War Reporting, Compare and Contrast

Then, media provided background information and explained strategy:

1918: Hindenburg Line is broken*
The Hindenburg Line, a strong system of German defenses in northwestern France, was broken by the Allied forces today. German leaders had previously believed the line was impregnable, comparing it to the Great Wall of China.

“Americans and British have smashed the whole Hindenburg line south of Cambrai advancing two miles over an eight mile front, according to information received from the front this afternoon. The break thru the Hindenburg line was made from just north of the fortress of La Catelet to just north of St. Quentin,” wrote the Oxnard Courier on September 30, 1918. “La Catelet was taken by storm by the Americans and was the first of the Doual-Cambrai-St. Quentin forts of the Hindenburg line to fall.”

The line was nearly 100 miles long and ten miles deep in some places. The Battle of the Hindenburg Line, as it is called, began on September 18 and was an important turning point in the Hundred Days Offensive, as well as the war itself.

Now, media provides anecdotes and body counts of our troops, allies, and civilians (but not enemies):

U.S. announces 9 troop deaths in Iraq By KIM GAMEL Associated Press Writer
A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Shiite holy city of Karbala as the streets were packed with people heading for evening prayers, killing at least 58 and wounding scores near some of the country’s most sacred shrines. Separately, the U.S. military announced the deaths of nine American troops, including three killed Saturday in a single roadside bombing outside Baghdad.

With black smoke clogging the skies above Karbala, angry crowds hurled stones at police and later stormed the provincial governor’s house, accusing authorities of failing to protect them from the unrelenting bombings usually blamed on Sunni insurgents. It was the second car bomb to strike the city’s central area in two weeks.

Near the blast site, survivors frantically searched for missing relatives. Iraqi television showed one man carrying the charred body of a small girl above his head as he ran down the street while ambulances rushed to retrieve the wounded and firefighters sprayed water at fires in the wreckage, leaving pools of bloody water.

The Americans killed in Iraq included five who died in fighting Friday in Anbar province, three killed when a roadside bomb struck their patrol southeast of Baghdad and one killed in a separate roadside bombing south of the capital.

The deaths raised to 99 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died this month and at least 3,346 who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

Now, you have to get the real war news from Pat Dollard and other war bloggers in Iraq:

Today a bomb went off at one of the Shiites’ holiest shrines in Iraq. The media will report this vaguely as “sectarian violence” and not as part of the apocalyptic final deathgrip we are now locked in with Al Qeada. They will mention Al Qaeda, but that’s about as close as to the big picture that they will get. While the maisntream media hasn’t been giving you the real narrative, I’ve been reoporting to you, for nearly two weeks, that a dramatic offensive, conducted by our Marines and our new Sunni allies, many of whom had been fighting us just months before, had driven Al Qaeda out of their Al Anbar base. As a result, Al Qaeda has launched a devestating counterattack in the Baghdad/Triangle of Death area, and has been trying to make some noise in smaller towns outside of Ramadi. Petraeus has reported all of this over the last 72 hours, but the media instead presents only a muddied picture of seemingly random violence. Perhaps to do so might provide America with clarity and hope. Perhaps that is the problem.

The Shrine was destroyed by Al Qaeda to try to create a civil war in Iraq, thereby leveraging, amongst other things, a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. There is no civli war in Iraq. Just ganglords recruiting and fighting turf wars under color of sectarianism.

The people of Iraq have no investement in civil war, and this is why civil war is not being waged on a populist level. Al Qaeda and Al Sadr are trying to change all of that.

If Pat Dollard, Bill Roggio, Michael Fumento and Michael Yon can go over there and get the news, why can’t CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and the rest do it? The media is not practicing journalism, it is waging a propaganda war against the United States.

[Update: Welcome, Stuff You Can Use readers... I can't comment on the post which linked here, but I do have a response: While the news in WWI and WWII may well have been biased, it was not biased in favor of our enemies. It is today. There are literally thousands of examples, from CNN showing enemy propaganda sniper video, to the NY Times exposing a perfectly legal program which in fact had been exactly what the 9/11 Commission prescribed, to consistently burying any positive war news ten or more paragraphs down in articles. Part of this is the "if it bleeds, it leads," phenomenon, but that doesn't come close to explaining the day in/day out pressure for us to lose this war. The facts on the ground do not support the view that we have already lost the war, or that we cannot possibly win it. But the media consistently promotes that view, and has since very early on. Part of the reason is that they are relying on stringers who often have a motive for not reporting accurately. The truth is that our military is fighting amazingly well, and that losing less than 3,500 troops speaks volumes about their skill, training, and professionalism. This is no Vietnam. After listening to what Gen. Petraeus has said, seeing the statistics so far on a surge where only 60% of the new troops have been deployed, and reading what soldiers on the ground and Iraqis are writing about the surge, we should have every expectation to win this. I'll even give the Democrats credit. As Joe Lieberman said earlier this week, they complained all along that basic security should have been addressed, and that more troops should have been sent. Now they're getting what they've wanted all along and it's working! But they refuse to believe the general they unanimously voted to send, and the media refuses to report on the successes of the surge.

It's not a coincidence that the media, which admits overwhelmingly to being more liberal than conservative, reports on the war from the perspective of the Democratic Party. I'm not saying that there is a grand conspiracy and this is all planned out in smoke-filled back rooms - far from it. But there is certainly a "conspiracy" of shared values.

Finally, netchicken wrote:

Read her links to what she considers good reporting, but be thankful that we have the ability to mine such rich sources of news in our society. Its the best of all worlds when it comes to war reporting more than any time ever in history.

I AM thankful that there are so many avenues of information out there. If there were not, I would be among the millions of Americans who rely on the MSM and genuinely believe that the war is hopeless, lost, and that we can cut and run again with no real penalties.]

[Updated again: Here's another example - as seen at Hot Air, the NY Times has finally, grudgingly, begun reporting the successes in Anbar that blog readers have known about for some time. They admit in the article that this turnaround began last September. Why is this the first time most people are hearing of it? This was big news six months ago to the people fortunate enough to learn of it - and if I, a web developer in New Orleans, could learn it, then I feel safe in saying that reporters in Iraq could have as well. The media may try their best to avoid it, but they can't ultimately hide the truth - there are too many alternatives sources now. They are doing their best to delay and minimize it, hoping that things will turn back their way before 2008.]

*Subscription required to view these articles:
Americans Breaking Hindenburg Line
The Lima Daily News, September 29, 1918
Continued: Americans Break Hindenburg Line
Hindenburg Line
La Crosse Tribune and Leader-Press, September 29, 1918
Whole West Line May Collapse
The Evening Telegram, September 30, 1918
Break Huns’ Line
Oxnard Courier, September 30, 1918

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson’s Website, Big Dog’s Weblog, Shadowscope, The Pet Haven Blog, Stuck On Stupid, Leaning Straight Up, The Amboy Times, Pet’s Garden Blog, Rightlinx, third world county, Woman Honor Thyself, Stageleft, , stikNstein… has no mercy, Pirate’s Cove, The Right Nation, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, A Blog For All, 123beta, Maggie’s Notebook, Adam’s Blog, basil’s blog, Cao’s Blog, The Bullwinkle Blog, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, Allie Is Wired, Faultline USA, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Walls of the City, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, High Desert Wanderer, and OTB Sports, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.


  1. Netchicken says:

    Your article merely creates a straw man of an argument and draws a conclusion that you want to be made, not objectivly reached.

    War reprting hstorically has ALWAYS been biased, but never ever in the past has there ever been the wealth of coverage that we have now.

    Our freedom is expressed in a multitude of viewpoints on conflicts that people can read for themselves, or, as you are doing, cherry picking to make your point.

    More on this artle here

  2. winterbear says:

    Part of what your compaining about is the fact that what is being reported on is not a war but an occupation. The war ended a few weeks after it began in 2003. The military victory at that point was nothing short of a triumph. Your comment about the low casualty figures really only works for the period of “major combat operations”.

    The reporting your compaining about comes from the fact that there is no real enemy to speak of, no opposing governement troops or organized military resistance. We are fighting the wind… and everything our military does is creating more resentment and resistence. There are no “battles” to report on… only chaos and random skermishes.

    The problem today is that we are in an occupation of a forign country, and that occupation has not been going well for almost 4 years. The US civilian administrators have made a ton of stupid mistakes that have created the situation in Iraq (firing of the military, debathification, abu grabe, not securing weapons stocks, etc.).

    Its time to admit the truth. We won the war. But we have lost the occpation and there is nothing left to do but withdraw our troops as orderly as possible.

  3. winterbear, if we’ve lost, what is that (very tardy) NY Times article I linked to above all about? What you are saying is completely inconsistent with what the troops on the ground, and their commanders, are saying. I believe they are in a better position to know than you are. Start reading milblogs and warblogs if you want to know what’s really going on.

  4. And incidentally, for you defeatists, please consider this letter, and many more if you follow the link:

    We’ve lost? By what measure? It seems as though we are measuring our losses through the terrorist’s eyes and those of Al Quaida and not our own. As someone who knows many people actively involved in the war, I am not hearing about our loss. On the contrary, I hear of hospitals and schools being built, about capacity building, about smiles on children’s faces, about how we are getting Bagdhad back since the surge started. Though we mourn the loss of every troop who has died, our losses don’t even compare with ANY previous major war, especially when you consider the amount gained. Do you know how many Iraqi doctors have received training in Western medicine because of our presence? What about Iraqi engineers, economists? We CAN win this war, but only with your support. If we lose this war, and I mean IF, it will be the fault of those who have pre-declared our loss, and you seem to be their flag bearer.

  5. Here’s another:

    Senator Reid:
    When you say we’ve lost in Iraq, I don’t think you understand the effect of your words. The Iraqis I speak with are the good guys here, fighting to build a stable government. They hear what you say, but they don’t understand it. They don’t know about the political game, they don’t know about a Presidential veto, and they don’t know about party politics.

    But they do know that if they help us, they are noticed by terrorists and extremists. They decide to help us if they think we can protect them from those terrorists. They tell us where caches of weapons are hidden. They call and report small groups of men who are strangers to the neighborhood, men that look the same to us, but are obvious to them as a foreign suicide cell.

    To be brief, your words are killing us. Your statements make the Iraqis afraid to help us for fear we’ll leave them unprotected in the future. They don’t report a cache, and its weapons blow up my friends in a convoy. They don’t report a foreign fighter, and that fighter sends a mortar onto my base. Your statements are noticed, and they have an effect.

    Finally, you are mistaken when you say we are losing. We are winning, I see it every day. However, we will win with fewer casualties if you help us. Will you?

    LT Jason Nichols, USN MNF-I, Baghdad


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