During the September 13 edition of the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric stated that the September 10 deaths of Staff Sgt. Yance Gray and Sgt. Omar Mora -- two of the seven U.S. Army soldiers serving in Iraq who co-authored an August 19 New York Times op-ed that expressed skepticism about security gains in Iraq -- was "ironic." Couric said: "The group wrote that for Iraqis, quote, 'engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act.' Now, ironically, Gray and Mora were killed along with five other soldiers not in combat, but when their cargo truck overturned during a routine trip in western Baghdad."
Merriam-Webster defines irony in this context as an "incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result." Couric did not explain how the death of two soldiers, who would not have been in Iraq but for the war, was incongruous with a "normal or expected result."
According to a September 13 Associated Press article, Gray and Mora were two of seven U.S. troops killed when their truck ran off an overpass while returning from a raid. The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting wrote on August 20, 2003:
Some might suggest that using a casualty figure that includes non-combat deaths would portray the war as more deadly and dangerous than it really is. But non-combat fatalities clearly include deaths that are a result of the war; car accidents are often a result of speeding to avoid ambushes, for example, and the heavy battle gear troops are forced to wear contributes to heat-related fatalities. As Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell wrote (7/17/03), "Even if killed in a non-hostile action, these soldiers are no less dead, their families no less aggrieved. And it's safe to say that nearly all of these people would still be alive if they were still back in the States."
According to a Media Matters for America search, this is the first time the Evening News has mentioned the soldiers' Times op-ed.
From the September 13 edition of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
COURIC: And now this sad footnote from Iraq. Two Army paratroopers who recently wrote an article that was critical of the war effort were killed this week. Staff Sergeant Yance Gray and Sergeant Omar Mora were part of a group of seven who authored a piece entitled "The War as We Saw It," published in The New York Times last month. The group wrote that for Iraqis, quote, "engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act." Now, ironically, Gray and Mora were killed along with five other soldiers not in combat, but when their cargo truck overturned during a routine trip in western Baghdad.