Entry: Dear Iraq: We're Sorry For the Media Friday, August 26, 2005

The time has come to offer our heartfelt apologies to the people of Iraq. Oh, don't get me wrong. Only the far-Left fringe would even consider apologising for removing a brutal tyrant like Saddam Hussein from power. One would have to be mad to apologise for freeing 25 million people from over three decades of injustice, preventing Saddam from filling more mass graves and ending forever his predilection for genocide. Who regrets giving Iraqis the opportunity to hold free and fair elections for the first time ever -- making the oldest civilisation the youngest democracy? How could any American want to apologise for exposing and halting the massive corruption in the United Nation's Oil-for-Food program, which funneled billions of dollars into Saddam's pockets while doing nothing for his people? Or for the way France, Russia and China sold Saddam their influence with the UN Security Council in exchange for oil exploration rights, to be exercised as soon as the sanctions -- which only hurt the Iraqi people, while keeping Saddam in power -- were removed? No, there's only one thing that America needs to apologise to Iraq for: inflicting our Liberal agenda-driven media on them.

During the actual Iraq war itself, the "mainstream" media was quite fair in its coverage. It could hardly be otherwise, with reporters taking the field alongside the soldiers themselves. The talking heads on the home front started using the "Q-word" and making Vietnam comparisons before even a week had passed, but their dour outlook was negated by reports from their own embedded colleagues. Of course, they projected the same negativity during the Afghanistan campaign, too. All battles are quagmires, and all wars Vietnam, when a Republican is in the White House.

After the short war to topple Saddam was over, the embedded reporters returned home, or retreated to the relative safety of Green Zone hotels, from which they now rarely emerge. "The journalists among us agreed that our work increasingly relied on phone calls to Iraqis on the scene, rather than real reportage of what we could see and touch," lamented journalist Dan Murphy in April 2004. Two years after the liberation of Iraq, most of the "news" they report from Iraq consists of reciting death counts or bewailing the costs of Iraqi freedom. They get most of their information and slant from old contacts, formerly Saddam's "minders," or by taking phone calls from... who knows who?

In order to tell us how badly everything is going in Iraq, the mainstream media must consistently ignore good news unless there's a down side upon which they can dwell. For instance, Americans have to check with the BBC to find information on the reflooding of the Iraqi marshlands. Saddam drained them to punish the inhabitants by destroying their land and culture, in what UN Environment Program Executive Director Klaus Toepfer called "a major ecological and human disaster." Don't waste your time trying to find an environmentalist giving Bush credit for their restoration. Civic and economic restoration are also largely ignored, except by independent reporters like Michael Yon, one of the few remaining embeds. The American media was quick to discuss Fallujah while Americans were taking casualties there, but have been as silent as the proverbial grave since the main fighting stopped and the city has undergone what can only be termed a renaissance.

Even when reporting positive developments they can't ignore, like the Iraq election in January 2005, the writing of a constitution or actions against terrorists and insurgents, they feel it necessary to mention unrelated American and civilian deaths or Abu Ghraib. Few, if any, reporters mention the rebuilding of hospitals, schools, roads and other infrastructure. Even overwhelming victories against the insurgents or the foreign terrorists -- of which there have been quite a few -- are treated as defeats in the press. The media seems determined to follow some sort of "equal time" law for both sides of our fight to protect and stabilise Iraq.

The media is intent on portraying American soldiers as either victims or brutes, ignoring all the good they have done and still do. The only time we hear about heroes like Casey Sheehan, for example, is when his own mother refers to him as though he were a foolish child, praises his killers as "freedom fighters" and uses his death to demand that America abandon Iraq to the mercy of its totalitarian and theocratic neighbors. The old cliche, "if it bleeds, it leads," has been almost completely replaced with, "if it hurts Bush, it leads." And Iraq is unfortunately caught in the crossfire, as the media tries desperately to discredit and undermine support for President Bush and the military.

No matter what Iraqis do, the media will continue to focus on the negative. Nothing they do will ever be good enough to gain media approval, and for that we should apologise. It must be hard enough to rebuild your country after over 30 years of mismanagement without having every move you make scrutinised by an overly-critical media trying to get the American government to abandon you. Our own history is full of false steps and mistakes -- it took us seven years to write our own Constitution, for instance, and two more before we added the Bill of Rights -- but Iraqis will not be given any leeway whatsoever.

The Iraqis writing their constitution have some disagreements. Disaster! Civil War! It's all been a mistake! the media cries. One disagreement is over the role of religion in government. Horrors! Theocracy! What did we go there for? the media wails. Yet the Afghanis wrote a constitution that specifies the country is "an Islamic Republic" with Islam as the official state religion, and mandates that "no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam." The mainstream media never said a word against it. In fact, the New York Times praised it as "an excellent foundation for creating a better Afghanistan."

Watching their every effort to advance belittled in the American media may be the hardest test the new Iraq has to face. Terrorists with bombs are one thing, but a persistent campaign to sap the will of two nations is quite another. I'm sorry to see Iraq put through the media wringer that Afghanistan escaped.

Hat tip to Publius Pundit for pointing out the NY Times' reaction to the Afghanistan Constitution.
And another tip of the hat to Skye for the link to Michael Yon's blog.


August 27, 2005   12:15 AM PDT
Ah yes, the Baghdad Sheraton's famous Hot Tub Club.

"The journalists among us agreed that our work increasingly relied on phone calls to Iraqis on the scene, rather than real reportage of what we could see and touch,"
August 27, 2005   01:02 AM PDT
I thought you'd appreciate my little piece of political memorabilia I acquired last year. See attached link. (Yes it's an orignal)

Hope all is well with you.
August 27, 2005   10:10 PM PDT
Go to Grassfire at http://www.grassfire.net/400/petition.asp
and sign their "Demand the Truth petition"

who knows, it could make some impact
August 28, 2005   12:06 PM PDT
>my little piece of political

Very cool!
August 28, 2005   12:07 PM PDT
>who knows, it could make some

The only thing that will change the media is falling paper sales and advertising revenue, but who knows? It couldn't hurt to try! :)
August 29, 2005   03:38 AM PDT
You really need a tagboard. But then again, so do I!

By the way, congrats on being part of the 'more blogdrive favorites.' :)
Psychic Ferret
August 29, 2005   09:25 AM PDT
Our media is under the impression that our own (the US, that is) Constitution was written down and ratified in an afternoon brainstorming session by the Founding Fathers.

Our media, however, has rarely been affected by reality.
Psychic Ferret
August 29, 2005   10:48 AM PDT
Good observation from Mark Steyn at JWR:

Neal J. Lang
August 30, 2005   12:27 PM PDT
"Our media is under the impression that our own (the US, that is) Constitution was written down and ratified in an afternoon brainstorming session by the Founding Fathers."

Actually, they KNOW that our Constitution was created by a leftist "focus group" that met in Philadelphia and was dominated by intellectual elitists (lawyers, politicians and academics) from MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA, and VA.


Neal J. Lang
August 30, 2005   01:08 PM PDT
"This year's much ballyhooed European Union constitution, for example, was dead on arrival. "

Hmmm! I wonder what is our "exit strategy" from NATO, seeing how the Europeans don't seem to be able to handle Constitutional Democracy. It has been over 60 years since V-E Day and they still hadn't been able to settle on a Constitution.


Neal J. Lang
August 30, 2005   01:16 PM PDT
"The Kurds get a loose federal structure in which just about everything except national defense and foreign policy is reserved to regions and provinces."

As near as I can tell, with the notable exceptions of Interstate Commerce and Treasury functions, national defense and foreign policy were exactly the same two limited areas of authority "delegated" by the States to the Federal Government in the Constitution of the United States of America.


August 31, 2005   05:52 AM PDT
I think the Military and President Bush are owed an apology also - from the media, Sheehan, MM, and the liberal Senate - for all the lies they have fed the public. I am embarrassed for them. They have no shame.

September 17, 2005   10:01 AM PDT
Oh - that's right the reason the US and UK went into Iraq was to 'liberate' the people from Saddam's regime.

So how come the West sold him weapons to help put down the Kurds and fight the Iran-Iraq war?

And how come we are not in Sudan stopping the genocide there? Or how come we are not invading China who actually has WMDs, occupying Tibet and has an appalling human rights record???

The reason US and UK went into Afghanistan was justified over 9/11 because of the Al Queda camps. We didn't go in because of the way the Taleban treated it's people. As for Iraq - we were misled. It's geo-politics dressed up with paper-thin excuses which don't add up.

And if you think that therefore mean I'm a Saddam supporter then you have appalling logic. Saddam was a nasty and brutal dictator and I'm glad he's gone but I object to the lies we were told and how our governments have helped and continue to help dictators around the world when it suits them.
September 17, 2005   10:42 AM PDT
>the reason the US and UK went
>into Iraq was to 'liberate' the
>people from Saddam's regime

One of the many reasons. You can read, can't you? Or do you just repeat the media's meme du jour? And out of all the reasons, that's the reason that Liberals -- if you really believed what you pretend to believe -- would have whole-heartedly supported Saddam's overthrow.

>how come the West sold him
>weapons to help put down the
>Kurds and fight the Iran-Iraq war?

You DO know that Iran was our enemy, don't you? Hostage crisis ring a bell?

>how come we are not in Sudan
>stopping the genocide there

>how come we are not invading

Oh, the UN assures us it's taking care of Sudan. And how come you Liberals want to invade everybody all of a sudden? Warmongers!

>As for Iraq - we were misled.

So, do you accuse the UN of lying when they continually told us that Saddam had not destroyed all his weapons? That's where most of our info came from, you know. You know leaders in France, Russia and China wanted him in power because they were making huge profits from the OFF program, right? And you know that if the sanctions were ever dropped, as they soon would have been, those same countries would have gotten the rights to exploit Saddam's oil fields, right? And Saddam would still be in power, and still brutalising the Iraqis, and still consolidating his power over the entire Middle East.

>And if you think that therefore
>mean I'm a Saddam supporter

No, I think it means you're a fuzzy-minded, easily led fool who has no grasp of reason, logic, politics or history.

>our governments have helped and
>continue to help dictators

So your only answer is to simultaneoulsy attack every country that doesn't adopt the Bill of Rights on the spot, eh? You can't think of any other way to convince countries to change than invasion, is that it? Maybe you haven't heard about the people of the Middle East beginning to demand democratic reforms. Maybe you don't want to hear about that, because it would ruin your nice little "hate America" thing.

One last thing: when you can name a country that does not look after its own interests first, come back and let me know.

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