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.