Turning the tide in Iraq

Turning the tide in Iraq

: Note well that The New York Times noted on its front page a tide turning against the insurgents in Iraq. John Burns writes:

In the first 18 months of the fighting, the insurgents mostly outmaneuvered the Americans along Haifa Street, showing they could carry the war to the capital’s core with something approaching impunity.

But American officers say there have been signs that the tide may be shifting. On Haifa Street, at least, insurgents are attacking in smaller numbers, and with less intensity; mortar attacks into the Green Zone have diminished sharply; major raids have uncovered large weapons caches; and some rebel leaders have been arrested or killed.

American military engineers, frustrated elsewhere by insurgent attacks, are moving ahead along Haifa Street with a $20 million program to improve electricity, sewer and other utilities. So far, none of the work sites have been attacked, although a local Shiite leader who vocally supported the American projects was assassinated on his doorstep in January.

But the change American commanders see as more promising than any other here is the deployment of large numbers of Iraqi troops.

The story is well-reported, getting down to details of tactics fighting insurgents in this one place.

But this is a trend we’ve been hearing elsewhere. Last week on MSNBC, the military analyst made a convincing case with numbers for the declining activities of the insurgents.

  • Tim FG

    I guess the elections made the difference. Nothing improved after (1) “mission accomplished”, (2) toppling of Saddam statue, (3) capture of Saddam, and (4) turning over government to Iraqis.
    Democracy works!!!

  • franky

    Ok, so MSM are liars all out to destroy the success of the war by a constant stream of negative news when they report how bad things are. But report something positive, and of course it’s the god’s truth.
    Can we at least be a little consistent with the credibility of the media to report on Iraq (and anything else for that matter)?

  • Dawn

    Ah, polls. Let’s see, there are over 293,000,000 people living in the U.S. The ABC poll contacted 501 of them. They then divided these 501 respondents into 10 groups (non-evangelical, evangelical, catholic, liberal, moderate, democrat, independent, republican, etc.) and did not indicate the number of respondents in each group. Clearly these groups could not be equal in size. Since groups were defined by religion and political parties, etc, clearly people contacted could belong to more than one group. Polls are always problematic. An argument should never be based on one poll.

  • When I see the byline John F. Burns I make sure to read the story. He’s the best.

  • EverKarl

    Most of the complaints about MSM coverage in Iraq has been the general failure of the MSM to (widely) report any of the good news coming out of Iraq. It’s not that the people complaining don’t believe the bad news (though the occasional story may be dubious), but the degree of the slant being given.
    This NYT story, in which a top Marine reports a dramatic decrease in insurgent attacks in western Iraq is a case in point. I just ran the Marine’s name (Sattler) through Google News. The results were: (1) the NYT story; (2) the NYT story in the IHT (which is owned at least in part by the NYT); (3) the same story reprinted by a couple of papers that must subscribe to the NYT news service (e.g., the Minneapolis Star-Tribune); and a link to the NYT story from a blog. Given the amount of news coverage given to insurgent attacks in the Sunni Triangle, one might think that similar coverage would be given to this story. Note that the NYT story I linked suggests that the attacks may have just shifted locations, so it’s not like this is some rah-rah propaganda piece.
    Bombings by insurgents get covered as a matter of routine. Most of the critics of the MSM would like pieces like this (and pieces about the Iraqis protesting terror actions, etc.) to get the same sort of play as an attack would. The MSM doesn’t even have to admit an antiwar bias; it could just as easily be the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality at work. But if the MSM wants to claim its coverage is fair, good news shouldn’t appear in one source and then disappear, either.

  • franky

    What you’ve laid out seems a reasonable case, but that is definitely not the majority opinion I’ve seen from the right-wing of the blogosphere. The majority of comments, posts, bloggers in that side when addressing the issue come close to a “stabbed in the back” idea, that the media is actively working against the enterprise in Iraqq so they can screw Bush.
    So to resume, I think that news of a decrease in attacks is definitely news, and all self-respecting journalists would agree. However, where I disagree is when some on the right basically end up demanding that “No person killed today in Falluja” stories be run – something that doesn’t happen cannot be news, while something that happens is news.