Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Surge

Do you know how you know the surge is working? Because of all the stories you haven’t read about it not working.

This is a sort of law of mine about the media. They never lie, they just leave out.

If something doesn’t agree with their world view or the story they are trying to push, they don’t deny it, they just ignore it.

That is why the media is so contemptuous and indignant at the existence of new media outlets that operate free of big media’s “ethical standards.” That is why they are so offended at media that have a point of view, it forces them to admit that they have one.

They are in the position of a prosecuting attorney that had gotten used to arguing his cases with the defendant allowed to communicate with the judge only through the prosecutor’s reports. The prosecutor, who prides himself on never lying, gets rather used to being allowed to decide what should be passed on to the judge and the jury. He even stops thinking of himself as a prosecutor and instead presents himself as the disinterested spokesman for truth.

All the sudden a defense attorney shows up and the prosecutor is indignant. It is not just that he has to work harder at arguing his side, it is that he has to admit to having a side. It is not so much the extra work he hates as the moral authority he misses.

If violence is down 80% with one extra brigade, what might be achieved with the arrival of the four more coming by May?

The point is not that everything is alright but that we can affect the situation on the ground by changing our tactics. The security problem is not driven by primordial ethnic hatreds, by some fact about the way “those people” are that we can do nothing about. It is that there is an enemy that is actually rather small, that has limited resources and that can be defeated.

We are always told by liberals that we shouldn’t over-generalize about Muslims whenever we are victims of terrorism, why shouldn’t the same point apply we Iraqis are victims?

The reporting on Iraq always seems to be premised on the idea that the terrorists DO represent the Iraqis. The terrorism is always seen as proof that they are not ready for democracy.

When Al Qaeda blew up the Mosque in Samara it was seized on as proof that democracy will never work there, that they are like that, too violent, unable to settle their differences in a civilized manner. If Muslim terrorists destroy something in the US we are at pains to criticize anyone that suggests their actions are somehow indicative of the feelings or intentions of the world’s Muslims. Why should we not at least as careful in the inferences we draw when the victims are Iraqis?