ABC Refuses to Show the Troop Barracks Iran Blew Up in Attack

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Just last week, ABC’s World News Tonight ran a report telling viewers all about how the United States military was wrong to the say Iran wanted to kill U.S. troops when it fired missiles that hit two bases in Iraq, and pushed the unfounded conspiracy theory that Iran had intentionally missed. Then, on Monday, the military gave the press access to areas of Al Asad Air Base destroyed by the missiles, which included the living quarters for roughly 39 service members. ABC’s World News Tonight didn’t show any of the damage while they again bemoaned the anti-regime protests in Iran.

NBC Nightly News kicked off their program with an over two-minute-long report highlighting the damage and the threat Iran posed to the troops.

“And tonight, we're getting an up-close look at just how close a call it was for American soldiers in the crosshairs of that attack. Our cameras today with the first look at damage from inside the Iraqi base including what appeared to be a direct hit on sleeping quarters used by American troops,” announced anchor Lester Holt.

After noting the anti-regime protests in Iran, chief foreign correspondent Ricard Engel walked through the bombed-out wreckage “where U.S. troops were living and working.”

This was one of the main housing units for this part of the base, but it's so badly burned and damaged it's hard to tell what it even was,” Engel said as he walked through the charred remains of the building. “You only know people were living here because there is a burned-out bed, somebody's bicycle. Had soldiers still been inside when the missile impacted, it would have been many casualties.”

Engel spoke with two service members who explained that Iran clearly had “lethal intent”:

 

 

CPT. JEFFREY HANSON: I did. I went back to the shelter and knew that, you know, whatever was coming, it was much worse than we thought.

ENGEL: Iran says it did not want to kill U.S. troops.

Do you think this was lethal? Lethal intent.

UNIDENTIFIED SERVICE MEMBER: Yes, yeah. I mean, a lot of people would have died if we hadn't moved.

Over on CBS Evening News, foreign correspondent Holly Williams began her report with a video of a missile impact and by noting “There are around 1,500 U.S. coalition troops on Al Asad Air Base. They had just minutes to take cover.” Walking through the same bombed-out build as Engel, it seemed, she pointed out that, “This is what Iran's ballistic missiles did to metal. Imagine what they could have done to U.S. troops if they hadn't taken cover.

She spoke with one captain who had his personal living quarters turned into a crater:

WILLIAMS: One of the missiles was a direct hit on Chief Warrant Officer Alexander Bender's living quarters.

That was the door, is that right, over there?

CWO ALEXANDER BENDER: Yeah. That was the door. I had a bunk here.

WILLIAMS: This fleece somehow survived, now scarred by shrapnel.

That's a souvenir from the Iranians?

BENDER: Yep, sure is.

Williams wrapped up her report by dismissing the nonsensical claims of a benevolent Iran pushed by outlets like ABC. “There has been speculation that Iran deliberately missed American troops to prevent a further escalation. But a senior coalition military official told us, that's not true. The Iranians, in his words, were shooting to kill.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
January 13, 2020
6:38:57 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: Tonight, for the first time, we're seeing video from a U.S. military vehicle as Iranian missiles rained down last week on a U.S. base in Iraq. Well, luckily, no one was hurt. The missile barrage was in retaliation for the Soleimani killing. Well, today, Holly Williams spoke to some of the soldiers who were there.

[Cuts to video]

HOLLY WILLIAMS: There are around 1,500 U.S. coalition troops on Al Asad Air Base. They had just minutes to take cover.

SGT. DAINE KVASAGER: The shock waves just rolled even through these T-walls.

WILLIAMS: Sergeant Daine Kvasager told us he was flying a drone that night with orders to stay in his place and not take cover. He says he owes his life to these blast walls.

KVASAGER: I'm very grateful for this piece of concrete and wrought iron and steel.

WILLIAMS: This is what Iran's ballistic missiles did to metal. Imagine what they could have done to U.S. troops if they hadn't taken cover.

One of the missiles was a direct hit on Chief Warrant Officer Alexander Bender's living quarters.

That was the door, is that right, over there?

CWO ALEXANDER BENDER: Yeah. That was the door. I had a bunk here.

WILLIAMS: This fleece somehow survived, now scarred by shrapnel.

That's a souvenir from the Iranians?

BENDER: Yep, sure is.

WILLIAMS: The U.S. troops hunkered down in bunkers that night, but most weren't designed to withstand a direct hit from a ballistic missile strike.

SENIOR AIRMAN MARY KATHERINE MULHOLLAND: We huddled together and held one another.

WILLIAMS: This is Senior Airman Mary Katherine Mulholland's first-ever tour of duty.

MULHOLLAND: I still can't fathom that no one was hurt.

[Cuts back to live]

WILLIAMS: There has been speculation that Iran deliberately missed American troops to prevent a further escalation. But a senior coalition military official told us, that's not true. The Iranians, in his words, were shooting to kill. Norah.

O’DONNELL: And our military was prepared. Holly, thank you.

 

NBC Nightly News
January 13, 2020
7:01:41 p.m. Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Good evening. In Iran tonight, there are growing anti-government protests over the accidental shootdown of a passenger jet that came just hours after Iran's missile strike against American targets in Iraq.

And tonight, we're getting an up-close look at just how close a call it was for American soldiers in the crosshairs of that attack. Our cameras today with the first look at damage from inside the Iraqi base including what appeared to be a direct hit on sleeping quarters used by American troops. Richard Engel has the latest.

[Cuts to video]

RICHARD ENGEL: New demonstrations tonight in Iran. Outrage over the government's admission that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian plane after days of denials. Some protesters saying they were fired upon by security forces, which Iran's police chief denies.

This, as we're granted access to the western base in Iraq struck by more than a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles. Some with direct hits where U.S. troops were living and working. Officials say this shows how close the U.S. came to war with Iran.

This was one of the main housing units for this part of the base, but it's so badly burned and damaged it's hard to tell what it even was. You only know people were living here because there is a burned-out bed, somebody's bicycle. Had soldiers still been inside when the missile impacted, it would have been many casualties.

The soldiers did have about two hours of advanced warning from U.S. intelligence that some kind of attack was coming. But fearing the base might be overrun, many stayed out of bunkers to guard the base. Captain Jeffrey Hanson had the wind knocked out of him by one of the first missiles. Then rallied.

So you were knocked on the ground and slid under a truck?

CPT. JEFFREY HANSON: I did. I went back to the shelter and knew that, you know, whatever was coming, it was much worse than we thought.

ENGEL: Iran says it did not want to kill U.S. troops.

Do you think this was lethal? Lethal intent.

UNIDENTIFIED SERVICE MEMBER: Yes, yeah. I mean, a lot of people would have died if we hadn't moved.

ENGEL: 39 soldiers were living in these quarters. Dozens more were posted nearby.

HANSON: I think we were beyond lucky.

[Cuts back to live]

ENGEL: U.S. commanders told us, after the attack, they expected there would be American fatalities. Lester?

HOLT: All right, Richard Engel from Iraq tonight.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Middle East Iran Iraq Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Broadcast Television ABC World News Tonight CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Video Holly Williams Richard Engel Qasem Soleimani

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