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Iraqi Good News Met With Silence

Aug 15, 2008

Things are going pretty well in Iraq as of late. Things are by no means perfect there, but real progress is being made. The surge, which began over a year ago, has been quite successful in weeding out pockets of resistance and establishing safe and secure zones around the country.

Suicide bombings and related carnage are well down. A few years ago we had almost daily reports of death and destruction in Iraq. Today the media is largely silent. But why should not the media be as active and zealous in reporting the good news in Iraq as it has been in reporting the bad news?

The answer is, the mainstream media is largely well left of centre. It tends to be anti-American and anti-Western. It tends to cheer our enemies, downplay our achievements, and overemphasise our weaknesses and faults.

The leftist bias of the MSM has been well-documented. For example, The Media Elite by Lichter, Rothman and Lichter (1986), and Bias by Bernard Goldberg (2001) carefully examine the leftwing nature of our media elites.

And Australia is much the same. Consider just one revealing quote. “The long march of young liberal-humanist progressives through the ABC’s many portals is as much a self-perpetuating cycle as the daughters of doctors choosing a medical career or the sons of great football players striving to match the sporting deeds of their fathers.” (David Salter, a former executive producer of the ABC’s Media Watch, “A bias for independence,” The Australian, August 30, 2007, p. 14.)

Thus the silence at the moment concerning Iraq. Unfortunately for our leftist media, much of the news coming out of Iraq today is good news. That is not the sort of news our MSM wants to report on. So they have simply stopped reporting, and are waiting for more bad news which they can again adorn their front pages with and present as lead stories in the six o’clock news.

Commentator Andrew Bolt picks up this theme in his Herald Sun column today, and his remarks are worth repeating here. He begins by noting that Iraq is getting to the place of standing on its own two feet, with the gradual withdrawal of American troops soon to begin. He lays out some encouraging facts:

“Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says Iraq is working out a new accord with the US that he hopes will have a timetable for withdrawing its combat troops. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says Iraq should be able to do without them by as early as 2010. US President George Bush will consider his own plan for troop withdrawals next month, and a fortnight ago cut tours of duty in Iraq from 15 months to 12. No wonder they’re confident. The Iraqi army, once expert only at running away, can now mount operations with minimal US support. The once corrupt police force has been reformed. More importantly, so successful has been the war on al-Qaida and other terrorist groups that just 13 US soldiers died last month, only eight in combat. It’s the lowest monthly death toll since the 2003 invasion.”

And the good news continues: “Iraqi police and soldiers lost 80 men, which is tragic but also well down. Although almost 400 Iraqi civilians were still killed, that too is less than a quarter of the toll of a year ago – and well below the average number of people Saddam Hussein had killed each month of his horrific rule. In fact, it’s below the murder rate of anarchic South Africa – and no one dares ask if liberating South Africa was worth the sacrifice. But Iraq needs more than peace to thrive. So here’s this week’s other good news: high oil prices, and better security for its oil fields, means Iraq will end the year with a $90 billion cumulative budget surplus, says the US General Accounting Office. That’s a lot of money for building a future for democratic Iraq, instead of palaces and weapons for the tyrant Saddam. On the drawing board of the elected Iraqi Government are plans for 1000 primary healthcare centres, new airports and the renovation of downtown Baghdad.”

Contrast this good news with the naysayers and America haters who predicted – and wanted – the liberation of Iraq to fail: “The sad truth is that many on the Left – thus much of the media – seemed to want Iraq to fail. They preached defeat and saw it at every turn. And so misled you. Which of the countless examples should I choose? Then ABC host Terry Lane, who wrote: ‘I want the army of my country, which is engaged in an act of gross immorality, to be defeated’? Or ABC host Phillip Adams, who said spreading democracy to the Middle East was ‘lunatic’? Or Age columnist Ken Davidson, who agreed that ‘arguably . . . Iraq can only be held together by a monster’?

Bolt concludes, “It’s the apparent wanting to believe the worst that says so much. That’s why the media silence about the news now from Iraq confirms it must be good. If Iraq were lost instead, wouldn’t the media be full of it?”

Quite so. It is scandalous the way so much of the MSM has declared war on the West, on freedom, on democracy. It absolutely froths at the mouth when there is an American failure, or a Western collapse. That is why so many alternatives to the MSM have been springing up lately. Truth is important, and when the MSM does its best to suppress or distort the truth, then we very much need these alternative outlets.

blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/column_why_werent_you_told_this_about_iraq/

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19 Responses to Iraqi Good News Met With Silence

  • Let us hope that Iraq does not indeed copy the so-called democracy of the west, especially that of Britain. Why would it want to replace a rightwing tyranny for a leftwing one, like that of the Marxist Blair/Brown government?
    Rarely does the public hear of the story of Christians, like that of the vicar of Baghdad, Canon White, who work as salt and light in that troubled city.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3978164.ece
    David Skinner, UK

  • Thanks David

    Yes your point is well taken about much of the West not being worth emulating. Our moral and spiritual decline especially is not something to be proud of. But nonetheless, we must not fall into the error of moral equivalence as witnessed during the Cold War, when lefties tried to tell us that there were no differences between a free West and a totalitarian Soviet bloc.

    Britain and the West today have plenty of problems, but the rule of law and the many freedoms found there stand in marked contrast to tyrannical police states such as Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • It would be fine if our laws were informed by and reflected biblical truth, but they don’t. In the same way that the Bible is now re-interpreted by liberal theologians , so our laws, though retaining the old packaging, contain a totally different product. Human nature that was once believed to be fallen has now been reprocessed so that no moral value is given to any of our actions. The forever fluctuating law that conforms to a forever fluctuating political correctness simply becomes a way of managing human behaviour. How would a course on behaviour management go down in Baghdad?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1584431/Couple-who-smack-their-daughter-as-'last-resort'-cannot-be-foster-parents.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2551932/Father-loses-career-after-slapping-unruly-daughter.html

    David Skinner, UK

  • I’m sure the million odd civilians who have died since the initial invasion would be glad to hear the great news that their deaths were not in vain.
    James Beattie

  • Thanks James

    But when the radical left gets things wrong, it gets them wrong big time (and usually deliberately wrong as well). There have not been a million civilians killed in Iraq since the downfall of the Saddam dictatorship. Figures vary, but they are nowhere near your silly figure. The Iraqi government argues for well less than 10 per cent of the wildly inflated figure you have provided. For an impartial look at the numbers, consider this site: http://www.cfr.org/publication/12811/difficulties_of_counting_iraqs_war_dead.html

    Indeed, there were likely far more civilians killed when Saddam was in power. Of those that have been killed since his fall, many, if not most, have been killed by the insurgents, by suicide bombers, etc., certainly not by the liberating forces.

    And your crocodile tears really impress no one. How many civilian deaths under Saddam did you lament, mourn and vigorously and vocally protest before his removal? Absolutely none, I would guess. The left’s sense of injustice and rage is all one way traffic here: If American is in any way involved, it is evil and horrible; if an anti-democratic tyrant is involved, that’s life.

    So I am afraid we need not take much notice of your leftist bumper sticker clichés here. They simply betray the double standards and moral bankruptcy of the radical left.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks David

    But in a fallen world we of course will never find perfection, in ourselves or in our governments. And I hope I am not misreading you here, but with all due respect, you still seem to be making a case for moral equivalence, which I must reject. Sure, all Western democracies are flawed and imperfect, and have rejected God in many ways. But the Judeo-Christian worldview made the West possible in the first place. It resulted in many wonderful features of the West: the rule of law, religious freedom, decentralised power, free elections, and so on. Remember Churchill’s quip that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

    While all the good institutions and features of the West have been misused and abused, they are still in principle far superior to various types of police states, dictatorships and tyrannies. While every government and society must be judged in the light of God’s standards, it does no one any good to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Some things are worth defending, and I will take the West any day over, say, North Korea, Cuba, or Saddam’s Iraq.

    The West is in a mess because it has rejected its Christian heritage. We need to seek to see if the West can be redeemed and restored, not claim it is no better than godless dictatorships, and abandon it altogether.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Your getting me confused here Bill. I am certainly not advocating getting rid of democracy. What I am saying is that the left have twisted democracy (that I interpret as meaning the freedom to think, decide and take responsiblity for oneself) to mean the rule of the state. In Britain it is the state that dictates our conscience. The chief of the British armed forces in Iraq, a true Christian, Sir Richard Dannat, is being treacherously attacked by Gordon Brown’s government: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/07/18/do1802.xml
    David Skinner, UK

  • Lefty lies about Iraq v the truth:

    “Let’s be clear about Howard’s reasons for war. In the legal opinion he tabled last March, the only reason canvassed was to eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. No humanitarian reason was advanced.”
    — Kevin Rudd, The Australian, 4 February 2004

    “We’re talking about a regime that will gouge out the eyes of a child to force a confession from the child’s parents. This is a regime that will burn a person’s limbs in order to force a confession or compliance. This is a regime that in 2000 decreed the crime of criticising it would be punished by the amputation of tongues. Since Saddam Hussein’s regime came to power in 1979 he has attacked his neighbours and he’s ruthlessly oppressed ethnic and religious groups in Iraq — more than one million people have died in internal conflicts and wars. Some four million Iraqis have chosen exile. Two hundred thousand have disappeared from his jails never to be seen again. He has cruelly and cynically manipulated the United Nations oil-for-food programme. He’s rorted it to buy weapons to support his designs at the expense of the well-being of his people. Since the Gulf War the people of Iraq have not only endured a cruel and despotic regime but they’ve had to suffer economic deprivation, hunger and sickness.

    And we should never forget that economic sanctions imposed have had a humanitarian cost. That cost has been made worse by Saddam Hussein’s rorting of the sanctions regime. Those sanctions could have been lifted years ago if Iraq had complied with the requirements of Security Council resolutions about disarmament.

    It is too easy to limit, it’s too easy for some people to limit the humanitarian considerations to the consequences of military conflict. In truth there’s nothing easy or reassuring or comfortable about the problem of Iraq. Surely it is undeniable that if all the humanitarian considerations are put into the balance there is a very powerful case to the effect that the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime would produce a better life and less suffering for the people of Iraq than its continuation.”
    — John Howard, National Press Club address, 13 March 2003 — 7 days before the Iraq invasion.

    Furthermore, if Bush and Howard lied about WMDs, then so did Rudd!
    Saddam “has invaded his neighbours, in complete violation of international law, and he is in possession of weapons of mass destruction, which in the past he has used against his own people as well as his neighbours. None of these matters are the subject of dispute.”
    — Kevin Rudd, Hansard, 17 September 2002.

    “There is no debate or dispute as to whether Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. He does.”
    — Kevin Rudd, Lateline, 24 September 2002.

    The previous sanctions against Iraq disproportionately hurt Iraqi children, while Saddam was safe in his opulent palace with gold-plated taps:

    The U.N. embargo has devastated all of life in Iraq. But nowhere is the deprivation more evident than in the once-modern health care system, where sanctions deny doctors the medicine and equipment they need to save patients dying of the curable diseases burgeoning amid the wreckage of war. U.N. officials estimate more than 1 million Iraqis have died in the last decade as a direct result of the sanctions.

    The embargo is harvesting children. Before the Persian Gulf War, when food was plentiful and clean water readily available, the greatest pediatric health problem in Iraq was obesity. Now, with widespread food shortages and contaminated drinking water, undernourished children are stalked by cholera and typhoid. UNICEF blames the sanctions for the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children under 5 since 1991.

    Thus the sanctions could have been called “economic terrorism”, although that probably didn’t bother our lefties.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks David

    We might have each other a bit confused here David! But I think we are on the same wavelength. I am saying that certain forms of government and certain cultures are better than others. But even good cultures and governments can be corrupted, abused and misused. So while Britain and the West are doing a lot of lousy things, the ideals behind them (limited government, rule of law, various freedoms, etc) are certainly worth defending, and are better than the alternatives.

    But as the West more and more loses its Christian heritage, it gets more problematic. As you say, statism, an activist judiciary, and various restrictions on freedom arise which are not in the best interests of a free and prosperous people. But we need to fight the excesses and corruptions, not give up on the ideal – which your original comment seemed to suggest (but was not, I take it, your intent). Comprendo?! Blessings, Bill.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Let us not forget that it was to a dictator, Oliver Cromwell, to whom we owe much of the shape of democracy today. I would not be surprised if Gordon Brown, is devising a method whereby he can remove Oliver’s statue from where it has stood, outside the houses of parliament since 1899: http://www.thecore.nus.edu.sg/victorian/sculpture/thornycroft/28.html
    David Skinner, UK

  • I also find it hard to undertstand why the invasion of Iraq generated so much Angst, but the bombing of Serbia and invasion of Kosovo did not? It it came to the number of refugees displaced, we saw 100,000 Kurds foced into the mountains in 1991, surley as many as Kosavar refugee’s forced into Macedonia in 1997. Then of course there were the Marsh Arab’s and Shiites in southern Iraq we alll knew about. The UN sponsored neither invasion, so why the different outrage.
    Could it be the one was organised by Bill Clinton and the other by George W?
    Stephen White

  • Hi Bill,

    Let me respond point by point here:

    >> But when the radical left gets things wrong, it gets them wrong big time (and usually deliberately wrong as well). There have not been a million civilians killed in Iraq since the downfall of the Saddam dictatorship….

    In 2006, the Lancet Medical Journal estimated over six hundred thousand deaths and in 2007 the Opinion Research Business survey estimated over a million. Are these reports also a fabrication of the “evil leftist freedom haters”?

    >> Indeed, there were likely far more civilians killed when Saddam was in power. Of those that have been killed since his fall, many, if not most, have been killed by the insurgents, by suicide bombers, etc., certainly not by the liberating forces.

    It is probably true that a large percentage of the casualties (post-invasion) were not actually killed by the invading forces, however you cannot deny that the invasion led to the conditions where the insurgent and other forces were able to perform their hideous deeds.

    >> And your crocodile tears really impress no one. How many civilian deaths under Saddam did you lament, mourn and vigorously and vocally protest before his removal? Absolutely none, I would guess. The left’s sense of injustice and rage is all one way traffic here: If American is in any way involved, it is evil and horrible; if an anti-democratic tyrant is involved, that’s life.

    There are no crocodile tears here – I am outraged by innocent deaths under all circumstances, but when the country I am a citizen (and taxpayer of) is someway involved in the deaths, then I have a greater responsibility to speak out against it. To take that many lives to remove an evil, murderous dictator makes us no better than him. The price in human lives was too high. To frame this criticism as being in someway “anti-American” is fallacious and below your usual standard of reason.

    >> So I am afraid we need not take much notice of your leftist bumper sticker clichés here. They simply betray the double standards and moral bankruptcy of the radical left.

    Perhaps the terseness of my reply made it seem a cliché – but I assure you it is a feeling that I deeply hold (just as I hold it for dictators like Mugabe, the evil theocracy of Iran and the scum that murdered civilians in Timor during their stuggle for independance).

    I am not a theologan (obviously), but based on what I know of the Gospels, I am certain Jesus would not have supported the actions taken by our armies in Iraq. (Or did I miss the passage where he asked his follows to invade countries and kill civilians in his name?)

    On another note, I am no “radical leftist”, I am a suburban family man and believe my views are centerist and represent a majority. I think it’s just when you sit so far to the right, everything looks like it’s to the left.

    James Beattie

  • Thanks James

    It is good to get a bit of a more nuanced reply from you here. But my concerns are largely the same. Were you out protesting and writing letters about the deaths of innocent civilians under Saddam? I should have thought that all such injustice would be worth making a stink about, not just some. Certainly most on the left did not make such a stink, and their moral outrage has always been very selective, usually aimed at the West in general and America in particular.

    And of course in any war there will regrettably be civilian casualties. But the left is usually guilty of moral equivalence here, when in fact moral distinctions are necessary. There is a huge moral difference between the West and the US going out of their way to prevent civilian casualties, as they tried so hard to do in Iraq, even when it meant not being able to achieve key military victories; and those regimes that deliberately use civilians as pawns in their games, as Saddam used civilians as human shields, and as he did when he deliberately built schools and hospitals over military facilities, and so on.

    As the article I provided a link for said, the actual numbers are quite hard to come by, and most may be due to the insurgency, which does not give a rip how many civilians are killed. Indeed, the terrorists specifically target innocent civilians. I again wait in vain for the left to criticise the acts of the terrorists. All I hear is their condemnation of America. The double standards are remarkable.

    With that sort of selective outrage, one has a right to question just how concerned the left is about such matters. And sorry, but I don’t quite buy your line that you are really just some limp-wristed moderate or mushy centrist, and it is my side that are the extremists here (we have your many earlier comments to go by on this!).

    And yes, your theological nous is indeed limited. God is concerned about injustice, and even a casual reading of the Bible will find that he is concerned about seeking justice for the oppressed and innocent victims of tyranny. The Iraqis under Saddam would have nicely fit in such a category.

    And it is always interesting to find atheists and leftists invoking Jesus when it suits their purposes, but ignoring him or disbelieving in him otherwise.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Yeah, Lancet does look like it has been taken over by Lefties, in switching from medicine to politics. Imagine the uproar if President Bush tried to tell doctors how to do medicine, but that is just what Lancet is doing here, in reverse. But this study has been accused of gross exaggeration, even by Iraqis.

    Also, as pointed out, there was a huge human cost of letting Saddam stay: his own mass murders, plus the huge casualties of the UN sanctions, paying families of suicide terrorists. This was much greater than the genuine (as opposed to Lancet-exaggerate) casualties of removing him. In this fallen world, there are no perfect solutions (despite what Lefties claim), only trade-offs.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Interesting article, but what do the letters MSM stand for?
    Phil Manley

  • Thanks Phil
    Manistream media
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • An alternative is Triple M: Mendacious Mainstream Media.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • The parallels with Vietnam are ominous. The US won the war there, contrary to Hollywood, then lost the peace. I trust the West will not emulate that post an Obama election.
    Doug Holland

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