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The Daily Nightly began on May 31, 2005. As Brian wrote in his first post it aims to provide a narrative of the broadcast day and a window into the editorial process at NBC Nightly News. Brian weighs in every weekday and NBC News correspondents and producers post regularly.

Brian Williams became the seventh anchor and managing editor in the history of NBC Nightly News on December 2, 2004. Read his full biography.

Air assault vs. air strike

While this is the biggest air ASSAULT in Iraq since April 22, 2003 (when the 101st Airborne assaulted from Iskandiriya to Mosul), keep one fact in perspective: There are not a lot of air assaults in Iraq to begin with. When the U.S. Army uses the term "air assault" they are referring specifically to air TRANSPORT -- moving infantrymen into an area via aircraft. An air STRIKE is when they are flying specifically to shoot at a target or targets with missiles, machine gun fire, etc.   

In other words, what's happening today is really equivalent to transporting 1,500 infantrymen via convoy. But since this assault involves the 101st Airborne division, they move via the air rather than the ground. There have been countless operations in Iraq that have involved 1,500 troops or more moving via convoy -- helicopters are large targets so ground transport is the more common mode of transportation.

There have not been any reports of a single shot fired yet in this "Operation Swarmer," which occurred in broad daylight. Air strikes generally occur at night. Once the 1,500 troops are in place, Pentagon officials say the next few days will be spent primarily searching the area. So far, they have found five weapons caches, including artillery and mortar rounds, small arms munitions, medical supplies, IED-making materials and instruction manuals. There are more than 650 U.S. troops and 800 Iraqi troops involved. The assault was northwest of Samarra, in an isolated and relatively rural area.

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COMMENTS

As a person who has conducted numerous air assaults (as a pilot), I can tell you there is A LOT more to an air assault than simply loading up some soldiers and flying to a landing zone! And almost all of the ones I've conducted (all in peacetime) were done wearing night vision goggles. Of course there are positive qualities to a daytime air assault also...

Dianna,
I suppose you are saying that this article is just repeating what has been said by the government and that it cannot be verified. I suppose that you will have to wait until Inauguration Day 2009 to believe anything again.

The Pentagon says there are more Iraqi troops than American. Why should we believe that. With a string of lies and half-truths that go back to the beginning of this war, this administration has no credibility. You can't trust the military, they are in lock-step with the Pentagon (or else!!). I'll believe it when this can be confirmed by some other source other than our government. How sad is that?

Thank you for defining what's going on...at work I have no access to a television, and interpreted "assault" to mean we were air-bombing Iraq again. I will be grateful for the full coverage tonight as I play the broadcast back on Tivo after the children are asleep.

thank you lawrence from dalton for mentioning that about the iraqi troops. i'll be watching tonight for that very purpose.
God bless the 'Screaming Eagles' and our Iraqi comrades.

What should be highlighted in the evening broadcast is that there are more Iraqi troops than American troops.

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