Al-Qaida has claimed credit for a large, sophisticated attack Monday on the two hotels in Baghdad where most foreign journalists and many defense contractors stay.
Mouwafak al Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, said the purpose of the attack was to take over the hotel and seize journalists as hostages.
If so, many American soldiers might have regarded this as an incidence of "red on red" violence.
The view of many that the news media are the insurgents' allies was reinforced by a Reuters story Tuesday that equated the suicide attack to the incident in April 2003, when a U.S. tank fired on the Palestine Hotel, killing two journalists. (The hotel had not yet been taken by U.S. forces, who were fighting Saddam's men in the streets. The journalists were on a balcony. One was pointing a camera at the tank. At a distance, a television camera looks a great deal like a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.)
"Major E," an Army officer stationed in Baghdad, described the assault as a public relations success, but a military failure, in an e-mail to the Web log Power Line.
"Things are much better in Iraq than the media would like you to believe," Major E said.