The Mudville Gazette takes a look at the next Iraq War narrative that will be repeated ad nauseam by the press:
The narrative on Iraq – the one you see in the media, that is – is changing. Claims that “we’ve lost” and that American soldiers have been beaten by opponents who are righteous heroes or nine-foot tall and bullet proof are being quite subtly shifted to arguments that no potential victory (if even grudgingly acknowledged) could be worth the price. This argument may prove irresistible to those who’ve invested heavily in defeat.
It’s all the same: no matter what, the advocates for defeat in Iraq will find something that’s horribly wrong and some excuse to declare the entire endeavor an abject failure. The reasoning changes, but the argument remains the same.
The divide between the reality of Iraq and the narrative on Iraq is no longer a mere divide—it’s a gaping chasm. While the media once again finds despair in Iraq for the United States and the free Iraqi people, the real despair comes from Osama bin Laden.
This month, bin Laden made an unprecedented call to try to unite his faltering jihad in Iraq. There appears to be a very open sense of desperation from the leadership of al-Qaeda as the Iraqi people turn against their radicalism. The reason why this war has been worth it is because four years in, we’ve managed to defeat al-Qaeda not only militarily, but also ideologically. The people of Iraq are turning their backs on al-Qaeda, and in some cases even openly fighting them off.
Al-Qaeda has invested nearly everything it has in fighting in Iraq. They keep losing. They lost al-Zarqawi to US bombs. They’ve lost thousands of trained fighters to American attacks. Most crucially for them, they’ve also lost the Iraqi people, and if that spreads across the Middle East, al-Qaeda is as good as dead. They’ll be yet another failed movement that sputtered out and died when their radical propaganda couldn’t match their meager results. The attacks of September 11 greatly enhanced the stature of al-Qaeda. 6 years later, what have they been able to do? They are on the run, battered by US attacks, and they’ve failed to defend Afghanistan and win over Iraq.
The new narrative is no more accurate than the old. Al-Qaeda is being defeated in Iraq, while the media keeps to their script and ignores it all. The American people may not be getting the real story from Iraq, but that doesn’t mean that what’s going on there isn’t any less important. The costs of this war have been terrible, but the costs of another attack by al-Qaeda or a more protracted “cold” war between the US and Islamic extremists would have been far greater.