Congressman’s briefs corrected to remove journalists’ criticism


NEW YORK (AP) – Writer of a brief by Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona corrects passage about a deadly battle in the Iraq War that falsely claimed that Ellen Knickmeyer, chief of the Baghdad office for Washington Post then, and now with The Associated Press, reported that their entire squad had been lost.

“They Called Us ‘Lucky’: The Life and Afterlife of the Iraq War’s Hardest Hit Unit,” co-written by Gallego and Jim DeFelice, was published last November by HarperCollins Publishers William Morrow. Gallego, a Democrat first elected in 2014, is a Marine Corps veteran who deployed to Iraq in 2005 and served with the Lima Company, which in eight months lost 22 Marines and a member of the Corps of the Marine.

In the book, Gallego alleged that Knickmeyer mistakenly gave the impression that the entire Lima platoon was killed in one battle. Four, as Knickmeyer correctly reported, were lost when an explosive device exploded under their Amtrac. They were “the last combat-ready members” of an individual squad, but not of the whole company.

In “They Called Us Lucky,” the writers criticized Knickmeyer for causing unnecessary hardship at home. They allege that Knickmeyer’s story “indicated that everyone was dead” and that she mistakenly heard someone say that the platoon “had been wiped out”.

“We may have been ‘devastated’ in the sense that we were deeply moved by the deaths of our friends. The way the story made the impression, however, was that an entire platoon of Marines had been killed, ”Gallego and DeFelice wrote. “The story had already been published on the web. In the connected world we live in, that meant our families were now mourning our loss. “

The new passage reads in part: “It turned out that Ellen Knickmeyer, who worked for the Washington Post and covered the operation, had filed a story that accurately reported that a squad was killed or injured. But this was apparently misinterpreted by those close to us at home to mean that the whole pack was wiped out. “

William Morrow announced the correction in a Twitter post earlier this week, stating “Knickmeyer accurately reported casualties to a squad, not the whole unit.” “

A spokesperson for Gallego wrote in a statement on Friday that although the congressman considered “this matter resolved,” he was not offering an apology.

“The shock of Ruben Gallego as he experienced it the moment he understood his reporting is not something he can erase and apologize for for his emotional reaction and trauma, and recount it in his book is not appropriate. “

Knickmeyer has been with the AP since 2014 and also worked there from 1990 to 2005. She is currently based in Washington, DC, and covers foreign policy, national and international security, and climate change.

The Washington Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Knickmeyer said in response to the Gallego spokesperson’s statement: “The publisher and his co-author have done what he has not done, which is to recognize that the narrative he wrote in the book was fictitious and publicly set the record straight as required by ethics. “