I have been writing for months now about the drop off in news from Iraq and how the media presence has diminished considerably since fewer American troops have been killed or injured, which apparently is the only criteria for "news" among many of those covering Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was gratifying to see Fox News do a segment this week on Brit Hume's Special Report confirming what I wrote a while back, that the permanent media presence in Iraq has dropped from hundreds back when the Surge was getting underway to a few dozen now. Few of those few dozen media people - aside from Fox - are doing any reporting on American victories though.
There was a flurry of activity in Afghanistan after 9 of our troops were killed in a coordinated Taliban attack, which by the way, was hugely unsuccessful with the Taliban forces being wiped out and failing to gain their objective.
Unless, once again like Vietnam, the real objective was to throw inordinate numbers of terrorist troops into a suicide mission against American forces so the media would report it as an American "setback" regardless of what really happened on the ground.
In the midst of all this non-reporting there was an eruption of coverage over Barack Obama's decision to grace our troops with his presence for a day or two. Well, maybe he didn't really grace them after all, since he ignored most, spent minimal time with those he didn't ignore - and please, don't try to con the American voters into this "Congressional fact-finding" nonsense.
When you shoot basketball in front of specially selected troops and then play the video on the news back home as if it really is NEWS, it isn't. It is just a publicity stunt. I can make three-pointers too, by the way. The hoop is outside by my driveway if you want to check it out and make a video.
How are Obama's publicity stunts in Afghanistan, which are labeled as Senate "work," any different than his aborted decision to visit wounded troops in Germany, which he claims the Pentagon prohibited him from doing because it wasn't Senate work? Basketball and breakfast with the troops in Afghanistan are "work," but visiting wounded soldiers in Germany is not?
Something doesn't smell right here. But then, something hasn't smelled right about this trip from the start. I saw a member of Congress on Fox News' America's Newsroom Friday morning, a Democrat with a long and distinguished military career, splitting hairs on Obama's activities shooting hoops in Afghanistan but not visiting the wounded in Germany claiming there was "a fine line" of difference between the two.
No disrespect intended to a fellow veteran but that simply doesn't wash, and sir, if you can take a well-intended constructive assessment of your performance on Fox, the next time a Congressional leader asks you to make an appearance that puts you in a similar position, use your best command demeanor and tell him - or her - to do it because you have more respect for the American voters than that.
And as much as I distrust polls as used by the media to tell us how to think, the one valuable piece of information the polls did give us this time is that most Americans aren't fooled by this multi-million taxpayer funded publicity stunt at all.
What I believe is the most telling event of the entire trip is Obama's refusal to declare the Surge successful. He wants our troops to vote for him but can't bring himself to admit that he was wrong.
What an opportunity Obama and his handlers missed there. If he had merely fessed up and said "I was wrong, you guys were right, and I never should have doubted you. I will never make that mistake again" he at least would have garnered some sympathy among undecideds and maybe picked up a few votes.
But what Obama showed is that he is in denial. I don't care if you supported or didn't support the War in Iraq at the outset, the fact is, tens of thousands of terrorists and their top leaders were lured there to fight the jihad against America, and now they are dead.
The fact is, as I have written many times before, Abu Al Zarqawi was in Iraq with Saddam Hussein's support and blessing, before the invasion, rebuilding the terrorist network that was destroyed in Afghanistan. Iraq was the intended launching pad for new attacks on the US and Europe, Saddam was up to his teeth in it, and now they all are dead.
Iraq may not be a perfect model of anything, but it is on its way to being a stable democracy with considerable support for the US, rather than an unstable hotbed of terrorism. The terrorists are fleeing back to the mountains of Pakistan trying to recreate the Taliban, and it isn't because we dropped the ball there, it is because there is no other safe haven for them in the world.
Meanwhile Barack Obama deals with this reality by claiming we don't know what would have happened if we had followed his plan and scurried away instead? Yes we do! Iraq and the entire Middle East would be aflame, new attacks would be launched against us by the tens of thousands of undead terrorists, and we would once again have zero respect on the world stage.
That is the true nature of humanity, not the media version where you can talk to rabid dogs and convince them of the error of their ways like some kind of surreal Disney movie.
Oh, there was some news in Afghanistan, but you probably didn't see in the states. Consider this report from Reuters which I didn't see in my local papers or on my Internet provider's regularly updated news reports:
A senior Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan surrendered to Pakistani authorities and British forces killed another leader, dealing a "shattering blow" to the militant group's leadership, the British army said on Tuesday. (July 22, 2008.)
Mullah Rahim, the top commander for southern Helmand province, gave himself up after British forces had killed two other Taliban leaders in little over three weeks.
Hours after his surrender, another senior Taliban commander, Abdul Rasaq, also known as "Mullah Sheikh," was killed in a British missile strike 15 km (9 miles) north of the town of Musa Qala in Helmand on Monday morning, the British army said in a statement. Three other insurgents also died.
Rasaq headed Taliban actions around Musa Qala and was active in the insurgency for a number of years, it said.
"The Taliban's senior leadership structure has suffered a shattering blow," British army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Robin Matthews said in the statement.
So there you have it. Straight from the front via an incredibly roundabout route. But at least you know it. Could someone pass this on to Barack Obama? Maybe he can reroute the end of his summer vacation tour back to Afghanistan and give an "attaboy" to the men and women there who really are putting in an effort on behalf of freedom and democracy.
Friday, July 25, 2008