Hogan's Alley

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Drumbeat For Pulling Out Of Iraq

It seems inescapable to anyone watching the coverage of the major networks and 24 hour news channels that a group decision was made on November 8. This decision was not made in any conspiratorial way. Rather the individual editors and reporters seem to have come to a common decision that the war in Iraq is lost and should be over as quickly as possible.

There will be no waiting for the Baker/Hamilton Study Group. The steady drumbeat has begun. The American people need to be inculcated with the hopelessness of the situation on the ground in Iraq and the brilliant promise of a Democratic Congress forcing an intransigent and stupid Presidents hand before more American soldiers die.

Look at their reports. Nothing, absolutely nothing positive is happening in Iraq. I defy anyone to site one positive report in the last week. No one is reporting anything of the machinations and efforts of the Iraqi government. No one reports of the fears of any Iraqi citizens at the prospect of a rapid American withdrawal. There is no downside to our departure. Surely only goodness and mercy will flow from our departure. Just as surely, the American press will bug out of Baghdad hard on the heels of our troops. There will be no further reports of car bombings of shoppers in downtown Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods troubling our evening newscasts. The tale of an abandoned Iraq will be told only by a handful of intrepid reporters. No doubt the invaluable John Burns of the NY Times will see it through, until it becomes far too dangerous to continue.

Have you ever wondered how World War II would have been prosecuted with a post-Vietnam press ethos? James Q. Wilson speculates on that likelihood and lays out the process that has, apparently permanently, evolved the press into an institutional opponent to any and all military actions of the United States.

This change in the media is not a transitory one that will give way to a return to the support of our military when it fights. Journalism, like so much scholarship, now dwells in a postmodern age in which truth is hard to find and statements merely serve someone’s interests.

The mainstream media’s adversarial stance, both here and abroad, means that whenever a foreign enemy challenges us, he will know that his objective will be to win the battle not on some faraway bit of land but among the people who determine what we read and watch. We won the Second World War in Europe and Japan, but we lost in Vietnam and are in danger of losing in Iraq and Lebanon in the newspapers, magazines, and television programs we enjoy.