Monday, March 20, 2006

So How's It Going Over There?

From the ease and comfort of their offices in downtown Pittsburgh, the editorial staff of the Moist-Towelette newspaper regularly bash the Bush administration and criticize Operation Iraqi Freedom using all of the usual leftist talking points -- that it's a quagmire, that there are no WMD's, that Saddam was no threat, etc. It is refreshing, then, to open this morning's edition of the very same paper and read the viewpoints of people who are actually serving in Iraq:

Iraq was bad, nearly all of them agreed. "Not knowing day to day what was going to happen." "Hard to figure out who the enemy was." "Never being able to relax." "The rules are that there are no rules."

But it was not bad in the ways they see covered in the media -- the majority also agreed on this. What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."

Don't expect this kind of coverage to make a difference in the paper's editorial position. And if you think that the American presence is universally unwanted:

Arriving in Baghdad, "I had an Iraqi citizen come up to me," said Lance Cpl. Daniel Finn, a Marine infantryman. "She was a female. She opened her mouth and she had no tongue. She was pointing at the statue" of Saddam Hussein. "There were people with no fingers, waving at the statue of Saddam, telling us he tortured them. People were showing us the scars on their backs."

Those people know who the bad guys are and who the good guys are.

Our troops also had to make a home for themselves in the desert environment, as well as a few sacrifices:

Little by little, the cans arrived with their cushioned bunks and air conditioning. Showers and restrooms were built. Apart from the improvised explosive devices, the ambushes, the suicide bombers and the mortar attacks, life became sort of bearable. Rec centers opened with large-screen TVs and air-hockey tables. With a few exceptions, the veterans described a highly professional, almost spartan force, characterized by resilient morale and good discipline. "I didn't touch a girl or alcohol for seven months, and that was tough," said Sgt. Christopher Johnson of the Marine Reserve. Many said they were ready to return to Iraq.
"Ready to return". Remember that. It's not the kind of thing that you're going to read about or hear in the mainstream media. Just as the government puts forth its own propaganda, so does the media. The media does not represent the people..

The only way to get the true story is to talk to people who were there.

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