A Marine squad was marching north of Basra when they came upon an
Iraqi soldier badly injured and unconscious. Nearby, on the opposite
side of the road, was an American Marine in a similar but less
serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert. As first aid was
given to both men, the Marine was asked what had happened.
The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the
highway and coming south was a heavily armed Iraqi soldier." "Seeing
each other we both took cover."
"What happened then?" the Corpsman asked.
"I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable low life slug,
and he yelled back: "Teddy Kennedy is miserable slime ball'. "
"We were standing there shaking hands when a truck hit us."
"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child -
miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied,
demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless.
Liberalism is a philosphy of sniveling brats." -- P.J. O'Rourke
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush is drawing heat over a
$40 million (21.5 million pound) splurge on inaugural balls, concerts and
candlelight dinners while the country is in a sombre mood because of the
Iraq war and Asian tsunami.
As Bush prepares for his second-term inauguration on Thursday, his supporters
plan to celebrate with fireworks and three days of parties, including a "Black
and Boots" ball and nine other balls.
Critics say the lavish celebrations are unseemly when U.S. troops face daily
in Iraq and Americans are being urged to donate money to alleviate the suffering
Asia, where the December 26 tsunami killed 163,000 people.
Jan 17, 2005 - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush said on Monday he
would not rule out military action against Iran if that country was not more
forthcoming about its suspected nuclear weapons program.
I missed the staff meeting but the minutes show Gunner
in rec.crafts.metalworking :
As I read on a couple blogs, and heard from some of the people who have
been over there, the troops are doing what they do, so that we can have the
party 'for them'. Combat troops tend to be a bit 'weird"'. The Marines
spent the USMC 'birthday' in combat in Fallujah. Not as snazzy as grilling
steaks, but if you couldn't grill steaks, what better way to mark the
occasions than killing the nations enemies and taking their stuff?
The US Army has a tradition of firing a salute on the 4th of July. One
salute per state. In 1944, when asked about continuing the hoary tradition,
General Brady decided that every gun would fire a salute, for a massive
Time On Target barrage at high noon. A lot of figuring, but 1100 guns fired
a salute on the Krauts, 1200 4 July 1944. "Oohrah!"
I love these people who seem to prefer sackcloth and ashes while we're
at war. "As long as one person is suffering, I too will suffer." Okay, but
can you kindly go be morose somewhere else?
Hells bells, it is said of the English that were a great earthquake to
strike and destroy the country, they would still manage to stop for Dinner
in the midst of the rubble.
as an explaination for the decline in the US's tech edge, James
Maybe if people knew the truth over there they could celebrate.
Media's coverage has distorted world's view of Iraqi reality
By LTC Tim Ryan
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Editors' Note : LTC Tim Ryan is Commander, Task Force 2-12 Cavalry,
First Cavalry Division in Iraq. He led troops into battle in Fallujah
late last year and is now involved in security operations for the
upcoming elections. He wrote the following during "down time" after
the Fallujah operation. His views are his own.
All right, I've had enough. I am tired of reading distorted and
grossly exaggerated stories from major news organizations about the
"failures" in the war in Iraq. "The most trusted name in news" and a
long list of others continue to misrepresent the scale of events in
Iraq. Print and video journalists are covering only a fraction of the
events in Iraq and, more often than not, the events they cover are
The inaccurate picture they paint has distorted the world view of the
daily realities in Iraq. The result is a further erosion of
international support for the United States' efforts there, and a
strengthening of the insurgents' resolve and recruiting efforts while
weakening our own. Through their incomplete, uninformed and
unbalanced reporting, many members of the media covering the war in
Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy.
The fact is the Coalition is making steady progress in Iraq, but not
without ups and downs. So why is it that no matter what events
unfold, good or bad, the media highlights mostly the negative aspects
of the event? The journalistic adage, "If it bleeds, it leads," still
applies in Iraq, but why only when it's American blood?
As a recent example, the operation in Fallujah delivered an
absolutely devastating blow to the insurgency. Though much smaller in
scope, clearing Fallujah of insurgents arguably could equate to the
Allies' breakout from the hedgerows in France during World War II. In
both cases, our troops overcame a well-prepared and solidly
entrenched enemy and began what could be the latter's last stand. In
Fallujah, the enemy death toll has exceeded 1,500 and still is
climbing. Put one in the win column for the good guys, right? Wrong.
As soon as there was nothing negative to report about Fallujah, the
media shifted its focus to other parts of the country.
More recently, a major news agency's website lead read: "Suicide
Bomber Kills Six in Baghdad" and "Seven Marines Die in Iraq Clashes."
True, yes. Comprehensive, no. Did the author of this article bother
to mention that Coalition troops killed 50 or so terrorists while
incurring those seven losses? Of course not. Nor was there any
mention about the substantial progress these offensive operations
continue to achieve in defeating the insurgents. Unfortunately, this
sort of incomplete reporting has become the norm for the media, whose
poor job of presenting a complete picture of what is going on in Iraq
borders on being criminal.
Much of the problem is about perspective, putting things in scale and
balance. What if domestic news outlets continually fed American
readers headlines like: "Bloody Week on U.S. Highways: Some 700
Killed," or "More Than 900 Americans Die Weekly from Obesity-Related
Diseases"? Both of these headlines might be true statistically, but
do they really represent accurate pictures of the situations? What if
you combined all of the negatives to be found in the state of Texas
and used them as an indicator of the quality of life for all Texans?
Imagine the headlines: "Anti-law Enforcement Elements Spread Robbery,
Rape and Murder through Texas Cities." For all intents and purposes,
this statement is true for any day of any year in any state. True -
yes, accurate - yes, but in context with the greater good taking
place - no! After a year or two of headlines like these, more than a
few folks back in Texas and the rest of the U.S. probably would be
ready to jump off of a building and end it all. So, imagine being an
American in Iraq right now.
From where I sit in Iraq, things are not all bad right now. In fact,
they are going quite well. We are not under attack by the enemy; on
the contrary, we are taking the fight to him daily and have him on
the ropes. In the distance, I can hear the repeated impacts of heavy
artillery and five-hundred-pound bombs hitting their targets. The
occasional tank main gun report and the staccato rhythm of a Marine
Corps LAV or Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle's 25-millimeter cannon
provide the bass line for a symphony of destruction. As elements from
all four services complete the absolute annihilation of the insurgent
forces remaining in Fallujah, the area around the former insurgent
stronghold is more peaceful than it has been for more than a year.
The number of attacks in the greater Al Anbar Province is down by at
least 70-80 percent from late October - before Operation Al Fajar
began. The enemy in this area is completely defeated, but not
completely gone. Final eradication of the pockets of insurgents will
take some time, as it always does, but the fact remains that the
central geographic stronghold of the insurgents is now under friendly
control. That sounds a lot like success to me. Given all of this, why
don't the papers lead with "Coalition Crushes Remaining Pockets of
Insurgents" or "Enemy Forces Resort to Suicide Bombings of
Civilians"? This would paint a far more accurate picture of the
enemy's predicament over here. Instead, headlines focus almost
exclusively on our hardships.
What about the media's portrayal of the enemy? Why do these ruthless
murderers, kidnappers and thieves get a pass when it comes to their
actions? What did the the media show or tell us about Margaret
Hassoon, the director of C.A.R.E. in Iraq and an Iraqi citizen, who
was kidnapped, brutally tortured and left disemboweled on a street in
Fallujah? Did anyone in the press show these images over and over to
emphasize the moral failings of the enemy as they did with the
soldiers at Abu Ghuraib? Did anyone show the world how this enemy had
huge stockpiles of weapons in schools and mosques, or how he used
these protected places as sanctuaries for planning and fighting in
Fallujah and the rest of Iraq? Are people of the world getting the
complete story? The answer again is no! What the world got instead
were repeated images of a battle-weary Marine who made a quick
decision to use lethal force and who immediately was tried in the
world press. Was this one act really illustrative of the overall
action in Fallujah? No, but the Marine video clip was shown an
average of four times each hour on just about every major TV news
channel for a week. This is how the world views our efforts over here
and stories like this without a counter continually serve as
propaganda victories for the enemy. Al Jazeera isn't showing the film
of the CARE worker, but is showing the clip of the Marine. Earlier
this year, the Iraqi government banned Al Jazeera from the country
for its inaccurate reporting. Wonder where they get their information
now? Well, if you go to the Internet, you'll find a web link from the
Al Jazeera home page to CNN's home page. Very interesting.
The operation in Fallujah is only one of the recent examples of
incomplete coverage of the events in Iraq. The battle in Najaf last
August provides another. Television and newspapers spilled a
continuous stream of images and stories about the destruction done to
the sacred city, and of all the human suffering allegedly brought
about by the hands of the big, bad Americans. These stories and the
lack of anything to counter them gave more fuel to the fire of
anti-Americanism that burns in this part of the world. Those on the
outside saw the Coalition portrayed as invaders or oppressors,
killing hapless Iraqis who, one was given to believe, simply were
trying to defend their homes and their Muslim way of life.
Reality couldn't have been farther from the truth. What noticeably
was missing were accounts of the atrocities committed by the Mehdi
Militia - Muqtada Al Sadr's band of henchmen. While the media was
busy bashing the Coalition, Muqtada's boys were kidnapping policemen,
city council members and anyone else accused of supporting the
Coalition or the new government, trying them in a kangaroo court
based on Islamic Shari'a law, then brutally torturing and executing
them for their "crimes." What the media didn't show or write about
were the two hundred-plus headless bodies found in the main mosque
there, or the body that was put into a bread oven and baked. Nor did
they show the world the hundreds of thousands of mortar, artillery
and small arms rounds found within the "sacred" walls of the mosque.
Also missing from the coverage was the huge cache of weapons found in
Muqtada's "political" headquarters nearby. No, none of this made it
to the screen or to print. All anyone showed were the few chipped
tiles on the dome of the mosque and discussion centered on how we,
the Coalition, had somehow done wrong. Score another one for the
enemy's propaganda machine.
Now, compare the Najaf example to the coverage and debate ad nauseam
of the Abu Ghuraib Prison affair. There certainly is no justification
for what a dozen or so soldiers did there, but unbalanced reporting
led the world to believe that the actions of the dozen were
representative of the entire military. This has had an incredibly
negative effect on Middle Easterners' already sagging opinion of the
U.S. and its military. Did anyone show the world images of the 200
who were beheaded and mutilated in Muqtada's Shari'a Law court, or
spend the next six months talking about how horrible all of that was?
No, of course not. Most people don't know that these atrocities even
happened. It's little wonder that many people here want us out and
would vote someone like Muqtada Al Sadr into office given the chance
- they never see the whole truth. Strange, when the enemy is the
instigator the media does not flash images across the screens of
televisions in the Middle East as they did with Abu Ghuraib. Is it
because the beheaded bodies might offend someone? If so, then why do
we continue see photos of the naked human pyramid over and over?
So, why doesn't the military get more involved in showing the media
the other side of the story? The answer is they do. Although some
outfits are better than others, the Army and other military
organizations today understand the importance of getting out the
story - the whole story - and trains leaders to talk to the press.
There is a saying about media and the military that goes: "The only
way the media is going to tell a good story is if you give them one
to tell." This doesn't always work as planned. Recently, when a
Coalition spokesman tried to let TV networks in on opening moves in
the Fallujah operation, they misconstrued the events for something
they were not and then blamed the military for their gullibility. CNN
recently aired a "special report" in which the cable network accused
the military of lying to it and others about the beginning of the
Fallujah operation. The incident referred to took place in October
when a Marine public affairs officer called media representatives and
told them that an operation was about to begin. Reporters rushed to
the outskirts of Fallujah to see what they assumed was going to be
the beginning of the main attack on the city. As it turned out, what
they saw were tactical "feints" designed to confuse the enemy about
the timing of the main attack, then planned to take place weeks later.
Once the network realized that major combat operations wouldn't start
for several more weeks, CNN alleged that the Marines had used them as
a tool for their deception operation. Now, they say they want answers
from the military and the administration on the matter. The reality
appears to be that in their zeal to scoop their competition, CNN and
others took the information they were given and turned it into what
they wanted it to be. Did the military lie to the media: no. It is
specifically against regulations to provide misinformation to the
press. However, did the military planners anticipate that reporters
would take the ball and run with it, adding to the overall deception
plan? Possibly. Is that unprecedented or illegal? Of course not.
CNN and others say they were duped by the military in this and other
cases. Yet, they never seem to be upset by the undeniable fact that
the enemy manipulates them with a cunning that is almost worthy of
envy. You can bet that terrorist leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi has his
own version of a public affairs officer and it is evident that he
uses him to great effect. Each time Zarqawi's group executes a
terrorist act such as a beheading or a car bomb, they have a prepared
statement ready to post on their website and feed to the press.
Over-eager reporters take the bait, hook, line and sinker, and report
it just as they got it.
Did it ever occur to the media that this type of notoriety is just
what the terrorists want and need? Every headline they grab is a
victory for them. Those who have read the ancient Chinese military
theorist and army general Sun Tzu will recall the philosophy of "Kill
one, scare ten thousand" as the basic theory behind the strategy of
terrorism. Through fear, the terrorist can then manipulate the
behavior of the masses. The media allows the terrorist to use
relatively small but spectacular events that directly affect very
few, and spread them around the world to scare millions. What about
the thousands of things that go right every day and are never
reported? Complete a multi-million-dollar sewer project and no one
wants to cover it, but let one car bomb go off and it makes
headlines. With each headline, the enemy scores another point and the
good-guys lose one. This method of scoring slowly is eroding domestic
and international support while fueling the enemy's cause.
I believe one of the reasons for this shallow and subjective
reporting is that many reporters never actually cover the events they
report on. This is a point of growing concern within the Coalition.
It appears many members of the media are hesitant to venture beyond
the relative safety of the so-called "International Zone" in downtown
Baghdad, or similar "safe havens" in other large cities. Because
terrorists and other thugs wisely target western media members and
others for kidnappings or attacks, the westerners stay close to their
quarters. This has the effect of holding the media captive in cities
and keeps them away from the broader truth that lies outside their
view. With the press thus cornered, the terrorists easily feed their
unwitting captives a thin gruel of anarchy, one spoonful each day. A
car bomb at the entry point to the International Zone one day, a few
mortars the next, maybe a kidnapping or two thrown in. All delivered
to the doorsteps of those who will gladly accept it without having to
leave their hotel rooms - how convenient.
The scene is repeated all too often: an attack takes place in Baghdad
and the morning sounds are punctuated by a large explosion and a
rising cloud of smoke. Sirens wail in the distance and photographers
dash to the scene a few miles away. Within the hour, stern-faced
reporters confidently stare into the camera while standing on the
balcony of their tenth-floor Baghdad hotel room, their back to the
city and a distant smoke plume rising behind them. More mayhem in
Gotham City they intone, and just in time for the morning news. There
is a transparent reason why the majority of car bombings and other
major events take place before noon Baghdad-time; any later and the
event would miss the start of the morning news cycle on the U.S. east
coast. These terrorists aren't stupid; they know just what to do to
scare the masses and when to do it. An important key to their plan is
manipulation of the news media. But, at least the reporters in Iraq
are gathering information and filing their stories, regardless of
whether or the stories are in perspective. Much worse are the
"talking heads" who sit in studios or offices back home and
pontificate about how badly things are going when they never have
been to Iraq and only occasionally leave Manhattan.
Almost on a daily basis, newspapers, periodicals and airwaves give us
negative views about the premises for this war and its progress. It
seems that everyone from politicians to pop stars are voicing their
unqualified opinions on how things are going. Recently, I saw a
Rolling Stone magazine and in bold print on the cover was, "Iraq on
Fire; Dispatches from the Lost War." Now, will someone please tell me
who at Rolling Stone or just about any other "news" outlet is
qualified to make a determination as to when all is lost and it's
time to throw in the towel? In reality, such flawed reporting serves
only to misshape world opinion and bolster the enemy's position. Each
enemy success splashed across the front pages and TV screens of the
world not only emboldens them, but increases their ability to recruit
more money and followers.
So what are the credentials of these self proclaimed "experts"? The
fact is that most of those on whom we rely for complete and factual
accounts have little or no experience or education in
counter-insurgency operations or in nation-building to support their
assessments. How would they really know if things are going well or
not? War is an ugly thing with many unexpected twists and turns. Who
among them is qualified to say if this one is worse than any other at
this point? What would they have said in early 1942 about our chances
of winning World War II? Was it a lost cause too? How much have these
"experts" studied warfare and counter-insurgencies in particular?
Have they ever read Roger Trinquier's treatise Modern Warfare: A
French View on Counter-insurgency (1956)? He is one of the few French
military guys who got it right. The Algerian insurgency of the 1950s
and the Iraq insurgency have many similarities. What about Napoleon's
campaigns in Sardinia in 1805-07? Again, there are a lot of
similarities to this campaign. Have they studied that and contrasted
the strategies? Or, have they even read Mao Zedung's theories on
insurgencies, or Nygen Giap's, or maybe Che' Gueverra's? Have they
seen any of Sun Tzu's work lately? Who are these guys? It's time to
start studying, folks. If a journalist doesn't recognize the names on
this list, he or she probably isn't qualified to assess the state of
this or any other campaign's progress.
Worse yet, why in the world would they seek opinion from someone who
probably knows even less than they do about the state of affairs in
Iraq? It sells commercials, I suppose. But, I find it amazing that
some people are more apt to listen to a movie star's or rock singer's
view on how we should prosecute world affairs than to someone whose
profession it is to know how these things should go. I play the
guitar, but Bruce Springsteen doesn't listen to me play. Why should I
be subjected to his views on the validity of the war? By profession,
he's a guitar player. Someone remind me what it is that makes Sean
Penn an expert on anything. It seems that anyone who has a dissenting
view is first to get in front of the camera. I'm all for freedom of
speech, but let's talk about things we know. Otherwise, television
news soon could have about as much credibility as "The Bachelor" has
for showing us truly loving couples.
Also bothersome are references by "experts" on how "long" this war is
taking. I've read that in the world of manufacturing, you can have
only two of the following three qualities when developing a product -
cheap, fast or good. You can produce something cheap and fast, but it
won't be good; good and fast, but it won't be cheap; good and cheap,
but it won't be fast. In this case, we want the result to be good and
we want it at the lowest cost in human lives. Given this set of
conditions, one can expect this war is to take a while, and
rightfully so. Creating a democracy in Iraq not only will require a
change in the political system, but the economic system as well.
Study of examples of similar socio-economic changes that took place
in countries like Chile, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia and other countries
with oppressive Socialist dictatorships shows that it took seven to
ten years to move those countries to where they are now. There are
many lessons to be learned from these transformations, the most
important of which is that change doesn't come easily, even without
an insurgency going on. Maybe the experts should take a look at all
of the work that has gone into stabilizing Bosnia-Herzegovina over
the last 10 years. We are just at the eighteen-month mark in Iraq, a
place far more oppressive than Bosnia ever was. If previous examples
are any comparison, there will be no quick solutions here, but that
should be no surprise to an analyst who has done his or her homework.
This war is not without its tragedies; none ever are. The key to the
enemy's success is use of his limited assets to gain the greatest
influence over the masses. The media serves as the glass through
which a relatively small event can be magnified to international
proportions, and the enemy is exploiting this with incredible ease.
There is no good news to counteract the bad, so the enemy scores a
victory almost every day. In its zeal to get to the hot spots and
report the latest bombing, the media is missing the reality of a
greater good going on in Iraq. We seldom are seen doing anything
right or positive in the news. People believe what they see, and what
people of the world see almost on a daily basis is negative. How
could they see it any other way? These images and stories, out of
scale and context to the greater good going on over here, are just
the sort of thing the terrorists are looking for. This focus on the
enemy's successes strengthens his resolve and aids and abets his
cause. It's the American image abroad that suffers in the end.
Ironically, the press freedom that we have brought to this part of
the world is providing support for the enemy we fight. I obviously
think it's a disgrace when many on whom the world relies for news
paint such an incomplete picture of what actually has happened. Much
too much is ignored or omitted. I am confident that history will
prove our cause right in this war, but by the time that happens, the
world might be so steeped in the gloom of ignorance we won't
recognize victory when we achieve it.
Postscript: I have had my staff aggressively pursue media coverage
for all sorts of events that tell the other side of the story only to
have them turned down or ignored by the press in Baghdad. Strangely,
I found it much easier to lure the Arab media to a "non-lethal" event
than the western outlets. Open a renovated school or a youth center
and I could always count on Al-Iraqia or even Al-Jazeera to show up,
but no western media ever showed up - ever. Now I did have a pretty
dangerous sector, the Abu Ghuraib district that extends from western
Baghdad to the outskirts of Fallujah (not including the prison), but
it certainly wasn't as bad as Fallujah in November and there were
reporters in there.
. . . as those to whom blindness is politically convenient.
OTOH I don't suppose we can be too hard on Cliff here. Inaguration is
day after tomorrow and I'm sure he's stewing in his own bile.
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells
'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets
fly with a club.
-- John W. Cambell Jr.
The media pulled the same bullshit during and after the Tet offensive
in 1968. It was a decisive and horrendous defeat for the Viet Cong
and the North. After that action, there was not enough VC left in the
country to ever be any sort of effective action arm. US causalties
were minimal..yet the US media portrayed it as a resounding defeat for
Typical of the leftist controlled media. Its no wonder their viewers
are seeking alternative news sources that do not lie so blatantly.
"Gunner, you are the same ridiculous liberal f--k you ever where."
Scipio < email@example.com
Caught on the news today from a correspondent just sent to Iraq:
The closer you get to the situation here the more optimism you find.
She was contrasting the attitude in Washington and the US generally
with the attitude of Americans and Iraqis in the country.
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells
'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets
fly with a club.
-- John W. Cambell Jr.
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