Thomas Donnelly of the Weekly Standard discovered a rift between the editorial slant of the New York Times and one of its own journalists:
It is an especially cruel but increasingly common irony of the war in Iraq that Washington and Baghdad are in separate universes: what happens over there is not much connected to what’s happening back here. But Sunday’s New York Times “Week in Review” section sets a new standard for cognitive dissonance. Spread across the top two-thirds of the front page is John Burns’ latest dispatch from Iraq. The subject is the U.S. campaign to win back the city of Ramadi and al Anbar province from al Qeada and other Sunni extremists. A year after a marine intelligence report described the region as “lost,” Burns explains “an astonishing success” in what was “Iraq’s most dangerous city.” Now, cooperation between local tribal leaders and the U.S. military “has all but ended the fighting in Ramadi and recast the city as a symbol of hope that the tide of war may yet be reversed to favor the Americans and their Iraqi allies.” Victory, in Burns’ assessment, is a long way off, but is possible.
Ten pages later, taking up an equal amount of space on the main editorial page, is the clarion call to “leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.” The only discussions that interest the editors is “how to accomplish a withdrawal” and mitigate the certainly bad consequences of an American defeat. The Times takes it as a “fact” that “keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.”
That’s hardly what the paper’s leading Iraq correspondent writes. Burns, who is the unquestioned dean of Iraq war reporters and hardly a shill for the White House, is realistic and right to wonder if the Anbar model will translate to other parts of Iraq, particularly the sectarian cauldron of Baghdad. But he does not question the genuine success in Anbar, where insurgent attacks on American forces fell from 1,300 last October to 225 in June. Nor does Burns buy the insipid line, repeated in the editorial, that what happens on the battlefield has no effect on the political balance in Iraq. While in Anbar the measure of progress has been the defection of the traditional sheiks from al Qaeda to the side of the Iraqi government and the United States, Burns makes it clear that a vigorous American and Iraqi offensive, undertaken last November, was the key prerequisite. “Not for the first time,” Burns writes, “the Americans learned a basic lesson of warfare here: that Iraqis, bludgeoned for 24 years by Saddam Hussein’s terror, are wary of rising against any foe, however brutal, until it is in retreat. In Anbar, Sunni extremists were the dominant force, with near-total popular support or acquiescence, until the offensive broke their power.
This is a lesson of warfare not only in Iraq but through human history: victory precedes peace. Indeed, the biggest difference between Washington and Baghdad is that, over there, this is an American war; back here, it’s just George Bush’s war. In Ramadi, John Burns watched Lt. Gen Raymond Odierno, the number-two commander in Iraq, converse with an Iraqi merchant who–after checking over his shoulder to see who was listening–declared “America good! Al Qaeda bad!” Apparently, this is a war that’s easier to see face to face than from afar.
Where are the headlines about Operation Arrowhead Ripper or Operation Phantom Thunder? If you’ve never heard about these successful missions, here they are:
Michael Yon and Bill Roggio are two former Soldiers-turned journalists embedded with Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan. They provide crucial information lacking in the MSM. If the average American can tear themselves away from the latest Paris Hilton tripe and the crap being spewed by the Democrats, the whole story can be found on websites such as theirs.
When I’ve argued with anti-war acquaintances or some of the “barroom politicians” in my neighborhood, I’m often pelted with the hackneyed “It’s all about oil” and “Bush lied”. I inform them that substantial numbers of WMDs were found, Al Qaeda not only operated in Afghanistan (as throughout the Middle East) but also had support from Hussein’s Baathist regime, and striking the enemy where they live is a vital part of any war. I usually get a deer-in-the-headlights look, or a dense “why haven’t these things been reported?”
I point out that everything I’ve mentioned was documented in press releases and also in de-classified intelligence summaries, still I’m met with incredulous attitudes. The trouble is they are just as disconnected from the truth as many leftist politicians and journalists. Many don’t bother to talk with Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans, and some stupidly dismiss our experience and knowledge because it runs contrary to what they read in their hometown newspapers. That they reject the accounts of Soldiers is obscene but sadly, not surprising.
The enormous headway being made by the United States Army against al Qaeda is largely unreported. I monitor blogs and websites by Soldiers and journalists still on the ground, as well as keep in touch with those still in Iraq and Afghanistan. When I was there, I saw and experienced a totally different war than what the stateside media portrayed. We kick in doors and kill bad guys. We also feed, clothe, and provide medical care for the local populace. The members of fledgling Iraqi and Afghan governments are working through tribal and political problems. For the first time in the history of these two countries, representative governments are being formed, public and business infrastructures are being built, and the people are practicing new found freedoms that we take for granted.
To some, terrorist bloodshed is trivial. After the 2005 London bombing, some Limey pinhead interviewed by NBC news remarked: “You have a non-event in London and we’re going to battle quarters and beginning to give the old hairy eyeball to every Muslim?” Winston Churchill is flipping in his grave.
It’s bad enough when the Europeans dismiss the GWOT as merely ‘America’s war’ and exclude themselves from the terrorist equation. It’s worse when the leftist U.S. media conglomerate refuses to admit Islamofascists were responsible for 3000 deaths on this soil, and as far as they’re concerned they’re not finished.
All of this is lost on New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who is so far to the left, he makes Vladimir Lenin look like a Republican. This neo-leftist blowhard derides the GWOT and believes that the terrorist threat is some kind of hyped-up Bush conspiracy designed to induce paranoia and somehow lead to an oligarchy. So far, no one has dragged his sorry ass off to a right-wing gulag…but one can dream, can’t they?
According to Krugman, “These days terrorism is the first refuge of scoundrels.”
Hint: He’s not referring to Al Qaeda scoundrels.
Patriotism is the last obligation of vacuous liberal malcontents. The ‘Fourth Estate’ has mutated into the Fifth Column.
There’s ample proof of success in the GWOT, but no willingness on the part of the MSM to make it public. The answer lies in the editorial slant of the news itself; the bulk of which is unabashedly pro-al Qaeda. If you think that’s too harsh, take a look at the accumulative reporting. Most dispatched civilian ‘journalists’ write their stories from air-conditioned hotel rooms and get their feeds from sources that are at best suspect. The home-bound desk jockeys write their opinions without ever leaving the confines of their newsrooms. The real embedded reporters who have the guts to point out the great success of campaigns are squelched by a MSM with anti-military/Bush derangement syndrome.
Soldiers have no illusions about Iraqi or Afghan history or society. They know stability won’t happen overnight, the MSM will never get it, and politically correct methods are no way to run a war. The best that we can hope for is that the public and the politicians will give the troops the resources, funding, and weapons they need to finish off the Islamofascists, then get the hell out of the way and let them do it.