has decided to continue reporting that the official combat mission has not ended, dubbing the end of Iraqi freedom a “suggestion.”
The memo continues:
As for U.S. involvement, it also goes too far to say that the U.S. part in the conflict in Iraq is over. President Obama said Monday night that “the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.”
However, 50,000 American troops remain in country. Our own reporting on the ground confirms that some of these troops, especially some 4,500 special operations forces, continue to be directly engaged in military operations. These troops are accompanying Iraqi soldiers into battle with militant groups and may well fire and be fired on.
The entire memo can be found here.