Winning in Iraq – Why I’m Doing This… From Bandit 36

I have posted here many times that the media coverage on Iraq is portraying us and our mission there as a Failure.. Nothing could be further from the truth.. Read this from Bandit Three Six

Cross Posted From Bandit.three.six  

(This is part 2 of 5 in the series addressing the misconception that we’re losing the war in Iraq.)

Prior to coming to Iraq, I was skeptical about the situation here. I had never been deployed before and I had only been on Active Duty for about a year and a half. All I really knew were the stories that I’d heard from the Soldiers who had already been here and from the news, both of which I took with a grain of salt. I always believed that we were doing a lot more good in Iraq than was being reported, but I had no way to verify that belief.

Upon arriving “in country”, I was assigned to the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad, also known as the Green Zone by the media. The IZ is home to the US Embassy and the Headquarters of the Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I). MNF-I is the brain that plans and organizes the war in Iraq. When President Bush says that he’s conferring with commanders on the ground, he’s talking about general officers in the IZ. Early in my deployment, I had the opportunity to sit in on several strategic briefings. Without going into details, let me say that after watching several of these high level briefings, I was impressed with the level of commitment to doing the good and right thing found at such a high level in the command. The focus that the Command Staff put on quality of life for the average Iraqi, along with the Command’s attention to detail concerning the security situation and the progress on transferring total sovereignty back to the Iraqis, was impressive. I was and am shocked that this wasn’t being portrayed in the media.

That wasn’t enough to motivate me to do something about it, though. The event that finally spurred me into action was an interview on FoxNews in which an “expert” being interviewed said, “We’re losing this war.” I couldn’t believe it. This American had just looked straight into the camera and told millions of other Americans that we in the military weren’t doing our jobs. More importantly, he implied that my brothers and sisters in arms were getting shot and blown up for a lost cause.

I was irate. I nearly lost it. I had to restrain myself from putting my fist through the screen. This was my motivation for writing this article. Here was this chump in a suit and tie saying that we in the military weren’t doing our job, and disrespecting the sacrifices made by so many.

Allow me to clarify this point. While I’m relatively certain that the intent of the comment was not to discredit the Coalition’s efforts in Iraq, that was the effect it had. A person’s motivation or intent for making this claim is irrelevant. We in the military have been given a mission and that is to win the war. When we’re given a mission, we are expected and we expect to accomplish the mission, regardless of the obstacles in our way. For someone to imply, even indirectly, that we are failing to accomplish our mission, that we’re losing the war, is not only offensive, it’s wrong.

After calming down, I tried to think of his statement from a logical, factual standpoint. What could possibly make him think that we’re losing the war? As I thought more and more about it, I realized that his apparent ignorance wasn’t totally his fault. I concluded that he probably had never been to Iraq for any length of time and that he wasn’t in contact with anyone who had been either. As a result of this conclusion, I determined that all he knew was what he saw on TV and read in the news, just like most of America and the rest of the world for that matter – just like I used to be.

I initially faulted MNF-I for not sharing their success stories with the media. I figured that, in an effort to maintain operational security (OPSEC) they were just keeping it all quiet. I began to search for as much good news as I could find, so that I could publish it on my blog to help it get better circulation, small as it may be. I didn’t have to look far before I realized that MNF-I was, in fact, putting out TONS of information showing the progress that we’re making here – pages and pages and pages of quantifiable data and positive news stories showing our progress.

This is when I came to my current conclusion that the blame lay squarely on the media. If one guy in the middle of Baghdad with nothing more than an internet connection and some spare time can find all this material, the 24-hour news channels and networks with all their resources certainly can as well. MNF-I was pushing this mountain of good news into the hands of the media and none of it was making the evening news.

I’m skating on the edge here. My goal is not to flog the mainstream media. My goal is to counter the tidal wave of negative reporting. This is the mission I have assigned to myself.

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