Why are journalists hyping the limited guerrilla conflict in Iraq? Why are they making it seem bigger than it is?
New York Times expressed concern they had expected "the situation would be neither this confrontational nor this dangerous. With almost daily reports of American fatalities in Iraq, the need for turning around a badly deteriorating situation seems urgent."
Sen Joseph I. Lieberman(D, Conn) talks about “surprisingly fierce resistance” in Iraq.
A recent Associated Press article refers to “beleaguered troops”.
CNN anchors routinely refer to “a mounting death toll.” Certainly the number of soldiers who have died cannot go down without some of them coming back to life, but journalists normally don’t use the word “mounting” when referring to deaths from other causes. For example, CNN anchors haven’t used the word “mounting” when referring to recent deaths from lightning strikes. The word “mounting” is more commonly used when the death rate is increasing rather than just to refer to continued deaths.
Are the “beleaguered troops” facing “surprisingly fierce resistance”? Not if we compare the situation to other wars. In comparison to Vietnam, or for that matter the Korean War or WWII, the Iraqi resistance is very light.
It’s been 34 years since I served in Vietnam in the 173rd Airborne Brigade post office. I don’t remember the exact brigade daily casualty figures in the summer of 1969, but I’m sure they weren’t greater than the daily casualty figures for the entire Iraq theater today. I don’t remember the exact size of the 173rd, but I believe it was below 5,000 men.
The casualties are very low considering that much of the former Iraqi military, including members of the more elite units, remains at large and many still have access to weapons. Staging hit and run attacks isn’t that difficult particularly in urban areas where American troops cannot always fire back because of the risk of civilian casualties.
What about the “badly deteriorating situation”? American forces continue to find weapons and capture top officials of the Hussein government, including killing Saddam Hussein’s two sons.
The fighting isn’t over yet and may not be for several years. Guerrilla conflicts can last for decades. Spain periodically has problems with Basque separatists. There were even reports of guerrilla activity in Vietnam after the North Vietnamese took over South Vietnam in1975.
Iraq will remain a dangerous place until order can be reestablished. However, our troops have the ability to control the situation until a new Iraqi government force is ready to assume responsibility for establishing order.
Are American journalists ignorant about war? Perhaps it has been so long since the United States faced a strong enemy that journalists don’t know what a real war is like.
Are journalists hyping the conflict to attract viewers or readers? Or, are Democratic journalists trying to make it seem the situation is worse than it is because President George W. Bush is a Republican?
I also write at Mediard
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