Friday, March 24, 2006
Time's Moan of the Year
Time's Moan Of The Year
Posted 3/22/2006 - email submitted
War On Terror: A leading news magazine thinks Operation Swarmer, a joint U.S.-Iraqi offensive, "fizzled." But the soldiers on the ground think differently, and so does the mayor of Tal Afar.
Perhaps the "mainstream" media are so used to claiming Iraqis are unwilling to defend themselves that when Iraqis do step up, it's taken as some sort of staged event.
That's how Time magazine reacted to the launch of Operation Swarmer, a joint offensive around the city of Samarra, involving 50 helicopters and 1,500 American and Iraqi troops. Time dismissed it as "an operation that some (unnamed) military analysts described as little more than a photo-op."
This "photo-op" — or, as CNN called it, attack "on" Iraq rather than an attack "in" Iraq — was in fact a stunning success. It resulted in the seizure of numerous weapons caches, including hundreds of mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, armor-piercing ammunition and bomb-making materiel for hundred of roadside IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
Particularly ironic in Time's critique was the lament that there were "no casualties" and "no resistance." But isn't that the goal of every military operation and a sign of success rather than futility? And since when do media that remind us daily of the casualty count complain when there is none?
The most important feature of the offensive was its combination of U.S. assets with Iraqi infantry and commandos — a fact not lost on the Iraqi people even if its importance eluded the editors of Time.
As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently wrote in The Washington Post, some 100 Iraqi battalions are in the fight, with 49 controlling their own battle space. About 75% of all military operations in the country include Iraqi security forces, and nearly half are "independently Iraqi-planned, Iraqi-conducted and Iraqi-led."
Speaking in Cleveland on Monday, the day after the third anniversary of the war, President Bush cited the city of Tal Afar as a site of coalition and particularly Iraqi success.
He noted that two months after coalition forces ousted terrorists from Tal Afar, a city 35 miles from the Syrian border that used to be a key location for al-Qaida, the terrorists returned and retook the city. Last summer, coalition forces — led by 10 Iraqi battalions — retook the city. It remains in coalition hands, free of terrorists who once brutalized the population.
Tal Afar is a largely untold success story, one that shows the greatest fear of the Iraqi people is not civil war but premature American withdrawal. In a recent interview with the New York Post, Tal Afar Mayor Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri said: "I'd like American citizens not to trust everything that is being said in the media because, unfortunately, most of the media is talking about negative things and about the problems."
Most Americans have not read or even heard about the letters al-Jibouri wrote Bush and Gen. George Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. When the forces of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi controlled the city, al-Jibouri wrote: "Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve their young."
This, of course, has not been widely reported by media obsessed with Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Nor was al-Jibouri's thank-you to U.S. troops and their families: "God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. . . . Let America, their families and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life."
We are, and you're very welcome.
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