Sunday, December 11, 2005

Iraq News
read the whole thing at Strategypage, but while you wait, I'll cherry pick it for you. (Kith & Kin is a full-service blog, don'tcha know!)
If it weren't for Internet access to troops, expatriates and Iraqis in Iraq, you would think that coalition military operations in Iraq were a major disaster, and that prompt withdrawal was the only reasonable course of action. But the mass media view of the situation is largely fiction, conjured up in editorial offices outside Iraq, with foreign reporters in Iraq (most of them rarely leaving their heavily guarded hotels) providing color commentary, and not much else. So what do the troops and Iraqis say?
First, there is definitely a terrorism problem. Not an insurgency, not a guerilla war, not a resistance.
Second, there is a cultural crises, in the Arab world in particular, and the Moslem world in general.
Third, the bad guys are really, really bad, but they have many prominent allies around the world. Most Iraqis cannot understand how so many media outlets in the West can keep giving favorable coverage to the Sunni Arab terrorists. These guys are butchers, and many used to work for Saddam, committing the same kind of mayhem. Yet these European reporters come looking for Sunni Arab "victims" of "American imperialism." How strange is that? Nothing strange, just another cultural quirk. The Europeans are much more risk averse than Americans. We all remember the 1930s, where most of Europe left Hitler alone, hoping that they could talk sense into him, or that he would go away.
lastly, we have the major differences between the media version of what's going on, and the military one. The media are looking for newsworthy events (bad news preferred, good news does not sell, and news is a business). The military sees it as a process, a campaign, a series of battles that will lead to a desired conclusion. The event driven media have a hard time comprehending this process stuff, but it doesn't really matter to them, since the media lives from headline to headline. For the military, the campaign in Iraq has been a success. The enemy, the Sunni Arabs, have been determined and resourceful. But the American strategy of holding the Sunni Arabs at bay, while the Kurds and Shia Arabs built a security force capable of dealing with the Sunni Arab terrorists, has worked. But that's good news, and thus not news. But every terrorist attack by Sunni Arabs is news, and gets reported with intensity and enthusiasm.

I just picked out the thesis points of the paragraphs, so if you take issue with one, please go over and read the paragraph before commenting. Thanks!

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