Sunday, April 27, 2008

Basra revisited

About a month after Maliki’s assault on “criminal elements” in Basra, things look much different than they did in that first week and the talking heads’ analyses. The Iraqi Army and police seem to have truly taken control of the city and its critical ports, and both the security forces and the people of the city seem to have taken great confidence in the process as it unrolled. Yes, it was messy, and yes there were desertions. But in the end, it appears the desired outcome has been achieved, and it was largely an Iraqi operation. Such an outcome would have been unthinkable back in the days of the Fallujah offensive when the Iraqi contingents simply refused to engage at all.

But the media doesn’t report the progress with nearly the same intensity as they do the failures. The old “if it bleeds it leads” maxim seems to hold true, but I believe more and more as I observe things in Iraq that many of the large popular media outlets really do fail to provide balanced coverage. They seem to revel in the failures, both on the Iraqi and U.S. side- as if they would be happier to say “I told you so!” than to say, “We were wrong, and the U.S. and Iraq are better off because of what we’ve done there.

Not spectacular, what is happening now- but much more important.

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