Kadhimiya, good, bad and ugly

We bloggers spend a lot of time bashing the MSM, and especially the New York Times, when they get a story wrong, when they slant a news story toward their own political point of view, etc. And that’s a good thing–it keeps the MSM honest, or at least it’s pressure applied toward that end.

But it’s also good to note when the MSM gets a story right. That’s what this post is about. As difficult as it is for our troops to make progress, it’s also tough for reporters to make sense of what they’re seeing and then convey a fair picture to their readers. That many reporters exit j-school with built-in biases against the US and/or the military certainly doesn’t help. But a couple of NYT reporters have managed to get a story about Baghdad right.

Last night, Allah sent me a link to a NYT story about Kadhimiya (or Khadimiyah according to the US military’s way of spelling it) and about Camp Justice’s efforts in that neighborhood. Camp Justice was where Michelle and I hung our helmets while we were in Baghdad, thus, it’s one of the few parts of Iraq that I know first hand and can therefore push back directly against MSM stories that get a thing or two wrong. But after reading the NYT story last night, I didn’t notice anything amiss. It seemed to capture the Khadimiyah that we saw pretty well–it’s a peaceful Shiite enclave where shops stay open late, parks and schools are open and functioning, and violence is rare by Baghdad standards, but where the Mahdi army is thick and the few Sunnis around are under threat. The article quoted Lt Col Steve Miska, commander at Camp Justice, so I emailed him to see if he had any problems with the article, and he didn’t. He went out of his way to praise the reporter’s professionalism.

So here’s the article. I realize that this comes across as a dog bites man post, but read through the article and you’ll get a sense of how tough it is to operate in Baghdad–even in one of the city’s best neighborhoods.

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