Yesterday saw open warfare in Iraq, with US forces reportedly killing 250 Sunni guerillas outside Najaf. Meanwhile, in the Independent, veteran reporter Patrick Cockburn has started attaching disclaimers to statements by US officials:
Statements by Iraqi and American officials are often highly propagandistic and exaggerate the other side's losses. The low casualties of the Iraqi army - three soldiers and five policemen killed - and the Americans can only be explained if the 'Soldiers of Heaven' were caught in the open by US air attack or many of those who died were civilians.
Clearly, Cockburn and his editors at least are sick of being used as a propaganda channel by a US military desperate to spin their excesses into signs of "victory". And until there's far more openness from the US about what is going on, such disclaimers seem perfectly justified.