It’s Always ‘Chaos’ in Basra – UPDATED

Basra British TroopsUpdated to examine progress of varying reports
While we’ve grown accustomed to daily reports of suicide bombings in and around Baghdad, some of the most dramatic anti-coalition action over the past 8 months has come out of Basra. Or at least the pristine video footage has it that way.

I’ve been restraining myself all morning from posting this CNN video report in which “rock-throwing, chanting crowds gather after a British copter crashes in Basra.”

The CNN anchor alludes to a Reuters report that the helicopter was shot down, but the reporter in Baghdad sort of sloughs it off. This account will most certainly change by days end. For now AP files it as follows (note – article at link will automatically be updated throughout the day):

Police Capt. Mushtaq Khazim said the helicopter was apparently shot down in a residential district. He said the four-member crew was killed, but British officials would say only that there were “casualties.”

basra
Agence-France Presse accounts for four dead including two children as a result of the “clashes between an angry mob and British troops at the site of the crash.”

UPDATE 1: I posted it, with additional reference to the 10 U.S. troops killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. News outlets are featuring the stories differently, at least online. While both are top stories, in some instances the U.S. troops are featured. The Basra story is more important however because a) their helicopter may have been *shot* down, and b) according to CNN, Basra is once again under curfew. The Afghanistan incident did not involve enemy fire and also occurred over 24 hours ago. Sabrina Tavernise has filed from Baghdad for NYT.

UPDATE 2: AP has finally updated their wire writethrough. Here is the original, which clearly has a pro-U.S./British bias. The new article, by a different reporter, reads: “A British military helicopter apparently was hit by a missile” in the lede. Reuters, originally reported that the chopper was “apparently shot down,” and have since cut the “apparently” and say it was “brought down.”

Taking a completely different approach originally was AFP, who originally led with details of the clash on the ground and the Iraqi casualties. The French press agency has now flipped the lede to open with “At least two British soldiers died when their helicopter crashed…”

The photos coming off the wires are quite impressive.

While this may not seem at all interesting to anyone who may happen upon this blog, I find it highly interesting and educational. In these hi-tech fully-connected times, war reporting remains a varied, slow developing and highly objective art.

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