A life in the day



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Blackfive quotes an entire Baltimore Sun article by Thomas Sowell about the media reporting on American casualties in Iraq but not enemy ones, then talks of Ted Kennedy, saying:

Ask yourself: How can a US Senator denounce our actions in Iraq and call for troop withdrawls just days before a historic Iraqi free election when he knows that fueling doubt about our resolve will embolden the terrorists and possibly create more violence and murder?

Isn’t it the job of the Congress to decide when and where we should be at war? The President is the Commander in Chief, but Congress is supposed to make the decisions about war. We’ve gotten away from that, but it’s what the Constitution says.

As to a Senator emboldening the enemy, I really don’t think there are a lot of Iraqi fighters likely to decide to fight harder because of a loadmouth politician in Washington. Anyone who says that it’s unpatriotic to publicly condemn the actions of our administration doesn’t truly understand what this country is about.

And as to the article itself, I think the author is to some extent correct in that the reporting on Iraq is mediocre, and way too focused on the deaths of Americans. What’s missing is the more balanced picture of what the war has meant to Iraqi civilians. The number of enemy combatants we kill is almost impossible to get given that the Pentagon refuses to make such estimates, and by all accounts, reporters do not have safe access to other sources of information in Iraq. But the lives of ordinary Iraqis could certainly be analyzed. I think it would probably be clear that in the short term the war has made their lives worse. Do Iraqis think their long-term prospects are better and do they think the short-term damage is worth it? Those are questions I’d have our media address.

One other note: the notion that the media has substituted the bland “insurgents” for “terrorists” is preposterous. I’m equally annoyed that the media is using “insurgent” but that is because (I’m pretty sure) the term is coming from the Administration and the military. The neutral term would be the “resistance” but I’m guessing that our government does not want there to be any chance the term is conflated with the French Resistance, who are viewed as heroic. “Insurgency” presupposes that the fighters are opposing a legitimately established government, which the fighters there certainly would deny. (See the Wikipedia entry on Insurgency for more information.) As to calling these people terrorists, perhaps some are. Many, though, consider themselves freedom fighters who are opposing an occupying force, attacking only Coalition military and the security forces of the Coalition-imposed government. Those are not the actions of terrorists. If the United States were invaded by a superior military force and a new government were imposed upon the country, there would certainly be people attacking both the invaders and the imposed government. These people would not, for the most part, be terrorists.

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