Carry On:

Carrying On:

Blackfive has an article on American media bias against the military in Iraq. He saw, on his commute, this Chicago newspaper misrepresenting a grieving Marine for a shell-shocked one. The UK papers ran the same picture, but got it right:

A STUNNED Marine wiped a tear from his eye after hearing a pal in his platoon had been shot during fighting in Iraq yesterday.

But the American soldier bravely regained his composure and went to join the combat.

I agree with Blackfive that this represents a kind of bias, but I don't think it's a conscious one. It arises from a complete failure to understand the military, its culture or its science. I was listening to NPR last night, and the same theme carried across. The war in Iraq was "hopeless," according to one commenter who was given several minutes--I didn't hear who he was. He said, though, that it was 'just like 1968, and you get the call from the President, and he says the Tet offensive is on. What do you tell him? I don't know. We are without any hope of victory.'

The truth is that, from a military perspective, the Tet Offensive was a complete victory for US and South Vietnamese forces:

The Communist offensive was decisively repulsed. There was no general uprising in favor of the North. The South Vietnamese army did not buckle, though operating at 50% strength because of imprudent holiday leaves. The indigenous Viet Cong were destroyed, leaving the rest of the war to be conducted by troops recruited in the North.
This kind of fight is exactly what our forces are trained to do. This is the kind of fight we should be glad to have. There is nothing more we can ask of Iraq than that the enemies of stability should be out in the field, engaged in battle with us. They are now a clear military problem, one for which the officers in the field have studied and the men in the field have trained. They are engaged in a stand-up fight with us. They can't hope to prevail, and in fact are breaking: witness today's shift on the part of al-Sadr's forces to hostage taking. Having gotten them into the field, we shall clear the field. Iraq will enter its successor government with a whole lot fewer insurgents, and witnessed memories of the abject failure of insurgency against US forces.

To those who report without understanding, however, this looks like bad news. It's scary, like the Tet Offensive was scary; there are fires and angry men with guns who hate us. The news crawl startles them--US forces engaged in fourteen cities across Iraq! What they forget, or rather never knew, is that the US forces were designed for simultaneous engagement on up to three continents. The instability won't last. The wave will break, the Coalition will bind these insurgents in fourteen rings of steel, like the one cast already around Fallujah. In a few days those who have not been captured or killed will be hiding in fear. We will be flush with victory, and in possession of a great deal of new intelligence information on who is backing these groups--whether it is official government aid from regional powers, or factional aid from folks like al-Sadr's cousin, the leader of Hezbollah. Then we can tailor the next phase of action, to take the fight to those who hoped to bring the fight to us.

No hope? Despair is the worst thing, and encouraging it is no fit use of the talents of an educated man such as NPR prefers to consult. There is always hope, even in darkness: but there is never better reason to hope for victory than while the United States Marines are still deployed in the field. The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is a very sign of hope, hope for victory, and for liberty.

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