Considering the utterly conflicting reports about a single strike, not a battle or a war, it becomes evident that a truthful narrative about war is elusive and indistinguishable from propaganda. This fact was underscored in the wildly divergent reports about a single attack on ISIL’s fighters fleeing the recently liberated city of Fallujah. In the end, the only fact about which we can be certain is this: “Airstrikes destroyed ISIL’s vehicles and killed fighters in a convoy leaving Fallujah.” Nothing else reported by even the most reputable news outlets can be ascertained. The event seems to be the same, since the video released by both sides appear to be the same (see below); yet, the details are radically different.
We cannot be sure if U.S. coalition or Iraqi armed forces carried out the attack.
We cannot be sure if the U.S. refused to carry out the attack as requested by the Iraqi armed forces.
We cannot be sure if the U.S. offered ISIL safe passage out of Fallujah.
We cannot be sure if Iraqi forces offered ISIL fighters safe passage out of Fallujah.
We cannot be sure if the Popular Mobilization Forces offered ISIL safe passage out of Fallujah.
We cannot be sure if ISIL convoy consisted of 40 or 700 vehicles.
We cannot be certain if 175 or 250 ISIL fighters were killed.
We cannot be certain if the convoy consisted of only fighters or fighters and their family members.
Yet, all those claims were made and reported in different news outlet. Western media gave credit to the U.S. coalition while Iraqi media gave credit to Iraqi forces. The sample below speaks to the state of journalism and media in times of conflict.
|CNN, U.S. media|
|Ajel; Iraqi media|
|Alarabiyya; Saudi Media|
|Nile24; Egyptian media|
|Nahrain; Iraqi media|
|RussiaToday, Russian media|
|ShafaqNews; Iranian media|
|ShafaqNews Iranian media|
|SkyIraq, Iarqi media|