Perhaps some edits and rewriting.
" Insurgents staged a classic guerrilla retreat from Tal Afar on Sunday, melting into the countryside through a network of tunnels to escape an Iraqi-U.S. force that reported killing about 150 rebels while storming the militant bastion."
Pray tell, what is a classic guerilla retreat? Do we know from reading what the countryside in this part of Iraq looks like? Could there be thick jungle? Forests of date palms? Entirely flat and featureless desert terrain? Ridges, hills, wadis and lots of rocks? (Iraq, right...?) Escape to where? How was this a classic guerrilla retreat if 150 are dead? Maybe this was the brave rear guard holding off the attackers, eh? Were they surprised and cut off from retreat? Stand and fight? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, NY Times?
"With the city swept clear of extremists for the second time in a year, Iraqi and U.S. military leaders vowed to redouble efforts to crush insurgents operating all along the Syrian frontier and in the Euphrates River valley."
What is the difference between sweeping and crushing? Brooms and hammers?
''Tal Afar is just one piece of an overarching operation. We are not going to tolerate a safe haven anywhere in Iraq,'' said Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, deputy chief of staff for coalition forces in Iraq.
Ah, that's better. Some details about the overarching operation will surely follow fast.
As Baghdad kept a border crossing into Syria closed about 60 miles west of Tal Afar, Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi issued a warning: ''The Syrians have to stop sending destruction to Iraq. We know the terrorists have no other gateway into Iraq but Syria.''
What does this border crossing look like? Are there paved roads? Buildings? Huts? Regular guards? Any resemblance to the crossings at Nuevo Laredo or parts of North Dakota? We could decide for ourselves how easily or with what difficulty these borders can be controlled if we had the information.
The United States and Iraq routinely charge that Syria's government does little to stop the flow of Arab fighters across the border. Syrian leaders contend they are doing all they can.
Routinely charge...that word kind of winks at one, doesn't it? Routinely...what about persistantly? Vigorously? Continually? Syrian leaders...which ones Who are they? What are they doing? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, NY Times?
While insurgents were retreating from Tal Afar, militants elsewhere killed one U.S. soldier and a British soldier in separate roadside bombings Sunday and assassinated an official in Iraq's Interior Ministry.
A Task Force Liberty soldier was killed and two were wounded during a pre-dawn patrol near Samarra, 60 miles north of the capital. At least 1,897 U.S. personnel have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
In the southern city of Basra, a British soldier was killed and three were wounded in an attack on their convoy, the British Ministry of Defense said in London. Britain has reported at least 96 deaths since the war began.
What is Task Force Liberty? "At least 1,897..." And how many terrorists have been killed since then? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, NY Times? (snip)
Tal Afar had been cleared of militants a year ago, but insurgents moved back after U.S. troop numbers in the area were reduced.
Those pesky militants! How many were cleared? Were they herded out like cats or cattle? What were the troop numbers? Why were they reduced? What kinds of troops? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, NY times?
U.S. warplanes bombed several suspected militant targets in the city last week, and the long-expected assault to again take Tal Afar was launched early Saturday by 5,000 Iraqi soldiers backed by a 3,500-strong American armored force.
By Sunday night, the joint force reported 156 insurgents killed and 246 captured. It said troops found a big bomb factory, 18 weapons caches and the network of escape tunnels beneath Tal Afar's ancient Sarai neighborhood.
After stiff initial resistance Saturday, insurgents fell back and their stronghold was nearly deserted when the joint force moved in.
Why were those who moved back in militants, but those whose houses were bombedy are only suspected militants? Long expected by whom? Now look at the "By Sunday night passage...". If Tal Afar is a town and not just tents next to date palms, the streets will not be four lane boulevards. To kill 156 and bag 246, one has to move in close and friendly like, yes? So what is the "stronghold deserted" talking about? Tell us about this stronghold. Wooden fort with pointy logs running vertically? A scene from the Last Remake of Beau Gest, adobe bricks, turrets and flags? The local...sssh...Mosque? Anyone, anyone, Bueller, NY Times?
As troops continued house-to-house searches in Tal Afar, a group claiming to be an offshoot of al-Qaida in Iraq said it would strike U.S. positions and the Iraqi government in Baghdad with ''chemical and unconventional weapons ... unless the military operations in Tal Afar stop within 24 hours.''
The Mujahedeen of the Victorious Sect posted the threat on an Islamic Web site known as a clearing house for militant messages. The claim could not be authenticated, but it was the second such threat since Friday, when al-Qaida in Iraq said it would use chemical weapons against Baghdad's Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government, parliament and the U.S. Embassy.
The al-Qaida leader in Iraq also purportedly criticized U.S. and Iraqi forces for the fighting in Tal Afar and urged his fighters to prepare for a ''final'' battle in an audiotape posted Sunday on the Internet.
Look at the linkage in the first sentence above. Searches going on simultaneously with web postings. Evidence please. We are not going to take you at your word, after all, You are the NY Times. Does the stronghold have Wifi internet? Is that a terrorist recruiting plus, Wifi?Somehow I do not think the rebels, insurgents, militants, guerrillas, extremeists are reading their emails in the strongholds of Tal Afar. I could be wrong, I try not to make things up. After all, I'm not a journalist. And the chemical weapons"...claim could not be authenticated...". What a relief to finally learn the NY Times does not have reporters on the other side, just sentiments for them. And I just wish they would all stand still long enough for that final battle. We might finally see pictures of the MOAB going off.
The recording attributed to Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi claimed that the insurgents inflicted casualties on the allied troops in the Tal Afar battle.
''The Crusaders mobilized their big armies and used the most destructive and lethal weapons and the most deadly and hurtful poison gas together with their stooges,'' he said. ''But God made them drink at the hands of the mujahedeen the different kinds of death and made them face horrible things that they will never forget.''
The man on the audio recording also urged his fighters to be ready for a ''final'' battle and show no kindness to the Americans, whom he called ''cowards who always seek to run away.''
If Zarqawi is going to make dirty comments about Doctors Howard, Fine and Howard, them's fightin' words!
Then this is just ridiculous of the Times:
U.S. officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but the Americans have consistently denied using poison gas in warfare.
That the Times would think about seeing whether this might be true! And the overtone-could not be reached immediately, so they gave up trying? or...?
The rest of the made-up trickles out into fill, except for this:
The U.S. military, meanwhile, said it killed a key al-Qaida leader, identified only as Abu Zayd, during a raid on a safe house in Mosul, 45 miles east of Tal Afar. Four other al-Qaida militants were captured.
Not rebel, insurgent, militant etc. but al-Qaida. Captured in a raid means good intelligence. Four others suggests a meeting...maybe. Time of day would be useful data, although I would suspect an after dark affair.
I think what's very revealing about this writing of the Made-Up Media, is how little of what is written is actually dispositive. I'll bet Varifrank or Protein Wisdom could rewrite this article into a sports report genre. The holes would be revealed, and appallingly so. Background, context, comparisons, meaningful measures of progress and some cheering for our side-lights on, nobody home. Anyone, anyone, Bueller, NY Times?