Monday, January 17, 2005

The Media in Iraq: Aiding and Abetting the Enemy

It seemed like everyone was pointing to this entry at Blackfive, today. So I had to go take a look. It's an article by Lieutenant Colonel Tim Ryan, who is serving in Iraq, and it's very critical of the way the news media is reporting on what's happening over there. It begins,

What if domestic news outlets continually fed American readers headlines like: "Bloody Week on U.S. Highways: Some 700 Killed," or "More Than 900 Americans Die Weekly from Obesity-Related Diseases"? Both of these headlines might be true statistically, but do they really represent accurate pictures of the situations? What if you combined all of the negatives to be found in the state of Texas and used them as an indicator of the quality of life for all Texans? Imagine the headlines: "Anti-law Enforcement Elements Spread Robbery, Rape and Murder through Texas Cities." For all intents and purposes, this statement is true for any day of any year in any state. True -- yes, accurate -- yes, but in context with the greater good taking place -- no! After a year or two of headlines like these, more than a few folks back in Texas and the rest of the U.S. probably would be ready to jump off of a building and end it all. So, imagine being an American in Iraq right now.

Lt. Col. Ryan is understandably very angry by the way our news media are portraying our progress in Iraq. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to call it progress at all to listen to them. (Or to listen to people like Ted Kennedy talk.)

So why are we listening to them? Instead, do what Blackfive suggests, grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and read this.

You may also be interested in the e-mails sent home by Dave, a marine serving in Fallujah. Here's a portion from the most recent:

Elections are less than a month away. The combination of the smashing defeat the enemy suffered in Fallujah along with the prospect of looming free elections has made them desperate. They regularly threaten the people by telling them that any one who goes to vote will be killed by the muj. They claim to be watching the polling places and continue to state that they will wage suicide attacks on the crowds that assemble there.

You have probably seen from the news that the ongoing murder and intimidation campaign on the Iraqi security forces has continued as well. We recently received a report that an Iraqi soldier in our area was drug from his home and beheaded. The muj barged into his house as he and his family were eating dinner and simply drug him out to his front yard and beheaded him while his wife and children were held inside only feet away. This sounds shocking but it is the world in which the Iraqi people live here and one that would only get worse if they did not have the coalition to help keep the muj at bay. Plainly stated it is pure savagery.

The insurgency is a collection of different elements that have gotten together out of a marriage of convenience and who are galvanized by a common enemy - us. The greatest irony is that the two most prominent players in the insurgency are former regime members from the Ba'ath party and the international Islamic extremists. These two elements are deeply in bed together but they do what they can to keep their alliance secret. The old regime henchmen hide out here in Iraq or just across the border and pump money and direction into the insurgency so that they can some day resume power. The Islamic extremist take the training and money offered by Sadaam's cronies and do the bidding of these criminals so that they can create a sectarian state not unlike the one the Taliban created in Afghanistan. How in the world can you call yourself a holy warrior and be in league with some of the greatest criminals this region has known?

Slowly but surely the people are returning and as you can imagine, there is a high degree of caution on both sides. Overall though, we have been pleasantly surprised by the lack of hostility from the people. Most just seem to want to live their lives. The Marines have seen this and have responded with an equally surprising degree of compassion. However, there is no doubt the muj will do their best to continue their fight without any compunction of putting the "innocent people" in the middle. They are well aware of the danger of the people seeing first hand that we are not "infidel animals" that are waiting to rape their women and children as they have been told. When the enemy senses this crack in its intimidation campaign, it will make the people pay in order to get them back in line. Time will tell how it will work out but we know the next several weeks are going to be tough.

There are plenty of resources if you want to get a clearer picture of what's going on in Iraq. We don't need the mainstream news media to filter our news for us anymore.

So let's remember to thank Al Gore for the internet.


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