Why Didn’t We Hear About This Then?

I’ve been puzzled by the lack of attention paid by the major media to the abduction of the British sailors and Marines by Iranian forces earlier in the week. One assumes that it’s because the captured soldiers are British rather than American.

But why didn’t we hear about this skirmish between U.S. and Iranian forces back in September?

As the British government demanded the immediate release of 15 of its sailors whose boats were seized by Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday, U.S. News has learned that this is not the first showdown that coalition forces have had with the Iranian military.

According to a U.S. Army report out of Iraq obtained by U.S. News, American troops, acting as advisers for Iraqi border guards, were recently surrounded and attacked by a larger unit of Iranian soldiers, well within the border of Iraq.

The report highlights the details: A platoon of Iranian soldiers on the Iraqi side of the border fired rocket-propelled grenades and used small arms against a joint patrol of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers east of Balad Ruz. Four Iraqi Army soldiers, one interpreter, and one Iraqi border policeman remain unaccounted for after the September incident in eastern Diyala, 75 miles east of Baghdad.

During a joint border patrol, both American and Iraqi soldiers saw two Iranian soldiers run from Iraq back across the Iranian border as they approached. The patrol then came upon a single Iranian soldier, on the Iraqi side of the border, who did not flee.

While the joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol was speaking with the soldier, according to the report, the patrol was “approached by a platoon-size element of Iranian soldiers.” An Iranian border captain then told the U.S. and Iraqi soldiers that “if they tried to leave their location, the Iranians would fire upon them.” During this conversation with the Iranian captain, Iranian forces began firing and continued when U.S. troops tried to withdraw.

For all the tough talk against Iran, why was this incident — “well within the border of Iraq” — virtually ignored by the press? Considering that the “U.S. Army report” was a press release issued by the 101st Airborne, the confrontation wasn’t exactly a secret.

As always, what the media chooses to report and why is as important to grasping the big picture as the events being reported.

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