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Misreporting of Iraq

by Jalexson

Originally published at
(Note: articles cited by no longer be available on the web)

Will ignorant Democrats and journalists turn our victory in Iraq into a defeat? As a Vietnam Vet I was unenthusiastic about the war in Iraq because I realized there would be some residual guerrilla warfare that would be misinterpreted by the media. Some have already begun suggesting that the situation is hopeless.

In a July 10th editorial titled "A Troubled Occupation in Iraq" the New York Times states: "We would have hoped that two months after the end of the war in Iraq, 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.) in the July 7th Washington Post agrees: "The opportunity to build a more stable and democratic Iraq, made possible by our stunning military victory, is now in jeopardy. We're seeing surprisingly fierce resistance to coalition forces and to our efforts to remake the country"

Has the situation actually gotten worse since May 13 when Washington Post staff writer Peter Slevin described the following conditions: "Reports of carjackings, assaults and forced evictions grew today, adding to an impression that recent improvements in security were evaporating. Fires burned anew in several Iraqi government buildings and looting resumed at one of former president Saddam Hussein's palaces. The sound of gunfire rattled during the night;"

Well, not exactly. A July 8th Washington Post editorial "Facing Reality in Iraq" states: "Most of Iraq is stable, and most Iraqis continue to cooperate with the U.S. mission in the hope that it will succeed in passing power to a representative government." The editorial then adds: "But in military terms, the postwar situation is getting worse rather than better. Enemy forces, concentrated in areas north and west of Baghdad where support for the old regime was strongest, have grown bolder and more effective by the week."

Is the military situation really "deteriorating" or is it a matter of never having complete control in the first place. American forces initially routed the enemy. Now enemy forces are regrouping and developing tactics to create enough of a conflict that stupid Americans will decide the war is lost because of the difficulty of eliminting all violence. 

Many Americans don't understand how easy it is to engage in guerrilla activity. Individiual hit and run raids are difficult to prevent. 

Guerrilla type activities aren't limited to war zones. Last year a couple of snipers managed to move around the nation's capital shooting people at will. They were never caught in the act. They were caught through a national investigation that used evidence acquired on the West Coast to identify them and the vehicle they were using. The capital is now dealing with a serial arsonist. In prior years, Americans had to deal with the unibomber, the Son of Sam and the Zodiac killer among other criminals. 

Iraq has many people associated with the former regime who would like to regain their previous status and whose only real "job skills" are warfare oriented. They have no hope of defeating our army. Their only hope is that stupid American politicians and journalists will decide that the failure to kill all of them means the war cannot be "won".

The real world isn't like the movies. In the movies, the good guys overthrow the tyrant and then everyone lives happily ever after. In the real world, overthrowing a tyrant is followed by a lengthy process of restoring order before anyone can live happily ever after. The initial loss of order causes those who have been repressed to take advantage of their new freedom. They may take out their anger on anyone or anything. Restoring order requires recreating government from scratch. A process that takes time.

Sen. Lieberman might think Iraqi resistance is "surprisingly fierce", but those familiar with the Middle East probably won't. Perhaps the Senator is unfamiliar with Afganistan, where our troops still occasionally come under fire, or Pakistan, where people occasionally kill members of other religious groups, including other Muslim groups. From what I've heard so far, the Iraqis are less of a threat than the North Vietnamese Army or the Viet Cong were.

Saddam Hussein's army wasn't destroyed, it fell apart. Parts of it have had time to regroup, observe American operations and develop tactics for attacks on American forces. 

American forces now must develop tactics to counter those attacks. In urban areas, helicopters can be used to observe crowds from above and watch for potential attackers. Helicopters could also follow attackers to their homes so ground forces could pick them up later. 

War is a learning process. Each side adapts to what the other does. Part of the process is learning to recognize potential danger areas and situations to reduce the potential for successful surprise attacks.

I realize American soldiers are dying in Iraq, but as Col. Henry Blake pointed out, "in war, young men[and women] die." That's one of the unfortunate things about war. 

Soldiers risk their lives for our safety. I wish they didn't have to. I wish police officers didn't have to risk their lives by arresting drug dealers and other dangerous criminals. I wish firefighters didn't have to risk their lives going into burning buildings. Somebody has to perform those tasks. Some people have to risk their lives to protect our safety. Hundreds of soldiers, police officers and firefighters who were just doing their jobs died in the 9/11 attacks.

  It's no longer important whether we should or shouldn't have invaded Iraq. The fact is we did, and if we give up now Saddam Hussein will regain power and no one will believe any threats the United States makes in the future. 



I also write at Mediard

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