pay no attention to the war in Iraq

by twit

MSNBC reports on a recent study from the Pew Research Center that suggests “public awareness of developments in the Iraq war has dropped precipitously since last summer, as the news media have paid less attention to the conflict.”

And maybe they have a point. I had figured that the graphic story about the five severed fingers sent to US officials in Iraq would dominate the news today, but apparently it is (mostly) flying under the radar. DNA tests confirm that the fingers belong to military contractors kidnapped in Iraq in 2006. McClatchy reports:

The first four men were security contractors with Kuwait-based Crescent Security and were captured in a brazen ambush of their 43-truck supply convoy in the southern Iraqi town of Safwan, near the Kuwaiti border, on Nov. 16, 2006.

The Crescent contractors appeared in two hostage videos released in December 2006 and January 2007 in which they pleaded for the United States to withdraw troops from Iraq and to free all Iraqi prisoners. In the videos, they appeared in good condition and said that they were being treated well.

No financial demand has been made public and it’s unclear what group is holding the men. All of the hostages were seized in southern Iraq, an area swarming with powerful Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim militias.

Image via Drudge, representative of what the American news prefers to think about instead.

The Washington Post points out that only “[t]wenty-eight percent of the public is aware that nearly 4,000 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq over the past five years, while nearly half thinks the death tally is 3,000 or fewer.” For the record, via Think Progress, “[a]s of today, the Department of Defense has confirmed the deaths of 3,973 U.S. soldiers.”

UPDATE: The Raw Story reports on March 24, 2008:

The remains of two American security contractors who were kidnapped more than a year ago have been found in Iraq, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.

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