The silence was deafening and the seats were empty. The western press was nowhere to be found. The location was Baghdad and the event was a February 10th, 2006 press conference announcing the final verification of December’s election results. Although the final allocation of parliamentary seats did not change from last month’s tentative reports, the conference was nonetheless significant for American and Iraqi history. What was equally significant was the absence of members of the western press.
If the pre-release of the topics to be discussed included reports of widespread voter fraud, complaints by detained terrorists of maltreatment, or a sudden clamoring for the return of the deadly former dictator, certainly, the major news networks and the print media would have found time to attend. Of course, their reports would have consisted of their own preconceived failure of western-style elections in a part of the world that they deem to be unprepared for democracy. Since they were unable to report a “disastrous” event of this war, apparently, their budgets did not allow for attendance in Baghdad.
The true significance of this announcement is the underlying theme that the anti-war crowd refuses to recognize: the war has been successful and there is verifiable progress within the country of Iraq.
And Robert C.J. Parry, a first lieutenant in the California Army National Guard's 1-184 Infantry, writes about "The War You Didn't See":
Our unit — supposedly just a band of weekend warriors from the National Guard — was selected by the Army's renowned 3rd Infantry Division to take on its primary challenge: taking control of a sector of south Baghdad that was home to leading Baathists and Al Qaeda fanatics. In that capacity, we conducted more than 7,000 combat patrols totaling nearly half a million man-hours. We captured more insurgents in one month than did whole brigades. We stand nominated (with the rest of our brigade) for a Valorous Unit Award.
But instead, people who didn't know the first thing about us trumpeted the misdeeds of a handful of young men who scoffed at the concepts of honor and duty that our commander invoked.
At dawn on the June day that that story broke, we awakened to the deep reverberation of a complex attack — five car bombs and at least three subsequent ambushes designed to hit those who responded — in an adjacent sector. The 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment was in a hot fight. Our Alpha Company — a part of our battalion, based in Fullerton — rallied to 3-7's aid. The company fought through ambushes to find, kill and capture terrorists. For a few hours, the men of Killer Company, as we call Alpha, were heroes.
But that night, amid rumor and whisper, the Alpha soldiers were taken off patrol and isolated. Within days we knew the ugly story. Months earlier, it seems, shortly after we arrived in Iraq, a few of Alpha's young NCOs had abused a group of Iraqi detainees.
Whatever the case, in the end, only three went to prison for their role in the abuse, all for short terms. The others received minor administrative punishments, and our commander — a schoolteacher, poet and a man of noble values — was sent elsewhere. The facts did not live up to the hype, but the hype was what we, and you, were left with.
While our Delta Company patrolled a stretch of Baghdad road where five of our soldiers were eventually killed, people who had never set foot in Iraq were quoted about our performance. People who rarely left the safety of an operations base damaged our reputations. We never flinched in a fight, but we were smeared nonetheless.
What none of us could explain was why no reporter actually met a single 184th soldier in Iraq until November. Even that only came after the tragic death of our new commander, Col. Wood, an amazing active-duty officer who held us together and made us strong again. Whether it was some form of politics or simply the realities of journalism in war, I do not know. The hype was all that mattered.
Like a patient with a case of hysterical blindness, the mainstream media, blunders along in its reporting of the Iraq War. Determined to be blind to anything postive or even barely suggestive of the slightest deviation from the quagmire template; the media continue to hype the negative--without context; without the slightest knowledge of military culture or tactics.
In their willful denial of reality, the media have only two acceptable formulas with which to write about military personnel: They are either (a) helpless victims of an oppressive military heirarchy who sends them into battle without training; without armor; without hope; so as to maximize their deaths; or (b) ruthless, homicidal psychopathic oppressors who mistreat women, children, prisoners and kill for the fun of it.
The formula that is chosen for any given story depends on which of the two points about the Iraq war the journalist or TV newsperson wants to get across: either (1)Bush has sent these poor oppressed, untrained and poorly armed soldiers into a hopeless situation that cannot possibly be won; or (2) Bush and the U.S. are the real oppressors and terrorists of the world.
When the media are really on a roll, they can manage to include both of the above formulas in the same story.
Cori Dauber, whose invaluable blog RantingProfs noted this recently in a post titled "You Can't Make This Up":
The Post has an article about the virtual closing of the Syrian-Iraqi border. And does the reporter explain how this was one of the main routes used by foreign fighters looking to enter Iraq in order to marytyr themselves while killing either innocent Iraqis or American soldiers? Does the reporter discuss how critical closing this border was believed to be by the American military?
She talks about how this has economically devastated the small villages along the border that depended on the income brought in by smuggling.
Why, all their donkeys are dying or dead.
I mean, honest to God you could not make this up
In my entire adult life, I have never witnessed such an unbelievable smear job of unrelenting and unadulterated bias and ideological bullshit that passes itself off as some kind adherence to "higher" journalistic standards. The same kind of "higher" standards that preclude publishing banal cartoon drawings of Mohammed; or showing the ruthless inhuman behavior of our enemy--out of "sensitivity"; but which eagerly makes front page news of fake Koran flushings and Abu Ghraib photos.
There is nothing about the left and its media pets that enrages me more than the double-dealing, hypocritical, and obscene moral relativity that has taken the place of critical judgment and honesty.
And as they all sit around congratulating themselves on speaking "truth" to power; history continues to go unreported.