How the media loses the war

My friend Curt, who blogs at Flopping Aces, has made a couple of major news discovery: First, the story about Shiite men burning Sunni men alive is almost certainly untrue. Second, the man the MSM identifies as the source for this story has identified himself as an Iraqi Captain is not who he claims to be — which means that he exists for the sole purpose of feeding false stories to a credulous anti-War press, staffed by people who will swallow any story that suits their biases.

It’s a staggering story of media incompetence (which is the nicest thing I can think to say about it) and about the effect that incompetence has on the US’s ability to win this war. You’ll want to read it all here, at Curt’s back-up site, which he set up to handling the overwhelming traffic flowing in from LGF, Michelle Malkin, Captain’s Quarters, Lucienne, and longtail bloggers — that is, the rest of us out there.

By the way, as you read this whole story — and I hope you broadcast it widely — keep in mind what Michael Novak wrote in the Weekly Standard before this story broke:

If I were an Islamist, a terrorist, a sworn foe of democracy, here is what I think I would have learned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is what I would write down in my hard-earned manual of instruction.

BY THE WILL OF ALLAH, in all wars to come, may it prepare our brave martyrs for combat operations!Today, the purpose of war is sharply political, not military; psychological, not physical. The main purpose of war is to dominate the way the enemy imagines and thinks about the war. Warfare is not, these days, won on a grand field of battle. Nor is it won by the force that wins series after series of military victories. Nor is triumph assured by killing far higher numbers of the enemy. The physical side of warfare no longer holds precedence.The primary battlefield today lies in the minds of opposing publics.The main strategic aim of war today is to dominate the mind of the enemy’s public, and then ultimately to dominate the mind of that public’s leaders.***What we have discovered in Iraq is the weakest link in the ability of the United States to sustain military operations overseas. That link is the U.S. media. They are Islamists’ best friends.Experience shows that the mainstream press of the United States is alienated from the U.S. military. In addition, the American press is extremely vulnerable to anti-U.S. propaganda. Thus, the American public will be fed nearly everything that foreign adversaries–our band of brothers–wish to feed it about the war. Therefore, I write: Maxim # 1: To defeat America, impose upon the imagination of its media your own storyline.

I’ll reiterate what I said above: Please, broadcast, broadcast, broadcast, whether through your blog or in emails you send to friends. Either the MSM will not correct itself, which means it’s up to the bloggers to spread the truth, or, if sufficient bloggers agitate, maybe the MSM will get the story that, once again, it is the story.

One more thing: whenever you come across this story on the internet, be sure to click the or digg it, or any other social networking icon available on a given post, in order to give this story greater blog strength. You’ll see, for example, that Curt has a whole number of social networking links you can use. | digg it


24 Responses

  1. Thank you for posting Bookworm. I have not had the opportunity to do a lot of blog reading lately and would have missed this altogether! It is no longer amazing to me what the MSM will print as fact. If it works for them, it gets printed.

  2. […] [Discuss this topic with Bookworm] […]

  3. The war in Iraq (and largely the war on terror) is illegal,immoral,incompetent,evil,and has increased the strength and effectiveness of terrorism at least 10 thousand times. If foreign invaders speaking foreign languages attacked our American homeland we would continue to fight to the death for generations to come until we caused the retreat of the enemy invader. Our Arab brothers and sisters in the middle east are no different, they are human beings just like us and their behavior does not make them evil–it just makes them human. Neocons obviously believe they are American even before they are human beings. Don’t blame the media for an incredibly stupid decision to invade and continue to occupy Iraq! We are losing this war because human beings all over this world believe it is wrong!

    “The rebellion against the neocons couldn’t have come at a more crucial time. Today, the question is posed pointblank: do we want to fight for our old republic, or will we go the way of empire? That more conservatives have decided to fight has the neocons in a panic. The American Right is on to their game. It is even possible that, one day soon, the conservative movement will be liberated from the Ba’athist-style conformity imposed by its neocon overseers. In moving toward that day, our best ally are people like [insert neocon bookwormroom bloggers], whose arrogance and hectoring style have alienated the conservative mainstream. Good work, guys. Please keep it up.”—–Justin Raimondo

  4. Clarification: The fact that most people believe this war is wrong is not even close to the only reason why we are losing it. Among other reasons we are losing, extremely incompetent military decisions have been the key to it’s failure to achieve imperialist objectives.

  5. One more thing, if the US media is the weakest link in a war to achieve neo-imperialist objectives, then I would assume most necons would be pretty pissed off at President Bush and his idiotic administration for their failure to understand the complexities of this war and their true enemies. Maybe the solution for y’all is to take away freedom of speech in the USA! There’s an idea I’m sure would help your cause! I’m absolutely positive the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld and Oliver North have already attempted to suspend the constitution!–And that was in the 1980’s. I can’t imagine what they’re attempting to do nowadays when it comes to our constitutional rights.

  6. Hmmm…let’s see – your (not my) very human Iraqi “Brothers and sisters” hate us so much for coming into their country that they’ve opted to kill…their fellow Iraqis. Yup, makes sense to me. Uh-huh! Sorry about those constitutional rights, by the way. Are you emailing us from GITMO? If so, how’s the food? Are they giving you your proper meds?

  7. Danny. 1860-1863.American Civil War…you might want to look into that before degrading people about the way they kill their fellow citizens. And yes, Jesus taught me that all human beings are my brothers and sisters, even Iraqis. It’s a Christian thing. You may not understand.

  8. Sounds like Novak’s been reading my 2005 notes on the war.

    I was reading NeoNeocon’s post about Vietnam. But only her posts on a Mind is Hard to Change, not her blog. During the 2004-2005 time period. It wasn’t until late 2005 that I started reading and commenting on her blog regularly. Her psychological perspective was what I needed to put the war in context. Combined with psychological warfare, Sun Tzu, guerrila warfare principles, historical guerrila warfares, etc it provided me a knowledge template from which to understand instead of just see.

    BigAl’s just another crusader for the Radiant Heart of Self-righteousness you see a lot from the Left. There are these connections. I’ve said before there are some people who put up slogans that sound right, about liberty and equality and fraternity, but then you see the first riot in Paris and it all goes down the tube. Fake slogans.

    The hate that comes from that police shooting of the soon to be black husband, is spiky. But then you realize that the Sunnis and Shias torture and execute hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi family members each year, each month, each day. We have to wonder why they aren’t rioting and looting already. And if the hate from the NY police shooting is bad, just imagine why it isn’t exploding in Iraq with more fury. The ability to manipulate and create false grievances are not limited to some Middle Eastern Arabs. You can do it with any minority, or any majority. White guilt. Judging a person’s racism based upon the color of his skin when he says the n word instead of the content of his character. It never changes. Humanity never changes. That’s why reading Neo Neocon, a family therapist, was so useful to me. Open the third eye.

  9. Also, I just heard Bush right now. And he said that “iraq is a sovereign” nation. It just reflects his psychological profile, which is consistent with what I’ve derived. He says what he means and means what he says. when he said that he would give Iraq sovereignty, he meant it. However, that’s not a good thing. Because Bush seems to believe that sovereignty means being occupied and protected by America. Now to Bush, that looks like sovereignty. But I don’t believe any nation that can’t protect their citizens and are being invaded by foreign nations, Syria and Iran, can ever be called “sovereign”. That’d be like the Founding Fathers declaring sovereignty after not being able to expulse the British occupation troops on Colonial soil.

    Bush wants to not be an Empire so bad that he just wants to kick the kids out the door as fast as possible. But to him, leaving would be dishonorable, and not giving sovereignty would be dishonorable too. Except, if you don’t leave, then they can’t be sovereign, and if you are still there, then you can’t give them sovereignty. I don’t know what why Bush’s logic is internally consistent to him, but to me, his illogic affects a lot of the war strategy. Including the media thing. When your logic is bad, you start treating things as how you want them to be instead of how they actually are.

    So Bush treats the media as a friend or just someone he has to deal with, when both are not true. Bush treats Iraq as a sovereign nation, thereby listening to Iraqis about Fallujah and Al Sadr martyrs, when that isn’t the truth and which in fact he should not listen.

    It is okay for the President of the US to mouth platitudes as Roosevelt did about no foreign wars. Action is what matters. When Bush’s action is consistent with his illogic, problems occur.

    And Bush still hasn’t learned how to play the cloak and daggers diplomatic game he has been thrust in. He talks about how Iran can get to the table by verifying enrichment freezes. Wow, Bush, that’s a great negotiating tool. Tell your enemy exactly what you want in a negotiation. Great way to get ripped off. Iran knows the deal. They talk about how they want the US to not be bullies, how they want the US to respect Iran. Iran knows how to play the game. Which is played by demanding for things that you Don’t. Really. Need. That way, you can back off to what you really want, and not lose face or position. Never accept the first offer, as they say in haggling. Diplomacy is just haggling with the military ready to execute the loser.

    The US can play this game as well if we had competent diplomats. Iran still has F-14s that we gave to the Shah. We want them back. Just like Iran wants nuclear plants to generate nuclear power. Eh. We want the Iranian “student” hostage takers too, btw. You never, ever, tell your opponent what you really really want, or are willing to settle for at the end. Bush=too honest. He doesn’t play that game. Too bad for the US, and a lucky break for our enemies.

  10. Some of the illogic was explained via Hamlet here. I didn’t read Hamlet, so I can’t tell you anything about it, but if you did read Hamlet, you might find this doubly interesting.

    If I could advise President Bush, I’d tell him to stop acting like a deer caught in headlights. Be as decisive as you were right after 9/11. Your mistakes aren’t crimes. And your right actions outnumber them. In fact, fundamentally, your actions are sound as a bell and leading us in the right direction. So, backbone, sir. Don’t let moral persecution bully you and paralyse you. Take decisive action.

    Think instead about those of us who say, no, that you are a good and decent man. Don’t we speak up and say that often enough? You have us dead to rights there. I, for one, am sorry. And I’m saying it now: I know that you are a good and decent man with his priorities straight and that your mistakes are not acts of ill will. And I urge all intellectually honest Americans to speak up and say so, too.

    I like decisive action. But I also recognize that Bush’s good nature, also prevents him from being decisive. Ah. Here we go again.

    I don’t often praise Bush’s “good nature”, not because I think it is non-existent, but because I don’t want it to exist. I would prefer a far more ruthless leader with less focus on “morality”. Unfortunately, we get Teddy’s sucessor, instead of Teddy himself. I don’t even think Bush himself believes in pre-emption anymore. He certainly doesn’t seem to be attacking Iran or Syria, even when he knows they are killing Americans in Iraq.

    Would Teddy Roosevelt would been satisfied with this? I think not.

  11. BigAl, I don’t have time to address all your points, but I do want to say something about your thought that neocons should just take away free speech. My bone with the media isn’t about speech, which I think is a great gift. It’s about dishonest speech — forged military documents, false photos, credulously believing enemy propaganda. That’s not the freedom of speech that the Founders envisioned. It’s stupidity and, sometimes, evil. It should be exposed in the market place and allowed to rot.

  12. If foreign invaders speaking foreign languages attacked our American homeland we would continue to fight to the death for generations to come until we caused the retreat of the enemy invader.

    This is so ignorant of military history, that I won’t even write about it, except probably copy and paste from a science fiction book I read.

    If anyone can get through to the people like BigAl, it is the neocons, and by which I mean Bookworm and Neo-Neocon. They are far more tolerant of the Left than I am. Such moderation and fortitude is commendable on Bookworm’s part, but of which I take no part in.

  13. Suffice it to say that you can read about why BigAl is wrong about this “fighting to the death” thing here. Many people and nations have said that they would fight to the death. The bluster of a foolish youngling.

    Honor and Duty

    Mixes a bit of Battlestar Galactica space opera with Japanese WWII history. Weird, I know.

    I’ve heard a lot from people talking about “fighting to the death” or what not. But they will always break when their will to fight is broken. All humans do that.

  14. BW.
    The basis of free speech is that speech itself is not violent in nature and therefore people should be able to say what they feel without the fear of being jailed for it. You rightly point out, that as a consequence of free speech…false statements, false information, and false evidence can be put forth that is accepted as truths by people who do not verify the the accuracy of the speech. And then they go out and do things like vote based on this information. We live in a society where it is the responsibility of the recipients of information (the electorate) to determine the accuracy. Any other way of doing it would mean that someone in the government or someone else or a group of people would take it upon themselves to decide what is true and what is false information–and leave the individual out of the equation.

    In fact, someone might say that your website is bad information and shut it down instead of letting your visitors decide for themselves whether it is good or bad, true or false, honest or dishonest. In a free market economy, people are supposed get to choose where they spend their money instead of the government distributing their wealth for them. In a free society, people should be able to distribute and receive information freely instead of the government distributing the information for them. They should be able to decide for themselves if the information on your blogs is true or false.

    If there is a problem caused by massive amounts of people in society believing something that isn’t true, then that is a problem of lack of education amongst the people receiving the information. It makes more sense to me that we need to invest education (please be private) at all socio-economic levels of our electorate rather than restrict freedom of speech! To me, I always thought this was how capitalism was supposed to work. I still do.

    And make no mistake, there are many many many neoconservatives like Newt Gingrich who are openly advocating the restriction of free speech (not temporary changes to our constitution, PERMANENT) in the name of things like the war on terror. To somehow believe that freedom of speech can be limited to only what is “honest” without completely stripping our constitutional rights and increasing the potential for police state and massive oppression is illogical in itself. Because who gets to decide what is honest and what is not? Just like with the redistribution of wealth..Who gets to decide who gets the money? Politicians? Yeah, we all know how honest they can be.

    With freedom comes responsibility. Personal responsibility–like the republicans said throughout their campaign in 1994–led by Gingrich. Have they forgotten what they supposedly stood for? Or was it just a campaign slogan? I guarantee you they are losing the votes of many libertarian conservatives every time they mention the restriction of free speech or habeus corpus or any of our constitutional rights. Last I checked, fiscal libertarian conservatives made up a significant percentage of the republican base. Not for long if this keeps up!

  15. There is also this shrink piece.

    Very nice psychological analysis by a therapist. A head shrinker, ah! Gotta watch out for those.

    Btw, Newt would be focusing on safe speech, not honest speech, when he is refering to new rules for terrorists using the internet. These speech are designed to increase actual physical violence and to perpetuate it. You can limit the speech of your enemies, or they can limit yours by destroying a city. Your choice.

    Otherwise known as sedition during war time. Nothing Roosevelt didn’t do in spades or even Lincoln. And yet we aren’t in the police state BigAl thinks we would be in if such tactics are used. Makes one wonder.

    Honestly, I don’t really think most of the Republican base would blink an eye if Bush ordered all of the GitMo guys executed by firing squad in 24 hours.

    Sure, some Christian pacifists might express outrage, but most Christians know that God will judge the just and the unjust.

  16. Hi BigAl – came back a little late to this thread. FYI – the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, not 1863, the Civil War was waged between armies and not against civilians (other than actions undertaken by irregulars and vigilantes that were condemned by both sides) and Christianity doesn’t say anything about excusing barbarism. With regard to “neo-cons” and Gingrich advocating to restrict your right free-speech, show us where and how? The only attacks on free speech that I have come across have been from the thugs on the Left.

  17. NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: My view is that either before we lose a city, or if we are truly stupid after we lose a city, we will adopt rules of engagement that we use every technology we can find to break up their capacity to use the Internet, to break up their capacity to use free speech, and to go after people who want to kill us, to stop them from recruiting people before they get to reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while destroying us.

    I want to suggest to you that we right now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of, if it were not for the scale of this threat.” That’s one quote.

    “This is a serious, long-term war,” Gingrich added, “and it will inevitably lead us to want to know what is said in every suspect place in the country. It will lead us to learn how to close down every Web site that is dangerous.”

  18. Danny. I do apologize for my mis-step on the dates of the Civil War. I should have caught that before submitting my comment. I believe you are over-simplifying by assuming a modern Civil-War in the USA would be between two armies like the last one was more than 140 years ago—and not between civillians or anything like the one we see in Iraq. To say a modern civil war in America would be any less barbaric than the one we see in Iraq is a pretty big assumption. And it’s all a matter of opinion as to what is barbaric– I think shooting missiles into a foreign city and killing thousands of innocent civillians is pretty barbaric itself. Christianity demands that we strive for peace by working for justice. What the USA has done to Iraq and to the Iraqi people is not justice.

  19. Y said:Btw, Newt would be focusing on safe speech, not honest speech, when he is referring to new rules for terrorists using the internet. These speech are designed to increase actual physical violence and to perpetuate it. You can limit the speech of your enemies, or they can limit yours by destroying a city. Your choice.
    Otherwise known as sedition during war time. Nothing Roosevelt didn’t do in spades or even Lincoln. And yet we aren’t in the police state BigAl thinks we would be in if such tactics are used. Makes one wonder.

    So here are my questions:

    Who gets to decide what is safe speech and what is not safe?

    Are you suggesting we need to trust the government?
    –yeah, that’s a real conservative principle.Trust the government….Hah hah 🙂


    How long will this war last? (how long will our constitutional rights need to be suspended?)

    10. 12 years. 50 years? How long will the government get to restrict our free speech or only allow SAFE speech?

    And once again, who gets to make these decisions about what is safe?

    Who gets this power?

    I don’t believe the restriction of free speech is a very SAFE idea, but I will not try to take away your right to say it.

  20. I am honestly shocked that I am arguing with a bunch of self-proclaimed conservatives about whether we should trust the government to restrict speech. Seems like defending the first ammendment would be one thing that all real conservatives would agree on. Makes one wonder.

  21. To your right– Check out Captain’s Quarters: Gingrich: First Amendment Is Dispensable

  22. “I think shooting missiles into a foreign city and killing thousands of innocent civillians is pretty barbaric itself.”

    You are pretty barbaric on your own, Big Bombast.. I mean–BIG AL! Your morality is as shallow as your exhortation.

    Al-Sadr needs you a lot more than we do. Go on over to Iraq/Iran; help your terrorist friends up close and leave the rest of us in peace.

    ONe of your terror gang buddies has taken the wind of your sails (..hard to do) with this news item. (He sounds just like you!) Iran’s terror leader and the Democrats do make a good couple.

    ‘Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a letter to the American people on Wednesday, accused their government of “coercion, force and injustice”

    Ahmadinejad’s five-page letter… cautioned the Democratic Party that, after gaining control of the U.S. Congress, they would be “held to account by the people and by history.”‘

  23. BigAl, I share your sentiment that sending a missile to obliterate a city would be an atrocity. However, sometimes atrocities are necessities of war (Tokyo, Hiroshima, Dresden) because the alternatives (Dachau, Nanking) are even worse. My antipathy to pacifists and people of the Left is that their pro-terrorist, pro-Bathist, pro-fascist sentiments in the name of “peace” make these atrocities ever more likely to occur. The point of the war in Iraq is to stave off a potentially much bigger, much more atrocious world war that is currently taking shape between islamo-fascism and a big part of the rest of the world. Too often, the anti-war people have proven themselves to be enablers of war (e.g., Chamberlain in 1938), self-congratulatory sentiments notwithstanding. With regard to Gingrich, he is saying that those that actively plot or promote the destruction of the U.S. and its citizens should be actively restricted in their speech. It used to be, not long ago, that this went without saying. It was called “treason”, or “incitement to violence”.

  24. Who gets to decide what is safe speech and what is not safe?

    Pelosi. Or the President. Whoever gets on top of the other.

    Are you suggesting we need to trust the government?

    Al, you already trust the government far more than I do.

    10. 12 years. 50 years? How long will the government get to restrict our free speech or only allow SAFE speech?

    Getting a tad paranoid?

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