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Fox - 3 Different Guests - 3 Different Stories On Operation Swarmer

Reported by Donna - March 16, 2006

Shepard Smith on Studio B spoke with 3 different people regarding Operation Swarmer in Samarra, Iraq today and I was totally confused after they aired the segments. There were no casualties? There were many casulaties? There were some casualties? This is the information we received from the 3 different guests.

First up was a report by Bret Baier, who covers the Pentagon, who said that there were about 1500 combined U.S. and Iraqi forces and they had 40 detainees, who may or may not be released later and that there were no casualties.

Later on in the progam Smith spoke with Fox Military expert, Major General Don Edwards (retired, U.S. Army) who spoke boastfully about 2,800 to 3,000 U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces being unleashed on Samarra. He spoke of the many casualties. He said what a great day it was and the beauty of it was that the Iraqi forces were taking control, not total control, but somewhat control.

Thirdly, Smith spoke with Dr. Michael Hanlon, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution who said he wasn't as optimistic as the General. O'Hanlon said there were 1500 combined forces and they must have been acting on some kind of intelligence. (Comment: Yeah, some kind) He added that he didn't think they got enough casualties. He spoke about a speech that General Pace had given 10 days ago that was widely publicized where he said that things in Iraq were going very, very, well. However, O'Hanlon added that about a week later General Pace had a speech that got little publicity where he said things weren't going well at all.

O'Hanlon added that Rumsfeld went too far when he said that the Iraqi's were ready to go it alone. O'Hanlon thought that we would have to keep U.S. forces with the Iraqi forces. He said there's a big question out there regarding the Iraqi forces and that pertained to their political and religious adhesiveness. We don't know where the Iraqi Security Forces loyalty lies. He added that this would have to be a case of U.S. and Iraqi forces working together for several years to come.

Comment: Well, was it 1500, 2800 or 3000 troops who participated? Were there no casualties as reported from the Pentagon or a few as reported by O'Hanlon or many as reported by Major General Don Edwards? Did things go great like the Major General said or not so great as Hanlon said? Confused by the coverage? Yes, me to.

I find it odd that the Pentagon would report that no casualties were sustained. The biggest air attack since the beginning of the war and no one died? Why would the Major General say there were many casualties and O'Hanlon say there were few?

Somehow, the final line of what O'Hanlon said stuck with me, 'this would have to be a case of U.S. and Iraqi forces working together for several years to come.' Do you think the American public has the patience for several more years in Iraq? War fatigue has set in deep with the American public, I can't see it getting any better if our commitment is going to stretch to 'several more years.'

And for your added information, CNN is reporting that no reporters or camera crews were allowed to come along for this operation.

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