Even Good Iraq News Means War’s Loss to Media


By: Warner Todd Huston

What is it about leftist pundits and their singular inability to accept good news about Iraq — if they acknowledge any good news at all — or, when they bother to report good news, their inexcusable usage of that news to formulate illogical policy suggestions in order to prove the war in Iraq is lost? Of this no better example can bee seen than a recent column by Time Columnist Joe Klein, who, while duly reporting the extremely good news in Iraq, draws all the wrong conclusions from that info based solely on his desire to cut and run in his titled, “The Ramadi Goat Grab.” The MSM just cannot accept ANY good news from Iraq without spinning it as verging on failure.

Klein writes on how promising the national political situation is in Iraq in his piece revealing how, “the Ramadi goat grab may turn out to be a significant moment in the stabilization of Iraq.” Of course, he can’t resist adding a “… or, since this is Iraq, maybe not.” One can understand pessimism in matters Middle Eastern, but his usage of the word “may” was plenty enough qualifying language, wouldn’t you say? His addition of “maybe not” just screams of Klein trying to keep the hatemongers of the anti-war blogosphere off his rear end.

Still, Klein gives us some very good news:

The level of attacks against U.S. forces has fallen dramatically across the country. There have been days, in recent weeks, when even Baghdad approached a tolerable level of urban violence and criminality. “And the Ramadi meeting wasn’t at all unique,” a senior U.S. diplomat told me. “You’ve had mass meetings of tribal leaders from Anbar and Karbala provinces,” which are the Sunni and Shi’ite heartlands, respectively. “The governors of those provinces were literally building trenches on their border, and they are now meeting regularly. You had the highest-ranking Sunni politician in the country, Tariq al-Hashemi, go to Najaf to meet with the leading Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani. All of this would have been unthinkable only a few months ago.”

So, what does Klein draw from this situation? Two questions (that turns out not to be two questions), the conclusions of which do not make too much sense.

The apparent progress raises two questions: First, as always, what’s the catch? And second, if the progress is real, if the Sunni extremists have been routed, if Baghdad has been ethnically cleansed to the point of near pacification, if the bottom-up reconciliation efforts are gaining momentum, what is the U.S. military mission now? Why can’t we start bringing home the bulk of our troops immediately?

What’s the catch? The “catch” is, will it work? And nothing else. Klein obviously thinks that there are ulterior motives but does not bother to elucidate… meaning he has nothing to say, just vague “feelings” that it isn’t real somehow and this just speaks to his desire NOT to see anything real. What’s wrong with being optimistically guarded and moving forward with hope? That seems too much to ask for from Klein.

Then he thinks our goal is “ethnic cleansing” in Baghdad? That seems quite a charge. It’s interesting he doesn’t back that charge up, but just says it as if it were a fact.

Third, he looks at the situation and immediately wonders why we can’t all come home now? What a wild jump to make! Here is the situation as it would occur if Klein were in control… The teacher confronts the two kids fighting on the playground and tells them to stop. Then, after they both promise to be nice and start a nice game of marbles, the teacher immediately leaves the scene. Would anyone doubt it if the kids immediately started fighting again once the teacher left?

In my example the teacher is the stabilizing factor. In Iraq the US Military is the stabilizing factor. And if the US Military leaves now that stabilizing factor will be removed faster than the ties that will bind the factions in Iraq together can be built. If we follow Klein’s prescription and immediately leave just because we see the very first signs of the various Iraqi factions working together, why would we assume that they would continue that new relationship?

The Surge just started and Klein wants the troops to abandon the effort even as it has resulted in this great, initial success, a success even Klein is celebrating. Where is the logic here?

Further, Klein wants to paint Iraqi rebel Muqtada al-Sadr as a force powerful enough to scuttle everything there. But Sadr has lost much of his initial power and is fast becoming the tale of yesterday’s strongman. He knows it and so do his handlers in Iran. Klein gives him far too much influence on the situation in Iraq, not that he has none, but that influence is waning faster than the others ties are even being built. Sadr doesn’t even fully control all his own people at this point, so Klein gives him far more credit than is due him.

But, doesn’t it appear that Klein is looking as hard as he can for factors that will make our efforts in Iraq abound to failure? Even in a report filled with upbeat information about the national political situation in Iraq, Klein can’t resist throwing as much cold water on the fire as he can.

It all follows the MSM playbook: no good news in Iraq.

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