Today’s mainstream media view of Iraq
A run down of the top news stories in the main stream media with regards to Iraq.
The New York Times’ top story today for the Middle East, Militants Said to Flee Before U.S.Offensive, paints an unflattering picture of the current operations on-going in Iraq after a week of implementation. The Times report says that over 80% of the hi-level Al-Qaeda leaders left Baquba just before the new American offensive began last week. The Times compared the events to similar events that occurred during the 2004 offensive in Fallujah. The Times quoted Lt. General Raymond T. Odierno, the 2nd ranking American Commander in Iraq:
“leaders of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia had been alerted to the Baquba offensive by widespread public discussion of the American plan to clear the city before the attack began. He portrayed the Qaeda leaders’ escape as cowardice, saying that “when the fight comes, they leave,” abandoning “midlevel” Qaeda leaders and fighters to face the might of American troops — just, he said, as they did in Falluja.”
The Washington Times reports report focuses on the operation in and near Baquba. The report, “Army anticipates resistance in Iraq’s North,” says thousands of American soldiers are in a fight to the “death” with hundreds of “militants.”
“It is house to house, block to block, street to street, sewer to sewer,” said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, commander of Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Iraq’s Diyala province.
The Chicago Tribune ran two stories. The first one dealt with the war in Iraq. The article , “Roadside bombs kill 7 U.S. troops in Iraq.” Of the seven troops killed by the IEDs, four were in killed in the same explosion. The article went on to say that two top al-Qaeda operatives were captured in the Diayla Province and 3 militants were captured in Sadr City that are suspected to have ties to Iran.
The second story, “Vets: Military attacking free speech,” dealt with soldiers, Marines, who had served in Iraq. One had served two tours and was disabled. The soldiers violated the UCMJ by participating in ant-war protests while wearing part of their uniforms. They are now on reserve status.
Perhaps the most telling part of such criticism is how open disgruntled troops are becoming despite the risk to their careers—signing their names to furious letters printed in military-owned newspapers; speaking on the record to reporters in Iraq about how badly the mission is going; writing members of Congress. And then there are the protests in uniform, a throwback to the Vietnam War era, when veterans such as Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) denounced the war in weathered fatigues, throwing away their medals.
Many of the protests involving vets in uniform are all-out street theater, like one in Washington last spring where protesters staged a mock patrol, manhandling people at simulated gunpoint in order to illustrate how they say Iraqis are treated by American troops. Just last week in Chicago, a similar protest took place. The intended subtext of the uniformed protests is apparent: that protesters have additional credibility because they are denouncing a war they have witnessed firsthand, that the very uniforms now being used in protest have walked the real-life battlefield.
“Guys like us—veterans who served but then came to believe the war is not only wrong but illegal—are not who the military wants speaking on a national stage,” Madden said
All I can say about these soldiers is I would be ashamed to be compared in any way to Senator John Kerry. First off, he didn’t really throw away his medals. Secondly, there is still doubt he even “earned” those medals.
I realize that many of our troops have served several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know these multiple tours have had their toll on both the troops and their families. But what would these troops have done during World Wars I and II where deployments lasted the duration of the war? I am sorry, but I have no sympathy for these men. The demean all our other troops who are serving or have served in this war; and, they endanger the lives of those still in combat by aiding the enemy. They enemy uses this type of information to bring in more fighters and improve the morale of their fighters. What about the morale of all our troops still fighting? Isn’t that important, too?
The LA Times had a story on their World new section. The story, “In Iraq, Role of tribes divisive.” says nothing about the current operations in Iraq. It does however give an excellent insight into the mindset of the tribal clans in Iraq. The U.S.Commanders have been working more and more closely with these leaders with surprisingly good results at times. Some tribal leaders have begun to help the Coalition with intel and fighting Al-Qaeda. The one draw back is the Iraqi government is afraid the tribes, many of whose members have joined the police department and military, now have weaponry which can be used to help form tribal militias. The fear is a bunch of tribal militias like Sadr, that do not promote nationalism. All in all, this was a pretty good article. Though I am sure the Times didn’t necessarily plan it to be!
So, there you have it. The mainstream media accounting of what “they” consider important in Iraq right now. Next I’ll give a run down about the Operations going on new and the progress to date in another post.