It is difficult for reporters in Washington, DC or New York to understand the context under which the troops must make life or death decisions. There have been terrific reporters working in Iraq - embedded and unembedded - who report the facts and provide valuable information to the American public in the Global War on Terror.
Here is a Knight Ridder story that gives the details of a raid last week that resulted in the death of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops. It is impossible to tell whether or not the citizens intended to harm the soldiers involved. The reporter simply transmits what is observed. As it should be.
From the article: "Be careful, Oliver told his men, not to get shot. And be careful, the company commander said, not to shoot any unarmed civilians.
Despite those warnings, last Thursday's mission would serve as a reminder that counterinsurgency is among the most complex forms of warfare, and sometimes the wrong people are killed.
While outrage gathers over the reported killings of 24 civilians by U.S. Marines in the western Iraqi town of Haditha, U.S. military units such as Oliver's Delta Company quietly go about the daily task of patrolling a very complicated battlefield."