16 January 2008

The Surge and the Media

There's some good reading on the right-wing site HumanEvents entitled "The Surge: Still Working". It's written by a retired SpecOps LTC by the name of the Roger D. Carstens. I'm gonna try and respectfully critique his article in the hopes that I don't piss off the green berets and end up getting covertly punched in the face in the middle of the night. The crux of the article suggests that yes the surge is working, but the media isn't covering it, so it's not helping win the information war.

The bottom line here is that the surge is succeeding. Yet for the most part, these stories of success are going unreported in the media. Why this lack of reporting is so important is that war is a test of will between two sides, in which each side is trying to break the other's will to continue the struggle.

While I agree with most of the article, I believe Mr. Carstens is thinking about the media from too much of an American point of view. It is definitely true that American media coverage of the Iraq war has tanked and the current anti-war meme is that there is no political progress associated with the surge. The Iraq war is a highly contentious political issue and this type of discourse should be expected back stateside. But with our stated goal in Iraq being to enable the Iraqis to step up to the plate, I think it's more important to take a look at the media in the Middle East to see what kind of news they are getting. The training I got from the Army on Arabic didn't go much beyond "Hello", "Thanks", and "Halt", so fortunately there's some english-translated Arabic media. For example, here's Voices of Iraq talking about libraries in Karbala, and here's Gulf News talking about Rice swinging by Baghdad to praise the passing of the Accountability and Justice Law. The tone has definitely shifted since my time following Arabic media and that's a good thing, because a war isn't just about body counts. It's important that the Iraqis start believing that they can provide security and prosper in their own country, so that us Western types can get the hell out of here.

Iraqi Army in action on Al-Arabiya TV


David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/16/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

membrain said...

Excellent point LT.Nixon. Thanks for the links.

Bag Blog said...

It seems lately that we get very little news about our military in the ME. I think it is because the liberal media does not want to say much good about the war, so they don't say much at all.

LT Nixon said...


Thanks for swinging by!

David M,

Thanks for linking to your most excellent blog, The Thunder Run.

Bag Blog,

I agree with you on the liberal media piece, which is why I've turned to the blogosphere for a more pluralistic approach. Iraqi media is up and coming and has a lot of good insight into what's happening out here. The Voices of Iraq website is a must read and it's got some english.