NYT Downplays Al Qaeda Use of Mentally Impaired Suicide Bombers

Yesterday, NewsBusters' Kyle Drennan noted how CBS used the news of two coordinated and related suicide bombings in Baghdad to declare that "the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad," and as a platform for a far-left guest to declare that "the surge isn't working."

Drennan's first commenter noted the mentally impaired state of the women who blew themselves up -- something CBS "somehow" failed to report.

CBS was not alone in ignoring or downplaying that important aspect of the story, as blogger Confederate Yankee reports (links are in his original; bold is mine):

Two suicide attacks on pet markets in Baghdad today have left approximately 100 killed and twice as many wounded. Both attacks used women "with Down's syndrome" according the the Daily Mail and less specifically, they were described as "mentally disabled" according to CNN.

Both bombs appear to have been remote detonated. These women probably did not know they were carrying explosives at all, and it would probably be fair to include them among the victims.

The ever-objective, ever-unbiased New York Times saw fit to exclude the horrific detail of their alleged mental disabilities from their reporting of the day's massacre. It might upset their readers, and cause some confusion over who the real enemy in Iraq is (George Bush).

Confederate Yankee updated his post to note that the Times later appended coverage of the mental status of the women. The Times's tone is clearly designed to cause readers to be skeptical (bolds are mine):

Iraq’s chief military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, told The Associated Press that the bombers were mentally impaired.

Other officials made similar claims. Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem al-Ezzi, a senior officer in the Ministry of Interior police commandos, said officials at the Ghazil market concluded after studying the bomber’s severed head that she had Down syndrome. But Iraqi officials have made similar claims in the past, and it was not immediately clear whether the bomber’s head could have been distorted by the blast.

..... One witness, Mohammed Qasem, 35, a vendor at Ghazil, said he saw the woman minutes before the explosion, apparently behaving normally.

A shorter story at the International Herald-Tribune, a Times sister publication, makes no mention of the suicide bombers' mental conditions.

Confederate Yankee also cites other possible implications of the attacks:

First, it tells us that al Qaeda in Iraq recognizes that attempts to use male suicide bombers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), their preferred method of suicide attacks for those seeking martyrdom, are no longer effective. ..... There is also some speculation that the influx of would-be foreign suicide bombers into Iraq is drying up.

Today's attacks also tell us that al Qaeda in Iraq is getting very desperate in seeking the high-casualty attacks that they so value. They were forced to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel, and use not only women (which they'd prefer to subjugate), but mentally disabled women at that, suggesting that finding willing volunteers is becoming ever more difficult.

Don't expect to find any alleged "expert" analysts at the Times raising Confederate Yankee's excellent points any time soon.

In totally related news, the New York Times Company (symbol NYT) reported Thursday that, though it turned a profit in its fourth quarter, December revenues declined a heart-stopping 22.4%.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.