Since the publication of “Bless the Beasts and Children,” many questions have arisen: some of which I can and will answer here, and some whose answers lie elsewhere.
Today, late afternoon on 3 July in Baqubah, Colonel Hiduit from 2nd Brigade 5th Iraqi Army was able to provide some additional details about the murders, as the ongoing investigation begins to yield more facts. The name of the village was not on any maps I examined while preparing the dispatch, but Colonel Hiduit said the name is al Hamira. Coordinates to the area of the gravesites are MC 679 381.
In my dispatch, I reported that six people were killed, but mentioned that Iraqi soldiers were still digging out bodies when I left. A few hours ago, Colonel Hiduit put the number at 10-14, and said the search for bodies had ended. I made video of the graves, bodies and of interviews with Iraqi and American soldiers while we still were at the scene and have been working to make material from this available on this website.
As the investigation unfolds more pertinent details, I’ll continue to update the story. But the biggest question rippling across the internet—“Why hasn’t the mainstream media picked this up?”—is something only representatives of mainstream media can answer.
In fairness, several large outlets did publish it online: National Review Online and Fox News were both quick to place the story prominently on their websites. A few others also published excerpts. It was even briefly up on the Drudge Report. On the blog front, Instapundit, Hugh Hewitt, Blackfive, Andrew Sullivan, Captain’s Quarters and many others picked it up.
But for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites.
On this question of media selectivity, the blogosphere has become incensed that big media mostly ignored the murders, especially given that there are reporters currently in Baqubah. Newsbusters and countless others are on it. More disturbing to many bloggers is that major mainstream players were busted (again) by Pajamas Media just days ago for reporting outright fabrications of a “massacre” that never occurred.
Although I can’t answer to the cause of the problem, I humbly offer permission to media outlets to republish excerpts of the dispatch or the dispatch in its entirety, including my photographs from the story (if used as they are in the dispatch) at no cost during the month of July 2007. I only ask that the site receive proper attribution and that any publication taking me up on the offer email the website with the details.
If much of mainstream media does not recognize barbarity, clearly their readers can and do. Readers throughout the world might consider contacting their local papers and favorite websites with the link to this update. The story is very important in that it is well-documented with photos and video, and the Iraqi and American soldiers who were present are named and easily reachable. Those mainstream reporters currently in Baqubah could readily take up the baton.
Michael Yon does not receive funding or financial support from Fox News, movie, book or television deals at this time. He is entirely reader supported. He relies on his readers to help him replace his equipment and cover his expenses so that he may remain in Iraq and bring you the stories of our soldiers. If you value his work, please consider supporting his mission.