The Therapy Sessions
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Points of view
A journalist embeds with the military in Iraq and her views on the conflict change:
The view from on the ground:
Think about everything you’ve heard about the conditions in Iraq, the role of U.S. forces, the multi-layered complexities of the war.
Then think again.
I’m a journalist. I read the news everyday, from several sources. I have the luxury of reading stuff newspapers don’t always have room to print. I read every tidbit I could on Iraq and the war before coming.
Everything I thought I knew was wrong....
One of the most frustrating things about this war for me has been the disconnect between what Iraqis say, what our soldiers in Iraq say and what the media says.
Polls consistently show that 70% of Iraqis say their country has improved and will get better in a democratic future. Large majorities in both Sunni and Shiite areas see their future as unified and democratic.
Yet our pundits and armchair generals insist that the war is unwinnable.
Our military's morale is high, and many of our troops voluntarily blog about their experiences. By and large, they insist that the work they are doing is just and must continue.
But the media sees what it wants to see: the wounded and the dead, and a demoralized army that can't meet its recruiting for two straight months (when it exceeded those goals in the follwing two months, the story was largely ignored.)
Blogs are the only way to explain the other story.
And in this case, the story is not of a failing effort in a forgotten region of the world. It is one of the most important wars we have ever fought. If we lose, we will fight many more costly wars in this region in the future.
Insurgencies win by not losing: They simply wait for the other side to give up.
Our soldiers know this. Iraqis know this.
But many Americans don't want to think about that, and the media is encouraging them with its sorry rhetoric. Many Americans seem to think the problem in Iraq is us, and if we leave, everything will be OK again.
This view needs to be challenged.
This is why blogs exist.