Category Archives: Media

If You’re Looking …..

For some good, original reporting on Iraq that isn’t the same old, tired, regurgitated AP junk, I’ll recommend Bill Roggio. Yeah, I know everyone knows all about Bill, the embedded blogger, but so what. I’ve never really read him before.

Today I was about fed up with the junk I get from the AP …….. you know, so and so many killed today, Iraqi government dysfunctional, some senator some BS about the war, the ISG report, blah blah. It’s the same tired stories, over and over, with no real insight into how the troops are doing, what being on the ground is like and whether things outside Sadr City are going well, or not.

So, I checked out Bill’s site, turns out he is in Fallujah these days. Here’s a small sample of what he’s doing and writing, from a post about his journey to Fallujah.

Camp Stryker:

While waiting to catch the flight to the Green Zone, I spoke to two Army captains, one who works in Civil Affairs, the other with the Military Transition Teams. Both explained how the situation could look very different based on your job, but that the Iraqi police and Army were making real progress. They said the Iraqis’ skills ranged from poor to excellent, but they always saw improvement.

I also overheard an Army specialist sitting behind me curse the media (and I mean curse), saying they didn’t know what they were talking about when it came to Iraq. I talked to him, and explained I’m considered a reporter, and that I won’t argue with his points. I made him uncomfortable. Had he known I was ‘the press’ I think he would have kept it to himself.

Now, isn’t that more interesting than the junk that the AP, Reuters and the rest are passing off as reporting on Iraq?

footnote: By the way, don’t assume this means that I am “for” or “against” the Iraq War, that I advocate withdrawal or “staying the course” or anything else. It’s just a pitch to you to get a different perspective on Iraq, one well worth checking out. I may, or may not, post my own thoughts on Iraq at some point, we’ll see.

Delicious Irony

From a Wired Blog entry:

On the last day of the recent Reuters Media and Marketing Summit in New York, Warner Music Group CEO [ed: Edgar Bronfman] admitted that he was “fairly certain” that one or more of his seven children had downloaded music without the permission of the copyright owner, which Reuters referred to as stealing.

Now, you may wonder what happened to Mr. Bronfman’s children?

I explained to them what I believe is right, that the principle is that stealing music is stealing music. […] A bright line around moral responsibility is very important. I can assure you they no longer do that.

Well, that makes it all better then. Good thing they didn’t get sued by a media company. Like, let’s say, Warner Music Group?

Stuck in Iraq Longer Than WWII?

A friend sent me this via e-mail:

U.S. Involved in Iraq Longer Than WWII

U.S. involved in Iraq war 3 years, 8-plus months – longer than it was in World War II

Only the Vietnam War (eight years, five months), the Revolutionary War (six years, nine months), and the Civil War (four years), have engaged America longer.

Fighting in Afghanistan, which may or may not be a full-fledged war depending on who is keeping track, has gone on for five years, one month. It continues as the ousted Taliban resurges and the central government is challenged.

Bush says he still is undecided whether to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq or add to the 140,000 there now.

Well, this is CBS, so you know they’re reporting it to make it sound as bad as possible. But is this truly accurate?

Yes, we’ve been in Iraq longer than than the time between Dec 7, 1941 and August 14, 1945. But if you’re measuring the time we’ve been there against the date we get a signed surrender from the insurgents, you’re going to keep waiting. But we didn’t exactly leave Japan and Germany in 1945. We were still “involved” there for much longer.

The time it took to defeat the Iraqi military, of course, was much shorter than the time it took to defeat the Japanese or German forces. In fact, we quickly destroyed Iraq’s command and control structure, and shortly thereafter felled their government. If you want to compare, perhaps we should compare the situation we’re in now with the reconstruction of Germany (which ended in 1949) and Japan (ended in 1952). Against that comparison, we’ve still got years left before we’re involved in Iraq for longer than WWII. But then again, that doesn’t paint nearly as bad of a picture, so I think we know why CBS chose to highlight this.

Of course, the situations aren’t completely analogous. I think the violent insurgency and sectarian warfare we’re facing is a lot more serious than we saw in either Germany or Japan. But, then again, the wars were considerably different as well. World War II was a long, hard-fought war, where there was considerable collateral damage. It wasn’t called collateral damage at the time, it was called “bombing the crap out of the enemy’s cities to break their will”. After four years of constant war, Europe was tired. In Iraq, we lopped off the head but the body remained. Now it’s flailing around lashing out at anything it can.

I have no problem with people who can come up with reasoned criticism of the war or the handling of the occupation. I think some of our policies have been muddled, our government has done little to justify what they’re doing and what they hope to accomplish, and the best answer we get is usually “stay the course”. It’s unacceptable whenever government refuses to justify their actions to the people.

But it’s also unfair for the media to be disingenuous with the facts. It took six years for the Allies (with four of those years including America’s participation) to achieve a military victory over Germany and Japan. It took a few months to achieve a military victory in Iraq. Trying to defeat an insurgency and police sectarian violence is not analogous to Iwo Jima and the Battle of the Bulge. To act is if they are is to play the American people for fools. One would think a respected news organization like CBS should be above such a thing, but recent history has shown otherwise.

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