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October 08, 2007

Chased From Its Bases, Al Qaeda Now Destroying Villages To Save Them

I seem to remember the left becoming very upset when the US was claimed to be doing this sort of thing.

Iraq the Model's Omar has a great piece in the WSJ about Al Qaeda's last desperate scorched-earth offensives, and how to counter them. Defeated on the battlefield, they seem determined to win some sort of propaganda battle in the media -- a much more favorable battlefield for them, of course.

The latest chapter in al Qaeda's war manual in their war against the Iraqi people and the Coalition is this: raiding remote peaceful villages, burning down homes and slaughtering both man and beast. It's a campaign of self destruction.

For about a year al Qaeda has been trying to build a so called Islamic State in Iraq. On several occasions al Qaeda has even declared parts of Baghdad or other places in other provinces the capital of this Islamic State.

But now that they are losing one base after another, their objective seems to have changed from adding more towns and villages to the "state" to destroying the very same towns and villages. Obviously, it's all about making headlines regardless of the means to do that.

As if the media needs any help undermining the war effort. From Howard Kurtz's new book Reality Show:

By the fall of 2006, an urgent tone began creeping into the anchors' coverage of Iraq. No longer were they describing the war as a difficult battle whose outcome was in doubt, or depicting the military struggle as part of a larger effort to rebuild the battered country. Now it was all about the violence, and they were framing the situation as an unmitigated mess. The anchors were giving real weight to what had once seemed unmentionable, the possibility that the United States might have to pull out.

They were, to be sure, reflecting the rapid erosion of support for the war, and a level of killing and chaos that seemed to grow worse by the day. But given their huge platform, they were also shaping public sentiment, reinforcing the notion that nearly four years after the invasion, the situation was all but lost.

"In plain English," Brian Williams said, "this has been a tough week to be hopeful about the prospects for victory in Iraq."

Charlie Gibson spoke of a "killing spree," a "horrific surge in religious violence, Iraqis killing Iraqis in unprecedented numbers." After correspondent Terry McCarthy reported that 50 to 60 bodies were turning up each day, Gibson could not remain silent. "Sobering to see people simply driving by a body in the streets," he said. "But such is life in Baghdad today."

Couric, in particular, appeared to openly yearn for a pullout. One night she spoke of "opposition to the war in Iraq growing and no end in sight." And at times she came close to describing the situation as hopeless: "The day everyone is hoping for, the day American forces can finally come home from Iraq, seems more and more elusive."

The anchors looked for ways to dramatize the grim statistics. Williams, noting "the bloodshed that has become an all-too-common fact of life there for so many people," highlighted a report on how Baghdad coffinmakers could not keep up with demand. Gibson, reporting a United Nations finding on Iraqi casualties in July and August, tried to bring the impact home: "And just to put the 6,600 Iraqi deaths over the past two months in perspective if the U.S. lost an equivalent percentage of its population, that would represent 75,000 American dead."

The link has more of that excerpt/adaptation. Kurtz also reports that far from being a "fall guy" in the Memogate fiasco, Dan Rather actually threatened to leak one of his forgeries to the NYT to pressure CBS to rush the story and promote it before it was even vetted.

Thanks to CJ.


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posted by Ace at 03:02 PM

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