Skip to comments.Avoid media stew of malice (The war is going very well)
Posted on 03/27/2003 6:48:18 AM PST by veronica
Other than on the media front, where ignorance and bias prevail, the war is going very well
There are three "fronts" in the Iraq war, but they do not present themselves geographically.
1. The extremely visible, mostly American, allied main columns, steel strands extending from a base in Kuwait to loops joining around Baghdad and Tikrit.
2. The almost invisible airborne and special forces campaigns, in which Britons, Australians, Poles and others, including local forces, not yet acknowledged, have been playing very important roles, seizing and destroying or disabling the Iraqi regime's most lethal military and terror assets, and hunting for the "leadership targets."
3. The propaganda front, in which the U.S. and her allies struggle against Saddam Hussein's attempts to maintain the fear through which he has held the Iraqi people in subjection. In this last, Mr. Saddam is benefiting tremendously from the help of the international anti-Bush and anti-American media.
Even the first of these "fronts" is not quite what meets the eye. For instance, a great deal of technical invention and human training has gone into preparing for the urban battles that may lie ahead, from outfitting tanks and armoured vehicles for close-order fighting; to new gadgetry for the discovery and elimination of snipers; to new methods of ground-air co-ordination in and over confined urban spaces. Journalists have been embedded only in this visible force; yet even travelling with it, they remain as much in the dark as the rest of us about the U.S. forces' new capabilities.
The Pentagon planners have, thus, enlisted the media without their full knowledge in exhaustively covering what I suspect may be a series of feints. And Mr. Saddam's remaining loyalists, cut off from most of their own sources of information in the field, are obliged to focus their attention only on what they can see -- more and more exclusively through the eyes of the media. They launch essentially suicidal attacks against this now multi-tentacled, visible invader, which attrits both their conventional (e.g. Republican Guard) and unconventional (e.g. Fedayeen) fighters -- from both ground and air. Meanwhile, special and airborne forces drop in and out behind their backs, setting up for them some unwelcome, and not always small, surprises.
Even senior Israeli officers, who make it their business to know about these things, have professed puzzlement about the American plans when interviewed in the Israeli papers. The most knowing remark I've read, from one of them, is the observation that one cannot, in principle, know -- since the plans (plural) include multiple options at every stage. What they can say with confidence is that people watching on television are missing the real show. And as Donald Rumsfeld has repeated, those who talk don't know; those who know don't talk. I myself have no intention of talking about the very little I know: it is enough to guess at the shapes in the dark, and to expect surprise.
What can be said from plain observation is that the second "front" is using tactics much like those which were so successful in Afghanistan. Indeed, the overall strategy in Iraq is beginning to resemble the Afghan one, superimposed on the more conventional column of steel (which replaces the indigenous Afghan Northern Front with a snaking, high-tech hammer). And the reason for this is not far to seek: for the enemy in the field is fighting with methods very similar to those of the Taliban and al-Qaeda -- an especially barbaric form of retreat, hit and run that makes no concessions to western rules of decency.
But the Pentagon anticipated this, too, hence the Afghan-like invisible deployments, and radical makeshift adaptations to terrain -- probably including camels and horses. They take out the struts upon which the regime is supported, and seem to make no dramatic progress until the moment when suddenly the whole thing comes down, almost simultaneously in many different cities. I expect the collapse, when it comes -- in a few weeks or sooner if there is more luck than expected -- will catch almost everyone by surprise, especially the journalists.
There will, of course, be much to clean up after, as international terror organizations try to link up with whatever of Mr. Saddam's assets have survived.
But while the allies move from victory to victory on the first two "fronts," they are suffering serious and mostly unavoidable setbacks on the third, propaganda, one. I am tempted to stop and argue with the barrage of media reports -- the "24/7 battery of lies" to which I referred in a former article; a remark that filled my inbox with hate mail from my fellow journalists. But there is too much of it for one writer to deal with.
It begins on the small scale with remarks made in sheer ignorance. For instance, an Abrams tank with its treads blown off has not been "destroyed;" its crew is alive, and the tank can be fixed. Or, Apache helicopters grounded by a sandstorm have not been "turned back by Iraqi defenders." A frequent misunderstanding is about sandstorms themselves, which present a net advantage to U.S. forces. At the battle of Najaf, Monday into Tuesday, they were annihilating Iraqi fighters by the hundreds. The U.S. soldiers could see them clearly as heat signatures on their equipment; whereas the Saddamites could not see the Americans.
But it gets much worse than this. To present civilian deaths, such as those in a Baghdad market, even as a U.S. "mistake," on the basis of Iraqi sources only, is to disseminate Saddamite propaganda. In this case, alternative possibilities include an Iraqi inside job, to create a much-needed atrocity story (something they have repeatedly tried elsewhere); a misguided Iraqi surface-to-air missile; or an American cruise missile or bomb deflected from a nearby target by Iraq's recently acquired Russian GPS-jamming equipment. And even if it were an American mistake, western journalists participating in the subsequent Iraqi media tour of the site are directly assisting in a propaganda stunt, designed to inflame anti-American opinion throughout the Arab world, and beyond it.
On the large scale, we have the persistent display of doubts about tactics and strategy from journalists without any qualifications to judge them: who know no military history, indeed hardly any history at all; nor are they in possession of many current facts. Their motives are, moreover, clear enough, for many are people whose anti-Bush and anti-American attitudes were on display long before the war.
We also have, in vast doses, a somewhat less political morbid sentimentality that should have no place in war reporting, for it clouds all judgment on matters of life and death.
As Andrew Sullivan has pointed out, the shamefully inaccurate broadcasting of the BBC has a direct military consequence. "One of the key elements ... in this battle is the willingness of the Iraqi people to stand up to the Saddamite remnants. That willingness depends, in part, on their confidence that the allies are making progress. What the BBC is able to do, by broadcasting directly to these people, is to keep the Iraqi people's morale as far down as possible, thereby helping to make the war more bloody, thereby helping discredit it in retrospect."
The BBC is hardly the only source of disinformation on the war; it is everywhere in the "liberal" media, filling the front pages of papers such as the New York Times: pure editorializing founded on half-ignorant, half-intentional misinterpretations of facts and non-facts. The attitudes of these journalists are exposed in the tone of the questions they ask at such occasions as Pentagon and Central Command press conferences. In the BBC's case, an internal memo from the network's own defence correspondent has come to light, in which he assails his colleagues for persistently leading newscasts with reports that are, in his own capitalized words, "NOT TRUE."
I want to tell my readers directly: do not be discouraged by, and avoid wallowing in, this rich stew of malice. The media front may look grim; but the war itself is going very well.
SONG FOR TODAY, FOR THE WAR ON ENDURING FREEDOM (long load of music and war pictures)
Mr. Saddam also benefited tremendously when it turned out that rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated.
Screw the hostile Presstitutes!
In Gulf War-I we bombed these suckers for 38 days before the ground attack began. We can be a little considerate of the sacrifice and lives that are being given here for our country and a little LESS critcal of a war in its 7th day!
I was surprised though, that Bevelaqua was so pessimistic on Fox this morning. This is war, it is not a cake walk or a peace negotiation in involves lethat weaponry and it looks like most of it is hitting its target for the allies.
Check it out:
I just did a search to see how long we took to complete some tasks in WWII.
The Battle of Monte Casino -- or more correctly the four battles of Monte Casino -- was the name given to the repeated allied attempts to force the Germans' formidable Gustav Line defences across the width of Italy between Naples and Rome, and which lasted almost five months through the severe winter of 1944 to early May of that year.
Sicily was invaded on 10 July 1943 and by August we were ready to invade Italy.
The result of the first two weeks of the Normandy invasion was a giant foothold for the Allied forces. Two ports were opened to the Allies providing a way for equipment and soldiers to move into France to back up the original Allied force.
D-day for Guadacanal was set for 7 Aug 1942.Fighting continued for the Allies on Guadalcanal into 1943
Just to name a few.
"U.S. invasion forces faced tough resistance as they opened an assault on Republican Guards defending the approaches to Baghdad, while the humanitarian situation worsened in southern Iraq," reported Reuters this week.
Coalition forces are in full retreat, says the media, bedeviled by setback after setback, body-blow after body-blow, including "the killing and capture of U.S. soldiers and the loss of [a] helicopter."
"Days after it appeared that the battle had been won in Iraq's south, the shooting -- and the dying -- goes on," writes Associated Press reporter, Doug Mellgren, gleefully.
"At Basra," he adds, "allied forces...came under heavy artillery fire Monday. A British soldier was reported killed in action nearby."
But it gets worse.
"At the southern oil fields, once considered secure, shadowy Iraqi forces apparently ambushed a British unit...civilian workers brought in to fight fires at the wells were forced to withdraw for their own safety."
Outside of Basra, "Iraqi mortar rounds rained down through the day, with tanks and armored fighting vehicles of the Black Watch and the Royal Scots Guards returning fire," says Mellgren.
Coalition setbacks. Losses. Failures. Body-blows. Heavy enemy artillery fire. Coalition forces in full retreat.
And more dying.
Media message to public: America is getting shellacked, our enemies are racking up slam dunks on the battlefield; the Iraqis are sweeping to victory as our boys drown in a bloodbath. Bush not only "failed so miserably at diplomacy," (See Daschle), he's failing on the battlefield, too! Sky is falling! Sky is falling!
"The United States suffered its worst casualties on Sunday," reports the Miami Herald, "with up to nine Marines killed, scores wounded, and the first U.S. troops captured by the Iraqis in the fiercest fighting of the war so far."
"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld...defended U.S. war plans in Iraq on Tuesday amid criticism from many experts who question the size and punch of the invasion force being used," Will Dunham of Reuters wrote, giddy as can be.
Well, you get the picture.
The media, as I wrote in my previous essay, thinks this war should already be wrapped up. A week is more than enough time to win. What's taking so long? It's been a whole week! War? Mortar rounds? Tomahawk missiles? Heck, Iraq should have already been rebuilt, the landscape thriving with commerce and industry, suburbs teeming with shopping malls, shiny Minivans, Porsches and Chevy Suburbans dotting the highways, Iraqi soccer-moms driving kiddies to the games on Saturdays.
All won with ZERO BATTLEFIELD CASUALTIES.
The press, having failed to thwart military action, now hopes to swing public opinion against the war by portraying the effort as a miserable failure.
The quotes at the top are just the tip of media ice-berg. Flick on CNN, and you'd swear it's Al-Jazeera TV. Judy Woodruff -- Michael Moore with a dress, Saddam's professional spinner. I keep looking for the Baghdad TV logo when Aaron Brown is on. The stuff out of Reuters, AP and UPI sound more like press releases straight from Iraq's Ministry of (Dis)Information than reputable wire copy, only less credible.
After news of a popular uprising in Basra, the faces at MSNBC looked like Iraqi barracks after several B-52 bombing runs. The Fedayeen Saddamites at the nightly newscasts barely held back their tears.
Sure there've been 'setbacks,' mistakes, tragedies. No-one's denying that.
In fact, just to prove I'm 'fair and balanced,' l'll go over some of them.
Saddam's glorious victories? I hardly know where to begin. How about his 'success' in losing control of Umm Qasr, a key port city in southern Iraq? Or his brilliant master-stroke -- losing 17 divisions out of 23 only days into Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Saddam, in his relentless march to victory, by Tuesday had lost control of 70% of Iraqi territory, with 'vanquished' coalition forces, 'crippled and demoralized' (See Reuters), poised at the gates of Baghdad, a popular uprising against the popular Saddam underway in Basra, Iraq's second largest city. On Tuesday, the British 7th Armored Brigade, also crippled and demoralized (See Reuters again), suffered a huge setback by crushing an entire Iraqi armored column, marching out of Basra, to pulp. Another 'setback' for British forces: A dawn raid which netted a senior Ba'athist official. The Brits thereafter destroyed party headquarters, which sparked the Shi'ite uprising against Saddam.
Reaction from Saddam's tender-hearted thugs, whose fealty to human rights is legendary, was to launch mortar fire indiscriminately on protesters. But the horse had already left the barn, as the uprising spreads.
Saddam's triumphant forces also scored big at Najah, just south of Baghdad, its indomitable Medina Republican Guard losing over 500 men in the first head-to-head ground engagement against 'demoralized' (again, see Reuters) coalition forces, who suffered a whopping zero total casualties during the engagement. No doubt Saddam's masterly war planning will go down in history for its skilled ineptitude, unblemished by reason, tactical or strategic.
Yep, I'm impressed.
Saddam's 'grip' on the country was further 'strengthened' tonight, after a cruise missile struck Iraq TV, knocking Saddam off the air.
You know, come to think of it, has anyone seen Saddam?
Saddam? Are you there? Hello? Saddam?
Oh, gee, maybe those bungling, blundering, inept coalition forces took down Saddam the first night.
My two cents..
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