Friday, June 25, 2004

What did we expect?

I was thinking about all the supposed bad war news, and how pretty much everyone seems to think that things are going poorly in Iraq and I was thinking: what the heck did we expect? Obviously things are not all hunky-dory; the Iraqis aren't holding hands with Americans singing Kumbaya around a campfire in the desert making smores, but has anything particularly horrible and unexpected happened? I can't come up with anything. Perhaps our ass-kicking of Saddam's army was too complete and it set-up unrealistic expectations in peoples minds for the following occupation.

It should be no surprise that there has been a low-level insurgency. We just put 130,000+ targets right in the middle of terrorist country, OF COURSE we were going to attract some fire. But the level of casualties has been miniscule when compared with essentially any other conflict in history. In World War I more people would die in an hour than we have lost over the past year. In a roughly similar situation in Chechnya, the Russkies have lost many times more people (they have been less than forthcoming with actual numbers). I'm not saying our casualties have been insignificant, but our troops have been performing very, very well. Even when Sadr and his thugs tried to rise up, we kicked his butt, killing thousands of his militamen.

The problem is truly one of perception not reality. The media have been pounding in every shred of bad news and reporting very little of the good. And it's all in pursuit of the selfish aim of undermining Bush. I was not a fan of Clinton, but there was no way in hell that I would have rooted for Serbia to beat us in the Kosovo war. Craven political calculation seems to be driving reportage on this war, and it's disgusting. The only hope of our enemies is for us to shoot ourselves in the head and surrender, and the Chomsky-ites and Michael Moore's among us are only too happy to comply.

My biggest complaint with the Bush administration is the spectacularly poor job they have done of communicating our goals and progress in the war in Iraq. Even with a hostile media there is much more they could do to aid in their own cause. There's been plenty of negative propaganda and an extreme lack of positive propaganda. This is something that blogs do a good job of correcting, the problem being that blogs have limited readership and thus influence. Especially when you average eight hits a day like me ;).

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