December 13, 2005


The Panic Over Iraq: What they're really afraid of is American success. (NORMAN PODHORETZ, December 12, 2005, Opinion Journal)

In Iraq today...and in the Middle East as a whole, a successful outcome is staring us in the face. Clearly, then, the panic over Iraq--which expresses itself in increasingly frenzied calls for the withdrawal of our forces--cannot have been caused by the prospect of defeat. On the contrary, my twofold guess is that the real fear behind it is not that we are losing but that we are winning, and that what has catalyzed this fear into a genuine panic is the realization that the chances of pulling off the proverbial feat of snatching an American defeat from the jaws of victory are rapidly running out.

Of course, to anyone who relies entirely or largely on the mainstream media for information, it will come as a great surprise to hear that we are winning in Iraq. Winning? Militarily? How can we be winning militarily when, day after day, the only thing of any importance going on in that country is suicide bombings and car bombings? When neither our own troops nor the Iraqi forces we have been training are able to stop the "insurgents" from scoring higher and higher body counts? When every serious military move we make against the strongholds of these dedicated and ruthless adversaries is met with "fierce resistance"? When, for every one of them we manage to kill, two more seem to pop up?

Winning? Politically? How can we be winning politically when the very purpose for which we allegedly invaded Iraq has been unmasked as a chimera? When every step we force the Iraqis to take toward democratization is accompanied by angry sectarian strife between Shiites and Sunnis and between Arabs and Kurds? When our clumsy efforts to bring the Sunnis into the political process have hardly made a dent in their support for the insurgency? When the end result is less likely to be the stable democratic regime we supposedly went there to establish than a civil war followed by the breakup of Iraq into three separate countries?

There has been one great exception to this relentless drumbeat of bad news. It occurred in January 2005, in the coverage of the first election in liberated Iraq. To the astonishment of practically everyone in the world, more than eight million Iraqis came out to vote on election day even though the Islamofascist terrorists had threatened to slaughter them if they did. This very astonishment was a measure of how false an impression had been created of the state of affairs in Iraq. No one fed by the mainstream media could have had the slightest inkling that these eight million people were actually there, so invisible had they been to reporters who spent all their time interviewing the discontented Iraqi man-in-the-street and to cameras seemingly incapable of focusing on anything but carnage and rubble.

But the mainstream media soon recovered from the shock.

It's that imperviousness to reality that leaves them so confused by the optimism Iraqis express in this recent spate of opinion polls as well.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 13, 2005 7:58 AM

Left Dems hold a quasi-religious belief that the U.S MUST lose any war that it needs to win. This belief is expressed quite eloquently in Mr. Dean's comment about winning in Iraq as not a 'bad idea',but a 'wrong(!)idea'.

paraphrasing: "You're not allowed to think that way!"

I cannot imagine that the voters will not punish such a departure from, well, reality.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at December 13, 2005 2:51 PM

it's also why the msm is in a death spiral -- they believe their own lies.

Posted by: noam chomsky at December 13, 2005 6:39 PM

The MSM will always believe that the side they support is winning. It's ever been thus.

Evelyn Waugh's writing on the Italo-Abyssinian War of 1935-6 provides countless examples.

(The Western press were rooting hard for the natives against the Italians -- Waugh was course rooting for the Italians.)

In a book about the war I saw this jaw-dropping example:

The Italians won a major battle somewhere or other, the turning pt of the war. The NYT correspondent was there, and wired back his report to NY.

The editors in NY however didn't believe that the Italians could have won such a devastating victory. They disregarded the report from their own correspondent, and cabled to Addis Ababa for confirmation. The Abyssinian propaganda office replied "no way, we didn't lose any battle. We won."

The NYT ran with the Abyssinian propaganda.

Not surprisingly, when Italian troops not long after swept into Addis Ababa the entire world was stunned. They'd been told for months by their newspapers that the Abyssinians were winning the war.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 13, 2005 7:29 PM