Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Blah, Blah, Blah

For about the millionth time, I have seen a commentator complain that the "liberal media" is accentuating the bad news out of Iraq. This Time it's Helle Dale in the Washington Times: "If you trust most media accounts fed to American viewers and readers, Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. There is no security throughout the country, and armed insurgents are springing up, sown like dragon's teeth by the offensive of the U.S. military forces. The scheduled elections are highly uncertain. Indeed, 100,000 Iraqis have been killed by U.S. forces. Iraqis have never had it so bad. It is a drumbeat with echoes of the way the American media reported the Vietnam War."
I watch ABC News, the News Hour on PBS and check the websites of the Times, Post, etc. and I haven't got that impression at all. Most reports I see focus on the Sunni areas of Iraq, with occasional flareups in other regions. I have seen reports about the Lancet story alleging that we have killed 100,000 Iraqis but it has hardly been taken as gospel by the media. She complains that the media isn't saying enough about good news such as debt cancellation and all of the soldiers and police we have trained in Iraq. I have seen stories about the debt cancellation, and while that demonstrates the diplomatic skill of the Bush andministration combined with the generosity/political calculations of Iraq's creditors, it says nothing about the situation in Iraq. She claims that we have trained 45,000 police and 48,000 soldiers and national guardsmen in Iraq. These numbers should be treated with extreme skepticsm. When 93,000 trained Iraqis make it possible to send 93,000 American soldiers and Marines home, that will be news.
Dale makes a telling statement when she says, "Admittedly the security situation is dire, but look at these figures. In October, the number of Iraqis killed was 775 from acts of war and murder; American troops suffered 63 casualties and 691 wounded. These are too high, but at a time of a major military offensive against insurgents, those numbers are not gigantic."
Who in the Bush administration or the punditocracy, when the war was being conjured up with scary stories about "mushroom clouds" and duct tape two years ago, was saying that Iraq would be an endless war? It was supposed to be a cakewalk. And how many times have we won? When a U.S. tank toppled the statue of saddam? When the president had his aircraft carrier photo-op? When Saddam was fished out of his spider hole?
The war keeps going and going with no end in sight. That's the real news from Iraq.

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