Will Collier points to a very interesting article by a US Marine on how The Washington Post has been spinning the Iraq war. He specifically cite the Post‘s Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran as an example of someone who’s looking to spin Iraq to fit his own political beliefs:
Before major combat operations were over, Chandrasekaran was already quoting Iraqis proclaiming the American operation a failure. Reading his dispatches from April 2003, you can already see his meta-narrative take shape: basically, that the Americans are clumsy fools who don’t know what they’re doing, and Iraqis hate them. This meta-narrative informs his coverage and the coverage of the reporters he supervises, who rotate in and out of Iraq.
How do I know this? Because my fellow Marines and I witnessed it with our own eyes.
The media is based on a sense of groupthink, and the consensus is and always had been that the media would undermine the war – partly because of their visceral hatred of Bush, partially because of their antiwar stance, and partially because another Vietnam would sell more papers than an Iraq on the road to sovereignty and freedom. Whatever the reason, Johnson finds that the Post has been willingly distorting the news to fit their agenda.
Collier also links to this absolutely indispensible piece by another soldier on the real reasons our soliders are in Iraq. His arguments explain in great detail how the arguments about WMDs and al-Qaeda ties ignore the most important reason for getting rid of Saddam Hussein – because it is always just to fight tyranny. A selection:
Let there be no mistake, those of you who don’t believe in this war: the Ba’ath regime were the Nazis of the second half of the 20th century. I saw what the murderous, brutal regime of Saddam Hussein wrought on that country through his party and their Fedayeen henchmen. They raped, murdered, tortured, extorted, and terrorized those in that country for 35 years. There are mass graves throughout Iraq only now being discovered. 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, liberated a prison in Iraq populated entirely by children. The Ba’athists brutalized the weakest among them, and killed the strongest. I saw in the eyes of the people how a generation of fear reflects in the human soul.
The Ba’ath Party, like the Nazis before them, kept power by spreading out, placing their officials in every city and every village to keep the people under their boot. Everywhere we went we found rifles, ammunition, RPG rounds, mortar shells, rocket launchers, and artillery. When we took over the southern city of Ramaylah, our battalion commander tore down the Ba’ath signs and commandeered the former regime headquarters in town (which, by the way, was 20 feet from the local school). My commander himself took over the office of the local Ba’ath leader, and in opening the desk of that thug found a set of brass knuckles and a gun. These are the people who are now in prison, and that is where they deserve to be.
The analogy is simple. For years, you have watched the same large, violent man come home every night, and you have listened to his yelling and the crying and the screams of children and the noise of breaking glass, and you have always known that he was beating his wife and his children. Everyone on the block has known it. You ask, cajole, threaten, and beg him to stop, on behalf of the rest of the neighborhood. Nothing works. After listening to it for 13 years, you finally gather up the biggest, meanest guys you can find, you go over to his house, and you kick the door down. You punch him in the face and drag him away. The house is a mess, the family poor and abused — but now there is hope. You did the right thing.
Indeed, the antiwar argument has never been all that convincing, in order to justify leaving the Hussein regime in power one has to argue that Hussein wasn’t a tyrant, which is an unsustainable and absolutely reprehensible argument, or that he was a tyrant, but it’s acceptable to leave tyrants in power so long as it’s convenient. Granted, the US cannot remove every tyrant in the world, but in a case where we have the ability to do so, we have not only the justification, but the imperative to do so.
Of course, don’t expect such discussions from the press. They’ve made up their minds, and they’ll make sure that "all the news that’s fit to print" is all the news that matches with their agenda.