Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BBC Discovers "Something Missing"

The latest light bulb to become illuminated in the news media comes from all places... the good 'ol BBC.
Washington Diary: Changes In Iraq
Wednesday November 21 2007
By Matt Frei

BBC News, Washington

Have you noticed it too?
It dawned on me some time last week.
Something is missing from the front pages of my newspapers and the headlines of our TV bulletins.
There was a picture that was so common and had become such an ingrained part of my electronic wallpaper that I almost stopped noticing it, until I noticed its absence.
I'm talking about the murder and mayhem of Iraq. It has stopped being big news not because it has stopped being interesting, but because it has stopped happening to the same extent.
All the indicators for violence are down.
But Matt can't go without hoping...

Before I go on, let me add the provisos: overall, 2007 will still be the most violent year for US troops since the 2003 invasion. Iraqis are still dying in unacceptable numbers. And there is no suggestion that the decline in bloodshed is a permanent trend.

Military commanders on the ground are very careful not to crow about the successes. Nor is the White House doing so. They are hoping that the facts will eventually speak for themselves.

In the past, boastful words have turned to dust almost as soon as they were uttered.

Matt must admit however that the surge has worked...

So what has caused this decline?
An extra 30,000 US troops on the ground since the beginning of the so-called surge have certainly made a difference.

Shuttered Baghdad markets have re-opened for business. Silent streets have come to life with the sound of children playing football and mothers yelling for attention. The din of normality has trumped the silence of fear.

In Anbar province - which used to be the heart of the insurgency - Sunni leaders are fed-up with the high-handed brutality of al-Qaeda's fighters, deemed to have abused their hospitality and outstayed their welcome.

They have become unwanted house guests and, although the Sunni leaders still eventually want the Americans to leave, they see the al-Qaeda heavies as the greater menace.

But Matt can't simply give up hope for defeat that easily...

This conversion may have come too late for Iraq. It may only work in conjunction with extra troops on the ground, many of which are due to come home anyway as their rotations end in the spring.
Then the guns could easily come out of the attic again and the violence could spike, especially if Iraq's hapless political masters do not use the window of opportunity to patch up their differences and do what they were elected to do: govern the country.

Oh yes, they will govern, the only question is, will you in the media ignore it the way you admit you have done every other success in Iraq so far?

Notice that Matt points out that every paper and tv news organization isn't reporting on violence and death in Iraq (because it isn't happening) BUT fails to question WHY his and other news organizations fail to report the "phenomenal success" of the surge and other good news from Iraq?
Another light bulb for another day perhaps...



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