The news about the news from Iraq

In the past few days, I’ve done posts in which I asked readers more knowledgeable than I to comment about two New York Times articles that (a) had military personnel criticizing the Surge or (b) had military personnel criticizing military leadership. After having read those two posts, one of my regular readers, who is part of the military and who has access to primary information about Iraq, sent me the following email, which he authorized me to pass on to you:


I had occasion to talk to a member of the military staff in Iraq a few weeks ago while he was here in the States. We got into a discussion on the bad news orientation that one gets here in the US about the whole Iraqi process (not a war that was won, but the attempts to bring peace and order to a country that did not have a democratic tradition). He made a couple of comments to me over a few days that really stuck in my mind.

First, when I asked about the negative press, his response was “What press are you looking at?” This kind of took me by surprise, then he went on to say that he, as part of his job, reviewed Iraqi and Arab press. He told me that there were events on Al Jazeera which the military wanted to get into the Iraqi environment. The amazing thing was that this was before the military had started its efforts, through interviews, press stories and individual soldiers talking and interacting with the Iraqi populace.

The next thing he told me about was the Arabic language paper he saw in the headquarters that had English translations hand written over the headlines. These were not particularly praising of the US efforts, but were overall favorable. No coverage of supposed demonstrations, no ranting and raving about all the civilians killed, and certainly nothing about the US trying to take over the oil in Iraq.

I have not been to Iraq, but have many friends and acquaintances that have. It is not a bad news story. One could never understand that after viewing the MSM over the past year or four. I do find it interesting that two left of center analysts write a positive report in the NYT and suddenly the approval ratings go up. Power of the Press, you bet.

Thanks for being my ear.

Interesting, no? Also sad.  It’s pathetic when the semi-enemy media is more favorable to you, and understanding of your objectives, than your own media is.


5 Responses

  1. Whether Al Jazeera is more favorable to us or not is debatable. What they do have is more limitations.

    It is harder to craft forgeries when the real thing is so close at hand. This is true for Al jazeera and any other media organization in the Middle East, and especially Iraq. Even if they wanted to craft some lies or whatever, the Iraqis would know instantly that it isn’t right. Or not completely right. Here in the US, it is easier to create forgeries and pass them off as real.

    It isn’t as easy as it might have once been in such olden days as Vietnam, mind you, but it is still easier than for the Iraqi media and perhaps the Ayrab media as a whole.

  2. You can’t be serious. Talk to someone who has just come back from a tour of duty. I don’t know what your friend does over there. Has he fired a weapon? I have over a thousand photos that I got from a medic in Baghdad. You should see them. Mangled, wounded, amputated, you name it. Over 27,000 seriously wounded American soldiers to date. You don’t think they might be critical. Watch your best friend get blown up. Then watch the next ten. Come on.

  3. What does the number of wounded have to do with anything in the above post? If you keep to topic, it makes discussion easier.

  4. Where is obviously wracked by guilt and depression from seeing the costs of war. That doesn’t mean he should try to spread the misery around, though, even if monkeys do it.

  5. I have over a thousand photos that I got from a medic in Baghdad.

    Just keep looking at those thousands of photos, Where. Eventually it might or might not crack your mind. Just fair warning.

    Even doctors have to take a break from the carnage of the ER room once in awhile.

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