September 25, 2003

DONALD WALTER, the federal judge whose piece on Iraq I posted here last week, now has an oped on the same topic in the New York Post. Nice to see that this stuff is making it into the mainstream media. Then there’s this piece by Jack Kelly:

Last week, I covered the return to Pittsburgh from Iraq of a Marine reserve military police company. These Marines made the march of Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division, and spent the bulk of the postwar period escorting convoys between Basra and Najaf. Each of the seven Marines I interviewed said that more than 90 percent of the Iraqis they encountered were friendly.

The accounts of these Marines square with those of most other servicemen returned from Iraq, and with my own experiences as a reporter embedded with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in western Iraq, and with the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad. But it’s a story you hardly ever hear on the evening news.

Iraq is a dangerous place. Saddam Hussein is still at large, as are thousands of his diehard supporters. They’ve been joined by hundreds, perhaps thousands of foreign terrorists. Though these “insurgents” cannot challenge the U.S. military for control of any part of the country, they’ll be able to conduct remote ambushes and terror bombings for months to come.

But viewed in historical perspective, things in Iraq are pretty good, and getting better. The insurgents are a tiny — and dwindling — minority. Most of the country is at peace. Nobody is starving. Signs of reviving economic activity are everywhere. In no country in the Arab world are Americans as popular as they are in Iraq.

Some more of those returning-soldier accounts that David Adesnik was asking for. And they do all seem consistent with the reports of other non-media observers, and even those of some returning reporters now. Nice to see a little perspective starting to appear.

UPDATE: Reader John MacDonald emails:

Dan Rather was on 60 minutes II yesterday from Baghdad.The scene of traffic moving behind him was revealing in its normalcy.If the media persists in focusing mostly on the negatives they are going to lose their credibility.The great unwashed aren’t total idiots.

Indeed. Meanwhile Howard Veit emails that Bush is the idiot:

Bush is committing political suicide by not countering the media assault on the Iraq War. All he’d have to do is read aloud one letter per day from a soldier over there. He won’t do it or hasn’t the moxie to do it. Those of us who looked at the last election as one between two mediocre men are fearful that we were right. It is too stupid for words to allow a Left Wing Media to destroy this presidency but it is happening before our eyes. Bush is doing nothing to stop it. And all he’d have to do is read one letter per day from the web. You tell me, is that stupid or not?

Yeah, the vaunted White House spin machine seems to have been stuck between cycles on this one.