WaPo: Why is no one reporting the success in Iraq?

posted at 10:55 am on June 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Conservative pundits have made this complaint ever since the beginning of the surge, but now the editorial board of the Washington Post adds its voice to the protest. They note the “odd” lull in reporting and debate on Iraq over the last few weeks, but fail to draw the obvious conclusion. The American media and the Democrats became so invested in American defeat that they have decided to ignore the collapse of their position as Iraq stabilizes:

THERE’S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks — which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington’s attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have “never been closer to defeat than they are now.”

Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained “special groups” that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is — of course — too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments — and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the “this-war-is-lost” caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

All of this comes as good news for Iraqis, good news for the US, and good news for the region — but as unwelcome news to the American media and the Democrats. They have predicted nothing but defeat and chaos for so long that they cannot find any way to pivot to embrace the success of the venture. Both predicated their forward strategies on that defeat and now flounder to adapt to Nouri al-Maliki’s sudden emergence as a unifying figure of strength in Iraq.

In order to do so, they would have to answer for the defeatism of Harry Reid, who declared the war lost a year ago on the floor of the Senate. They would have to answer for their antagonistic reception for General David Petraeus in September 2007, when he warned Congress that the new strategies had begun to succeed and the Iraqi Army was close to self-sufficiency. The likely nominee would have to answer for his refusal to meet with Petraeus for an individual, in-depth briefing to find out how much the situation has changed since his only visit to Iraq in January 2006.

Of course, most of the media still refuses to open its eyes. Bruce Kesler notes that the New York Times editorial board still flogs the defeatist line in today’s edition [see update below]:

The only mission that needs to be accomplished is an orderly exit from Iraq, and Mr. Bush is no closer to acknowledging that reality. Neither is Senator John McCain. All Congress seems capable of is hand-wringing.

So it is up to Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to revive the national debate on Iraq — and up the pressure on the White House. While it is clear that Mr. Bush has no intention of coming up with an exit strategy, there are things he could do to give his successor a better chance at containing the chaos after American troops leave.

Amazingly, or perhaps not so much so considering the general flackery of the Times, this editorial manages to ignore every salient point mentioned in the WaPo article. It makes no mention that violence in Iraq has dropped to its lowest level since the invasion. The Times’ editorial board doesn’t acknowledge the liberation of Basra and Mosul by the Iraqi Army, nor the defeat of the Mahdi Army in its power base of Sadr City. Instead, it speaks hysterically of Iraq as a “very dangerous place” and talks about an increase in casualties in April without noting at all the steep decline in all casualties in May.

The defeatists have been exposed. They cannot run, but they can keep spinning. Even their colleagues in the media have begun to notice the good news, however, and the facade of defeat has begun its inevitable collapse.

Update: I misunderstood Bruce’s post. That NYT editorial was from a month ago — the last time they weighed in on Iraq. Today’s editorials are on housing trust funds, cluster bombs, and parliamentary debate. All of this does allow them to avoid acknowledging the irrational defeatism of that last entry, however.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I am pretty sure SteveMG was citing that opinion to condemn it not to support it.

Yes.

Thus the ? after each point/question.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Romeo13 on

June 1, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Of course I know, that why I wrote “so to speak.”

But I can read my own messages, not like some people.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Sorry SteveMG I didn’t get the /sarc in that post at first, so all of the personal attacks are to be reapplied to Indy Conservative

Gwillie on June 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 12:53 PM

It depends, knowledgeable and expert about what? I think I said it. I think we talked about myself a lot, why not examining what I wrote about? Oh we did that already. Time for me to go, seriously now.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM

I didn’t get the /sarc in that post at first, so all of the personal attacks are to be reapplied to Indy Conservative

Thanks, no problem. I’ve done the same thing before. Losing track of a thread and who’s arguing what points, making rhetorical points, et cetera.

I’m sure Indy is a fine person. Takes out the garbage, mows the lawn, pets his dog.

But this moral culpability argument for the violence in Iraq leaves me stumped.

No one here, I don’t think, is absolving Bush for the consequences of his actions (or non-actions). It’s just that it seems that for Indy the history of Iraq begins with his decision to go to war and the previous decades-plus actions by Saddam are ignored.

One cannot – simply cannot – judge Bush’s decisions in a historical vacuum. It’s not a fair reading of history.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Sorry SteveMG I didn’t get the /sarc in that post at first, so all of the personal attacks are to be reapplied to Indy Conservative

Gwillie on June 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

Yes, please, can you rewrite the personal attacks against me?

I thought they were for SteveMG.

Ok, I’m ready. Go!

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

But I can read my own messages, not like some people.

You have a different way of reading
“medals of honor are for losers”

But back to your last point, in what manner, or symbolic way did President Bush give himself a raise?

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

EXIT STRATEGY! How about are exit strategy from Germany, Japan, Bosnia, Italy, Spain, Kuwait, et al? Why are Dhimmicrats so stoo-pud?

Mojave Mark on June 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Calling soldiers who have been awarded the Medal of Honor “losers” is disgusting.

And once you’ve said it there’s no way to wiggle out of it. It has nothing to do with partisanship. It’s all about decency. A decent person would never say such a thing.

Tinian on June 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Listen, I hate people who don’t take responsibility for their failures.

That’s all.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM

see, Indy, I am not an expert in much of anything, but I know the difference between MoH and MoF, you are smarter than I and made this mistake?

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Of course I know, that why I wrote “so to speak.”

But I can read my own messages, not like some people.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

As the thread further devolves into childishness…

Indy has succesfuly taken a thread about the GOOD News in Iraq, and highjacked it away from that good news, to his childish bickering NON FACT BASED Bush Derangement Syndrome hate for the war…

Good Job Indy, I see your “Mission Accomplished”.

Romeo13 on June 1, 2008 at 1:02 PM

But back to your last point, in what manner, or symbolic way did President Bush give himself a raise?

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

You did a hackofjob Bushie! :-)

Good enough for you?

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Listen, I hate people who don’t take responsibility for their failures.

That’s all.

self hatred is not a pretty thing…

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Iraq will never be “Mission Accomplished” in our lifetime.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 11:22 AM

Hogwash! You’re letting your chronic bitterness cloud the extraordinary accomplishments of our superb military. It’s a tough fight but I guarantee we will persevere and win. Ease off before you embarrass yourself.

rplat on June 1, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Romeo13 on June 1, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Sorry Romeo, it wasn’t my intention. I’m pissed off when I see inaccuracy.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:03 PM

As the thread further devolves into childishness…

Indy has succesfuly taken a thread about the GOOD News in Iraq, and highjacked it away from that good news, to his childish bickering NON FACT BASED Bush Derangement Syndrome hate for the war…

Good Job Indy, I see your “Mission Accomplished”.

good point, but generally if HA comments get to a second page, it’s because of trolling.

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Listen, I hate people who don’t take responsibility for their failures

Sorry, but you’re backtracking now. Or appear to (I understand we use shorthand in these posts; otherwise they’d be pages long notes).

The issue on the table is not Bush’s responsibility.

It’s who is solely culpable for the deaths in Iraq.

Your argument is that Bush – and Bush alone – is responsible for the carnage. That AQ is somehow absolved for their actions.

That is not logical or consistent by any standard, Jesuitical or otherwise.

Is Bush solely responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan?

I’d really like an answer for that question, please.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 1:04 PM

The fact that the battle in Iraq is being won is a disaster for Paulians and Democrats.

Paulians are isolationist, IMO, so the fact that we are having success, kicks out one of their conerstone beliefs. Democrats have been hanging the Iraq theater aroung the Presidents neck for so long that they are “all in.”

So, they have to rationalize and just make things up because in Politics, you can NEVER be wrong!

Vince on June 1, 2008 at 1:05 PM

It is really disgusting how the Dems and a compliant media sandbagged the war effort for political expediency. Really really disgusting. They may or may not have understood the repercussions of defeat for us (at the jihadists hands no less) in Iraq (I’m guessing they did), but to continue, in the face of the surge’s obvious sucess and Petraeus’ and Crocker’s testimony to that effect, with their blind calls for surrender and defeat is nauseating. I can understand how the casual observer of the war, the ones who see the news from the Big Three fro 10-15 mins nightly (when they still had explosions to report and footage of burning cars and whatnot) might have been pessimistic about our chances of winning in Iraq, but the representatives of the people have a duty to be better informed. So either they are in dereliction of their duty, or they are purposefully feeding false intelligence (Reid lied, people died) to their constituents, in the hope of electoral favor at the cost of our national security, our humanity, and our long term chances at peace. The pro-defeat Left are the scum of the earth.

VolMagic on June 1, 2008 at 1:05 PM

rplat on June 1, 2008 at 1:03 PM

I love our Military. Without it there is no America. It used to be the Economy too. But that is gone to the Chinese.

My attack is on Bush, not the Military. My attack was on the inaccuracy of reporting in the media.

Read all over again what I wrote.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:06 PM

Okay, we’re just going in circles.

Let’s see what other issue I can pretend to be so smart on.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 1:06 PM

WaPo: Why is no one reporting the success in Iraq?

Actually people ARE fully & consistently reporting the amazing turnaround. They just don’t include the Marxian-trained snobs at the Washington Post, the NYT, the Chicago Trib, CNN, NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, etc. etc. If this guy at WaPo wants to hear about the successes that AMERICA is achieving in Iraq, be needs to plug in to the New Media.

argos on June 1, 2008 at 1:07 PM

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Bush made the decision in 2003. After that date, anything that happens is his responsibility until we get out completely out of Iraq.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:08 PM

anything that happens is his responsibility until we get out completely out of Iraq.

So, AQ blowing up a school is Bush’s reponsibility?

Last time: Is Bush responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan too?

The people pulling the triggers or blowing up the bombs bear NO responsibility.

I have to say, sorry, that is just absurd.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 1:11 PM

I think it may be time to review Indy Conservative’s status here at HA. Double Secret Probabtion may be in order.

trigon on June 1, 2008 at 1:11 PM

You know, I look at GWB and see a complex man, not the simple chimpy buffoon that MSM portray him as. He is a private man, who confides his personal feelings to few people, when they come out the illumine to me, a caring individual who feels deeply about the people who have died on his watch. As he doesn’t feel obliged to defend himself (to his detriment) he doesn’t feel obliged to share his innermost feelings and inadequecies.

I think history will be kind to him, sooner rather than later, as the campaign in Iraq is coming to a successful conclusion. He has wisely said that the WoT will continue beyond his presidency, and while he has made many errors, he has like Truman before him (also hated and ridiculed in office) built a Doctrine that will ultimately defeat Islamofascism.

billhedrick on June 1, 2008 at 1:11 PM

the lamebrainmedia is on an Obama surge.. they couldn’t find Iraq on a map. dosn’t match with their agenda

normsrevenge on June 1, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Sorry Romeo, it wasn’t my intention. I’m pissed off when I see inaccuracy.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Sooo, its your contention that nothing good has happened in Iraq in the last year? That multiple fundamentalist groups have LESS power there than a year ago? That all of the good news we hear from the people THERE is not true?

Your correct, inaccuracies should make you angry, but there is none so blind as he who will not see… and I think you have blinders on.

Your mind was made up on this war long ago, and it seems that NO amount of information will change your mind about it… so, just how are you therefore different from the origional premise of this whole thread? That the MSM will not report on good news, because its not what they want to report, because there minds, just as yours, was made up long ago?

Romeo13 on June 1, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Grrr…. meant to say that multiple fundamentalist groups haveing LESS power is not a good thing…

typing to fast and talking to kids at the same time… LOL

Romeo13 on June 1, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Yes, please, can you rewrite the personal attacks against me?

I thought they were for SteveMG.

Ok, I’m ready. Go!

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Textbook BDS and I know where you stand on that.
that’s it.

Gwillie on June 1, 2008 at 1:15 PM

The defeatists have been exposed. They cannot run, but they can keep spinning.

I hate the word “spinning”; let’s call it what it really is… lying!

dominigan on June 1, 2008 at 1:18 PM

A little history feel free to make corrections.
We never ended the state of war with Iraq after the 1992-93 gulf war. Saddam never abided by the terms of the ceasefire. Almost every nation believed that Saddam had WMDs; our intel was backed up by the intel of other nations. Saddam did have terror connections, he did have meeting at some level with Al-Qaida. He paid bombers families 25,000$. He could have avoided war by opening up his nation to the inspectors, he did not. The sanctions were being dismantled, even while at the same time we were trying to make the case for war.

Gwillie on June 1, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Listen, I hate people who don’t take responsibility for their failures.

That’s all.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Have your parents taken responsibility for how you turned out?

;)

——-

Why are the rest of you feeding this silly adolescent troll? Can’t you at least wait until one with an original shtick comes along?

I was looking forward to some insightful comments on the actual topic. Instead I had to wade through a monument to Internet stupidity.

He can’t be banned but he can be ignored. Which he should be, until he has an original thought or displays even some basic degree of intellectual honesty.

Professor Blather on June 1, 2008 at 1:21 PM

Seriously, Indy seems to recoil from setback or failure. Everything must go well all the time or retreat is in order. I am curious though, at what point should we have surrendered in WWII? Pearl Harbor? Kasserine Pass? Operation Market Garden? None of these went very well.

Perhaps we could go back even further. We could surrender after the battle of Bunker Hill. That would pretty much take care of this whole unfortunate ‘America’ episode.

Worthwhile Things are usually difficult to accomplish. They are accomplished, generally, by people who are dumb enough to start on them and stupid enough, stubborn enough, to keep going on when when things go awry.

trigon on June 1, 2008 at 1:25 PM

I rather wish everyone would stop stoking the strange “Indy’ ego. It has hijacked enough threads.

As one who has seen the success of the Iraqi Army rebuilding, and worked with them in Basrah – I am a little bit miffed that the success story is very unlikely to be reported on, when there was sucha rush to declare Charge of the Knights an utter failure. Why the big story about the “failure” that wasn’t and the muted reaction to the success that is?

major john on June 1, 2008 at 1:27 PM

A little history feel free to make corrections

.

Good job on short notice.

Apparently, all of those actions (and there’s obviously more of them) don’t apply.

Anything that happens in Iraq from 2003 when Bush made the decision to go in is all the responsibility of Bush and Bush alone. AQ blowing up people is not due to their own goals or decisions (after all, they declared war on us in 1998). No, it’s Bush’s responsibility.

This is, once again (and for the last time from me), morally and logically absurd.

I guess AQ blowing up our embassies in Kenya and Nigeria in 1998 is due to the people who built the embassies there.

Not AQ. After all, if we didn’t build the embassies, AQ couldn’t have blown them up.

Man, this is just silly.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 1:27 PM

It all boils down to the ‘America First’ argument. The difference between the America First Committee of 1940 and the America First crowd of today is…..

America First Committee statement Dec 11, 1941, dissolving the organization…

Our principles were right. Had they been followed, war could have been avoided. No good purpose can now be served by considering what might have been, had our objectives been attained…

America Firsters Sep 12, 2001

Our chickens coming home to roost…

Funny how the largest anti-war organization in American history had the grit, and intelligence, to understand that once the war starts it is time to shut up and make bullets.

Limerick on June 1, 2008 at 1:28 PM

The so called “liberal media”
Link
Link
Link

Chimpy on June 1, 2008 at 12:14 PM

LOL! What’s Salon’s stock price these days? 50 cents a share?

Del Dolemonte on June 1, 2008 at 1:29 PM

Am I wrong in thinking that we are closer to an exit than ever before? The plan was to unify Iraq, destroy AQI, and then we can leave. If the Government wants some US troops to stay behind, we may do so.

The fastest way out, is a victory over terrorist. We are close to doing that.

If we would have pulled out when the Dems wanted us to, their would be chaos in Iraq right now.

If we leave in a year, I believe the foundation seems a lot more stable to withstand our exit.

A year ago exit would be 99% of violence. Now, maybe 20%. The Iraqi Army would of dropped their arms a year ago, today, or even yet, a year from now, 95% will stay and show force. The people are behind security, in whatever form it comes. They seem to prefer the Government type of security, rather than the terrorize type.

WoosterOh on June 1, 2008 at 1:45 PM

. . . Mr. Bush . . . Senator John McCain. . . Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton . . . Mr. Bush . . .

How can anyone take the NYT as objective when they can’t even bring themselves to refer to the President as the President. They don’t seem to have a problem with the titles of the other candidates. What tards. The NYT editorial board that is. They have descended to Obermann’s level.

Mallard T. Drake on June 1, 2008 at 1:54 PM

In Vegas last week Harry Reed tried to place a bet on the NY Giants to win the last Super Bowl.

Akzed on June 1, 2008 at 2:04 PM

In Vegas last week Harry Reed tried to place a bet on the NY Giants to win the last Super Bowl.

Akzed on June 1, 2008 at 2:04 PM

Almost. It was the Patriots he wanted to bet on.

————

Hey Evita, tell us again how America is so screwed up that even folks from third world countries don’t want to come here anymore.

misterpeasea on June 1, 2008 at 2:23 PM

and the most easily answered question in the world award goes tooooo?

Drunk Report on June 1, 2008 at 3:04 PM

The Dem’s will never never never admit they were wrong. Case in point the millions of people slaughtered in Southern Asia because they stopped funding in Viet Nam. When will they answer for those deaths?

Wade on June 1, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Very true. They squawl and carry on about places like Rawanda but don’t blink an eye over mass murder in Viet Nam. To quote someone (I can’t remember who) the Donks are always in favor of some grand humanitarian mission, unless the mission in some way would benefit strategic U.S. interests. Then they are absolutely opposed to it.

JonRoss on June 1, 2008 at 5:07 PM

I rather wish everyone would stop stoking the strange “Indy’ ego. It has hijacked enough threads————
major john

It would never be a problem iff he wasn’t so well fed.

snaggletoothie on June 1, 2008 at 5:14 PM

They have predicted nothing but defeat and chaos for so long that they cannot find any way to pivot to embrace the success of the venture

Well, that’s the very simplistic version of events. After 5 years of fighting toward an outcome that certainly wasn’t victory, many rational people assumed that victory was out of grasp. Go back to 2003. The country was told to prepare itself for a quick, easy war that certainly wouldn’t result in an insurgency. When serious opposition to the US did emerge, our leaders said that it constituted a small, meaningless group of “dead-enders”. Meanwhile, his lordship Paul Bremer continued with occupation as usual, seeming impervious to events spiraling out of control beyond the confines Baghdad.

Bush finally sends more troops into Iraq, a strategy that McCain, Hagel and others had requested for years. I’m one of many independents who supported that policy. It finally came about- far longer than necessary- coinciding with a change in tactics by Sunnis who suddenly started supporting US objectives.

Is it a surprise that people are slow to accept signs of US success? Not really. It will take another 6 to 12 months before success on the ground starts to convince the public at large.

bayam on June 1, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Bush finally sends more troops into Iraq, a strategy that McCain, Hagel and others had requested for years

As I understand it, the key was not simply sending in more troops but in sending the troops out into the populace to engage with them. To help restore order, build confidence and interact with the tribal chiefs and populace.

After the defeat of the Baathist regime, our forces essentially hunkered down in their bases and never got out to interact with the Iraqi people. This left a vacuum that was filled by the various sectarian militias as well as al-Qaeda.

That two-three year period was just a disaster. They completely misunderstood the lay of the land.

It’s interesting to remember that the Bush Administration before the Afghanistan intervention repeatedly told us that it would be difficult and costly. For some reason, they forgot that message in Iraq and, as I think McClellan is right, waged a political campaign style policy where bad news was suppressed and good news exagerrated.

One small point: the Sunnis didn’t suddenly start supporting us; they were driven to us by the radicalism and extremism of al-Qaeda. Whether they’ll stay with us (or the government) remains to be seen.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 5:41 PM

He is a private man, who confides his personal feelings to few people

You mean like the time he confided in Pat Robertson that God told him on Americans would die in the invasion? Yes, that’s very deep.

bayam on June 1, 2008 at 5:42 PM

I have a friend who, when her mother-in-law is comming to visit, cleans the house for three or four days and stresses out the entire time about the criticism that she knows is comming from the old bag.

It doesn’t matter how good a job she does, it doesn’t matter if the house looks like brand new and you could eat off of the carpets, her mother-in-law will find something wrong.

Because she wants to. And there is no amount of cleaning that my friend can do to change that fact. So I tell my friend to just do what she needs to do to make the house look nice and not worry about what her mother-in-law says.

It’s the same thing with the NYT and other media outlets in regards to this war. That’s why when the surge was revving up they began saying that even if we won and everything turned out wonderful it still wasn’t worth it. So just in case we won they could still complain.

I no longer care what the NYT says (not sure that I ever did), and no one else should either. We could wind up with a free, stable democratic ally in the Middle East and it wouldn’t have been “worth it” to them. We could wind up defeating all our enimies and being safe from terror and it wouldn’t be “worth it” to them. To heck with them, they won’t be in business very much longer anyway.

29Victor on June 1, 2008 at 5:48 PM

My newspaper printed the good news–on the last page of the main section of the Sunday edition.

Bad news? Always, always, on the front page.

PattyJ on June 1, 2008 at 6:26 PM

To help restore order, build confidence and interact with the tribal chiefs and populace… After the defeat of the Baathist regime, our forces essentially hunkered down in their bases and never got out to interact with the Iraqi people.

You’re right. Cobra II talks about the these incredible mistakes. The US and Bremer attitude: tribes are irrelevant in the new Iraqi democracy, ignore them. What a disaster that was.

That two-three year period was just a disaster. They completely misunderstood the lay of the land.
Sunnis didn’t suddenly start supporting us; they were driven to us by the radicalism and extremism of al-Qaeda. Whether they’ll stay with us (or the government) remains to be seen.

I agree again. The US ‘victory’ in Iraq is much more tenuous than many on the right are willing to admit. It might be better that the press isn’t declaring vitory quite yet- the situation on the ground can change quickly if the Sunnis decide to restart hostilities with the Shiites. Although as long as al-Sadr is under government attack, that won’t happen as the status quo remains in the favor. But most US commanders believe that the Sunnis are biding their time and don’t intend to let Shiites run the country without a fight.

bayam on June 1, 2008 at 6:28 PM

But most US commanders believe that the Sunnis are biding their time and don’t intend to let Shiites run the country without a fight.

Well, I’m not sure where you got the “most US commanders” bit. But it’s certainly a concern.

That’s why the next steps are so critical.

One: Ensuring that there’s a trans-sectarian army that can’t be used by one group (okay, the Shi’a) to oppress the others.

Two: That political re-conciliation takes place and that the government can prove – as they have in going after Sadr – that they will not permit sectarian allegiances to override national ones. Sharing of resources, providing money, et cetera.

The fact that Maliki is going after the Shi’a militias has to send a signal to the Sunnis that he’s not in the pockets of the Shi’a. That’s a plus.

Long way to go but it sure looks like we pulled back from the abyss.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 6:47 PM

It might be better that the press isn’t declaring vitory quite yet- the

Well, they’re saying victory over al-Qaeda. Not victory over the inter-sectarian strife.

Defeating AQ doesn’t guarantee a trans-sectarian democratic Iraq; but we won’t fix the sectarian problem without first defeating AQ.

At least as I understand events.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 6:50 PM

bayam on June 1, 2008 at 6:28 PM

No one is declaring victory, but if you don’t talk about better conditions, and only about casulties and defeat, the LARGER “War on Terror” (hate the name) becomes harder.

Romeo13 on June 1, 2008 at 6:54 PM

I don’t know anyone who reads the New York Times.

N. O'Brain on June 1, 2008 at 6:55 PM

BBC World reported on it this morning, including the record-low ‘death toll’ (I hate using anything that makes this war sound like the stock exchange) amongst US, Iraqi troops and civilians

..Hope this doesn’t break the paradigm or anything.

Reaps on June 1, 2008 at 7:42 PM

Del Dolemonte on June 1, 2008 at 1:29 PM

What does the price of Salon’s stock have to do with well written and resourced articles?
If, (and that’s a big if), you followed the links
HERE, and followed the links in those articles, please point out Greenwalad’s errors.

I guess almost all here loved how the MSM stenographers beat the war drums for Bush back then. Now that they acquired some balls and are asking questions like journalist, you are pissed at the MSM. Even though concerning Iran the MSM is practicing stenography again.

Chimpy on June 1, 2008 at 8:44 PM

My local; The Sunday Worcester Telegram and Gazette (owned and controlled by the NYT) could not offer anything on Iraq and the decline of American casualties. The only article on Iraq was the death of 10 Iraqis at a check-point somewhere in Anbar, no Yankees involved!

All Hail the F’in P.O.S.

dmann on June 1, 2008 at 9:35 PM

Guys, I’m sure it’s pleasing to verbally give the finger to the WaPo editorial board and to keep talking about how the MSM is not reporting about Iraq and the Middle East in general, but alas, the facts are different. Today’s Washington Post, for example has a story that starts on the front page and goes on for three full pages with lots of pictures, explaining how life has gotten better for the inhabitants of Basra. Then in the Outlook section there is another story about how Iranians really like us more than their own government.

You see, this is not just a coincidence. Somehow every time Ed starts another one of these “the MSM is suppressing news of our glorious victory in Iraq” I’m somehow able to count four, five, six prominently placed Iraq-related stories, many of them objectively reporting successes, in that day’s New York Times or Washington Post. The truth is, these papers are actually pretty fair and thorough about reporting what goes on in the world. Even if they sometimes miss crucial stories like the kafiyeh hidden in the Dunkin Donuts ad.

And here’s an exit thought. The press in this country often portrays the world in ways that are different from the Government’s views. That’s just the way the American media is. If you prefer a press that’s more perfectly aligned with the Government, consider reading Chinese, North Korean or Saudi papers.

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 9:55 PM

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 9:55 PM

You are truly clueless!

dmann on June 1, 2008 at 10:03 PM

Well, I’m not sure where you got the “most US commanders” bit. But it’s certainly a concern.

Hasn’t that been widely reported (although not by the White House)… I don’t think that anyone is saying that the Sunnis politically / fundamentally support either the US or the Iraqi government. It’s a strategic move, and one that’s been very effective when you look at what’s happened to the Sunnis immediate enemies.

bayam on June 1, 2008 at 10:09 PM

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 9:55 PM

You are truly clueless!

dmann on June 1, 2008 at 10:03 PM

I’m sure I am. I rely on facts, and facts have a well-known liberal bias.

But do explain the error of my ways.

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Hasn’t that been widely reported (although not by the White House)…

Sure, I’ve seen it reported (in fact, I’m pretty sure both Petreus and Crocker acknowleged this at the last hearings) that no one knows whether the alliance (for want of a better word) between the Sunnis and the US against al-Qaeda will extend to a willingness of the Sunnis to integrate into the government.

As I understand it (Michael Totten has written about this), the Sunnis see us as another “tribe” that treats them fairly and that they can work with equitably. There’s a level of trust. But they certainly don’t have the same trust with the government.

Frankly, I don’t see them turning against us for the above reasons. I.e., they’ve turned against AQ (from which they can no longer receive help) and they now see us as a ally or neutral party against any potential Shi’a reprisals/revenge killings.

Ironic, isn’t it? We overthrew a Sunni dominated government and now, five years later, we’re allied with them.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 10:43 PM

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 10:21 PM

Clueless….if you can equate a “Feature Parade” article on the poor civilian bastards in Basra to the success of a geopolitical strategy tactically executed by the finest military the planet has witnessed, you are indeed lost. Maybe clueless is not the correct word since it does imply a degree of ignorance or lack of information, unfortunately you do not exhibit either trait. Your argument is based entirely on an all to predictable desired outcome and as such discounts and ignores observed fact and documented reality. As such you are an enemy of the state, plain and simple!

dmann on June 1, 2008 at 10:46 PM

I’m sure I am. I rely on facts, and facts have a well-known liberal bias.
But do explain the error of my ways.

Why has coverage of Iraq over the past year or so declined so much? As I understand, all of the studies by independent and non-partisan media groups (Pew, et cetera) show a precipitate decline in coverage.

A story here or a story there isn’t sufficient especially when we’ve seen some major and dramatic changes taking place (the rejection by the Sunnis of AQ, the ability of the government to independently move Iraqi troops into Shi’s neighborhoods, et cetera).

The coverage simply hasn’t matched the sea change that is taking place.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 10:47 PM

All I want to know is if you are an American, how can you possibly cheer the enemies of your country and wish for Her to be defeated by any and every opposition, simply to advance your own political future. There is no more dishonorable position in this country than to be Dhimmicratic and allow your leaders to wish for Defeat of the US Armed Forces, and defeat of American initiatives anywhere overseas.

Only a fool or a traitor would vote Dhimmicratic this year. And I am not going to believe anything else whatsoever. It is our Men’s and Women’s lives at stake. NOTHING is more important than Victory against Islamist Jihadists.

Press on. To Victory.

Subsunk

Subsunk on June 1, 2008 at 11:19 PM

As such you are an enemy of the state, plain and simple!

dmann on June 1, 2008 at 10:46 PM

This looks like a direct quote from Zhenmin Zhibao. If that’s the kind of newspaper you normally read, no wonder you are dissatisfied with the American press.

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 11:26 PM

factoid on June 1, 2008 at 11:26 PM

Sorry, I’m not the “cultured” statement is mine; any resemblance to yahoo.com is purely coincidental.

dmann on June 1, 2008 at 11:42 PM

Why has coverage of Iraq over the past year or so declined so much?

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 10:47 PM

I’m not convinced that it has declined as precipitously as you suggest. Like I said, every day I pick up the paper I see three, four or even more items on Iraq. Of course, one must pick up serious papers, not the Boondocks Herald-Bugler. Maybe the reports don’t reflect the views of military spokespersons as breathlessly as they did five years ago, but they are certainly there. Still, I’m willing to believe that there is less coverage of Iraq than used to be, I just fail to see this vast left-wing conspiracy hoping for a defeat.

I’m sure part of the reason is that “37 Bodies Ripped to Pieces in Marketplace Bombing” is just a more exciting headline than “Unknown Sheik in Desert Hellhole Now Friends with USMC, Not AQI”. Also, there is this election thing going on here in the US of A (a sizable part of the population is contemplating regime change, I’m told), and it tends to take up space on front pages. Maybe the press is less willing to take the government’s assessment of the situation at face value, given that the government repeatedly lied (remember the coverup of Pat Tillman’s death or the tall tales about Jessica Lynch?).

Just an opinion — thanks for your thoughts and for not calling me an idiot.

factoid on June 2, 2008 at 12:34 AM

The propaganda arm of al-Qaeda, the Wahabis, and Islamists in general has to be extremely well funded. I have always wondered how much of this funding has found its way into the MSM to help facilitate their “anti-war” “reporting”. Perhaps someday we’ll know.

Halley on June 2, 2008 at 1:36 AM

Buford Gooch on June 1, 2008 at 11:59 AM

It’s not bragging. It’s the truth.

Indy Conservative on June 1, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are, and to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers.

Holmes on June 2, 2008 at 1:40 AM

Only a fool or a traitor would vote Dhimmicratic this year. And I am not going to believe anything else whatsoever.

Subsunk on June 1, 2008 at 11:19 PM

Well then you had best prepare yourself for the very real possibility of living in a nation that you feel is made up of a majority of fools and traitors, or get ready to move. Not a position I would want to be in.

MB4 on June 2, 2008 at 2:59 AM

Ironic, isn’t it? We overthrew a Sunni dominated government and now, five years later, we’re allied with them.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 10:43 PM

And five years from now what will such a marriage of convenience look like?

MB4 on June 2, 2008 at 3:02 AM

As I understand it (Michael Totten has written about this), the Sunnis see us as another “tribe” that treats them fairly and that they can work with equitably.

SteveMG on June 1, 2008 at 10:43 PM

And I just wonder whom they think is the alpha dog? After all the bowing and scraping and Koran kissing I know where I would place my bet.

MB4 on June 2, 2008 at 3:07 AM

Why is no one reporting the success in Iraq?

The fact that someone has to ask this question worries me…

right2bright on June 2, 2008 at 10:55 AM

At the end of the initial WaPo editorial,

If the positive trends continue, proponents of withdrawing most U.S. troops, such as Mr. Obama, might be able to responsibly carry out further pullouts next year. Still, the likely Democratic nominee needs a plan for Iraq based on sustaining an improving situation, rather than abandoning a failed enterprise. That will mean tying withdrawals to the evolution of the Iraqi army and government, rather than an arbitrary timetable; Iraq’s 2009 elections will be crucial. It also should mean providing enough troops and air power to continue backing up Iraqi army operations such as those in Basra and Sadr City. When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success.

Can one dare to hope that if/when Obama does indeed go to Iraq he’ll come to the same conclusion?

Yakko77 on June 2, 2008 at 1:35 PM

So it is up to Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to revive the national debate on Iraq

Funny, it seems like the only Presidential candidate talking about Iraq these days is John McCain. The others are hoping we’ll suspend disbelief until November and think we’ve lost the war.

For all the Democrats’ talk about us making enemies by invading Iraq, if Iraqis could vote in American elections, for whom would they vote for President?

Steve Z on June 2, 2008 at 2:48 PM

For all the Democrats’ talk about us making enemies by invading Iraq, if Iraqis could vote in American elections, for whom would they vote for President?

Ron Paul!

trigon on June 3, 2008 at 12:51 AM

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

trigon on June 3, 2008 at 12:51 AM

The lamestream media and Democrat Party caused defeat of the South Vietnamese. Now, they must repeat it at any cost, not only to give the America they hate, the one that stands in the way of their Socialist agenda, but to justify their bad call for Viet Nam.

LewWaters on June 3, 2008 at 3:44 AM