Monday, April 18, 2005

Remember Iraq?

I find it hard to get info on what's really going on in Iraq from U.S. media -- it's good to get a different perspective than the uniform one that essentially comes straight from the military. As to why you can't trust the U.S. media reports:

With US networks largely confined to their hotels in Baghdad by fear of kidnapping, it is possible to sell the American public the idea that no news is good news.

As to why you shouldn't trust what the military tells the journalists:
Most violent incidents in Iraq go unreported. We saw one suicide bomb explosion, clouds of smoke and dust erupting into the air, and heard another in the space of an hour. Neither was mentioned in official reports. Last year US soldiers told the IoS (Independent on Sunday) that they do not tell their superiors about attacks on them unless they suffer casualties. This avoids bureaucratic hassle and "our generals want to hear about the number of attacks going down not up". This makes the official Pentagon claim that the number of insurgent attacks is down from 140 a day in January to 40 a day this month dubious.
I could go on about what a poor decision it was to invade Iraq, the effect of the media selling its soul to become embedded with the military, the Bush admistration's eagerness to change its tune as to the mission in Iraq when no WMDs were found, and the American public's unwillingness to hold the people who made such decisions accountable, but all that is in the past, done and can't be undone. I would be ecstatic if the U.S. military succeeded in creating a stable democracy in Iraq, but I don't see it happening. The U.S. will be withdrawing most of its forces over the next couple of years, because the last thing any Republican wants is to have over 120,000 troops still over there come election time. The insurgents are content to wait out the United States, and it's clear that unless something drastically changes, the new Iraqi police/military will lack the ability to defend itself, much less the country, against the insurgents.

It saddens me that the American public has largely turned their attention away from what's still going on over there -- the only things you hear about over there are (1) government is forming (good), (2) casualties (bad but has to be reported), or (3) kidnappings (bad but has to be reported). We as a country made a bad decision to put/keep Bush in office, but people don't want to be troubled with the repercussions, particularly when they don't directly affect them.

1 comment:

Lory said...

At least not all Americans are ignoring what is going on! Thanks, Aaron!
As a military spouse, we have many friends who are still keeping up with as much as they can as they have spouses who are there now, going soon or have just returned. It's a different environment, to say the least. Active duty soldiers, in large part, still support the effort as they have all along. My husband and I never agree on politics and I find it disturbing on one end that he can agree with Bush on anything let alone so many things.
Having said that however, we need people who are willing to put their lives on the line for our country when it is necessary and they need to have a strong faith in their commander-in-chief in order to do that.
I wonder of some of the American apathy has resulted from people not wanting the soldiers to come home to find that their country does not support what they're doing.