Retired U.S. Army officer Ralph Peters has a must read article up today at Real Clear Politics which addresses the various claims made by, ahem, the usual suspects regarding the state of Iraq. Here’s a preview:
During a recent visit to Baghdad, I saw an enormous failure. On the part of our media. The reality in the streets, day after day, bore little resemblance to the sensational claims of civil war and disaster in the headlines.
No one with first-hand experience of Iraq would claim the country’s in rosy condition, but the situation on the ground is considerably more promising than the American public has been led to believe. Lurid exaggerations and instant myths obscure real, if difficult, progress.
I left Baghdad more optimistic than I was before this visit. While cynicism, political bias and the pressure of a 24/7 news cycle accelerate a race to the bottom in reporting, there are good reasons to be soberly hopeful about Iraq’s future.
Much could still go wrong. The Arab genius for failure could still spoil everything. We’ve made grave mistakes. Still, it’s difficult to understand how any first-hand observer could declare that Iraq’s been irrevocably “lost.”
Consider just a few of the inaccuracies served up by the media:
Claims of civil war. In the wake of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a flurry of sectarian attacks inspired wild media claims of a collapse into civil war. It didn’t happen. Driving and walking the streets of Baghdad, I found children playing and, in most neighborhoods, business as usual. Iraq can be deadly, but, more often, it’s just dreary.
Iraqi disunity. Factional differences are real, but overblown in the reporting. Few Iraqis support calls for religious violence. After the Samarra bombing, only rogue militias and criminals responded to the demagogues’ calls for vengeance. Iraqis refused to play along, staging an unrecognized triumph of passive resistance.
Expanding terrorism. On the contrary, foreign terrorists, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have lost ground. They’ve alienated Iraqis of every stripe. Iraqis regard the foreigners as murderers, wreckers and blasphemers, and they want them gone. The Samarra attack may, indeed, have been a tipping point–against the terrorists.
Hatred of the U.S. military. If anything surprised me in the streets of Baghdad, it was the surge in the popularity of U.S. troops among both Shias and Sunnis. In one slum, amid friendly adult waves, children and teenagers cheered a U.S. Army patrol as we passed. Instead of being viewed as occupiers, we’re increasingly seen as impartial and well-intentioned.
If you can’t read it in its entirety now, please print it and do so later today.
Hat tip: QandO.
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