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September 20, 2004

STRATEGYPAGE looks at the media dynamics of the conflict in Iraq:

Now you would think that this bunch of cutthroats, whose favorite tactics are kidnapping or threatening unarmed civilians, would be widely reviled. Nope. They are the underdogs, and have been labeled in the media as "insurgents." Since many countries, and their media, opposed the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, the "insurgents" get favorable press. Very favorable press. Iraq's problem with its armed anti-democracy groups is described as "widespread unrest," despite the fact that it is confined to that third of the country (most of it desert) that is dominated by the Sunni Arab minority (about 20 percent of the population). The Baath Party and Islamic radical leaders can read, and make the most of their status as "freedom fighters." OK, that last tag isn't used very often, as even most journalists gag at so describing two groups so openly dedicated to restoring dictatorship.

But they don't gag hard enough.

Meanwhile, The Belmont Club is crunching numbers on the Iraqi situation and finds Andrew Sullivan's portrayals excessively negative. ("The danger with uncritically accepting claims like 'the insurgency is spreading' or 'Bush is so desperate he is calling up the National Guard' is that it is not obviously supported by the geographical distribution of casualty figures, the rising number of enemy deaths, the drawdown in deployed forces nor does it account for changes in the force mix.") [LATER: Brian Dunn does more number-crunching here.]

Meanwhile, Winds of Change has its regular Iraq War roundup posted. (You do know to check that regularly, right?) Plus they have thoughts on what's going on with North Korea.

Over at the Wall St. Journal's OpinionJournal site, Arthur Chrenkoff notes the passing of a little noted Anniversary in Afghanistan, and reports on what has changed.

Finally, I keep getting emails from lefties saying "you're ignoring Iraq" and "you haven't posted on Iraq in weeks." Actually, I've made a point of starting every day with a big Iraq post, so that it doesn't get buried in the RatherGate news. But I have to wonder if these people know how to use the scrollbar, or if this is just some sort of mass email campaign designed to discourage coverage of Dan Rather and his phony documents. If so, it's not working!