The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Perception drives conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is all that really matters in politics. But what drives perception? Without doubt, it’s information delivered by the MSM, and that’s what has given the MSM such power.

Today's conventional wisdom is that Iraq is a lost cause, that nothing good has happened as a consequence of this ill-conceived venture and, as a consequence, we should get out without regard to the longer term consequences.

But is Iraq a lost cause? Ralph Peters comments:
May 20, 2008 -- Do we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.

To be fair to the quit-Iraq-and-save-the-terrorists media, they have covered a few recent stories from Iraq:

* When a rogue US soldier used a Koran for target practice, journalists pulled out all the stops to turn it into "Abu Ghraib, The Sequel."

Unforgivably, the Army handled the situation well. The "atrocity" didn't get the traction the whorespondents hoped for.

* When a battered, bleeding al Qaeda managed to set off a few bombs targeting Sunni Arabs who'd turned against terror, that, too, received delighted media play.

* As long as Baghdad-based journalists could hope that the joint US-Iraqi move into Sadr City would end disastrously, we were treated to a brief flurry of headlines.

* A few weeks back, we heard about another Iraqi company - 100 or so men - who declined to fight. The story was just delicious, as far as the media were concerned.

Then tragedy struck: As in Basra the month before, absent-without-leave (and hiding in Iran) Muqtada al Sadr quit under pressure from Iraqi and US troops. The missile and mortar attacks on the Green Zone stopped. There's peace in the streets.

Today, Iraqi soldiers, not militia thugs, patrol the lanes of Sadr City, where waste has replaced roadside bombs as the greatest danger to careless footsteps. US advisers and troops support the effort, but Iraq's government has taken another giant step forward in establishing law and order.

With hindsight, the invasion of a Iraq was a mistake. It was ill-planned and ill-considered, never projecting the unintended consequences that war always precipitates. We rushed in and for a long time paid a terrible price.

But one ill-planned and ill-considered strategic move shouldn't precipitate rapid withdrawal, another ill-planned and ill-considered move that will invariably lead to unintended consequences that may yet lead to still another terrible price.

This is particularly true when we're finally making real progress in Iraq on all fronts.

Baloney, you say, it’s all bad over there.

Sorry, but that’s the MSM mime, not the hard truth. Driven by Bush Derangement Syndrome among reporters and editors and a continuing and powerful desire to bolster their candidate (as I’ve said before, if you have to ask who the MSM candidate is, you’re out of touch with reality), the MSM emphasizes every negative and deemphasizes every positive development. Again from Peters:
Meanwhile, they've [the MSM] performed yet another amazing magic trick - making Kurdistan disappear.

Remember the Kurds? Our allies in northern Iraq? When last sighted, they were living in peace and building a robust economy with regular elections, burgeoning universities and municipal services that worked.

After Israel, the most livable, decent place in the greater Middle East is Iraqi Kurdistan. Wouldn't want that news getting out.

If the Kurds would only start slaughtering their neighbors and bombing Coalition troops, they might get some attention. Unfortunately, there are no US or allied combat units in Kurdistan for Kurds to bomb. They weren't needed. And (benighted people that they are) the Kurds are pro-American - despite the virulent anti-Kurdish prejudices prevalent in our Saudi-smooching State Department.

Developments just keep getting grimmer for the fan base in the media. Iraq's Sunni Arabs, who had supported al Qaeda and homegrown insurgents, now support their government and welcome US troops. And, in southern Iraq, the Iranians lost their bid for control to Iraq's government.

Bury those stories on Page 36.

Our troops deserve better. The Iraqis deserve better. You deserve better. The forces of freedom are winning.

Now, I admit that Peter’s claims sound preposterous—after all, they conflict with perception and therefore question conventional wisdom. But are they inconsistent with the truth, with hard facts on the ground? If you keep an open mind and dig just a bit, you’ll find that there is no conflict.

To be clear, Bush and the neo-cons made a horrendous miscalculation when they toppled Saddam. And yes, we should extricate ourselves from Iraq once the country stabilized. The irony is that the next President, regardless of who wins, will do exactly that. The difference is that one candidate is telling the truth and the other is telling his base what they want to hear.