October 24, 2007

How It Ends

"We've won the war."

Milblogger "Greyhawk," currently deployed in Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2007, and again in more detail on Oct. 19, 2007.

"The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse."

New York Times Editorial Board, Manhattan, NY, Oct. 23, 2007

Writing at his blog, Jules Crittenden, a Boston Herald editor and columnist notes the continuing failure of another media organization, the Associated Press, to also honestly deal with evolving conditions on the group in Iraq that have seen both Iraqi civilian deaths and U.S. military deaths drop in recent months.

In his new home at the Weekly Standard, Dean Barnett notes the plunging casualties:

The results of the surge, or "the escalation" as Harry Reid derisively called it, have been obvious in the numbers. Before the surge, a bad month would claim the lives of roughly 3,000 Iraqi civilians and security force members. In February '07, the exact number was 3,014 Iraqi casualties. In March, the figure was 2,977. As the surge began to have its effects, that number dropped to 1674 in August. In September, with the surge taking full effect, the numbers showed a profound change--the Iraqi death toll plunged to 848.

Happily, September's figures don't appear to be an aberration. October has seen 502 Iraqi casualties so far. If the trend continues though the end of October, the final number should be around 650 for the entire month. That represents better than an 80 percent improvement from the war's nadir.

YOU'D THINK THIS would be a big story. After all, the mainstream media makes such a show of "supporting the troops" at every turn, you'd think it would rush to report the amazing story of our soldiers accomplishing what many observers declared "impossible" and "unwinnable" not so long ago.

But the mainstream media can't actually support the troops, can they?

Despite the onionskin-thin layers of nuance favored by those on the extreme edge of the progressive movement, the leadership (but not the rank and file) of the Democrat Party, and the editorial offices of many newsrooms, in real-life, supporting the troops really does mean supporting the mission.

The platitude of those that claim "we support the troops, but not the war," is an empty one; analogous to claiming that they support doctors, but not practicing medicine on certain patients even if they have the same disease.

"Iraqis? No. Why don't you go treat those people in Darfur instead..."

And so we get stories like the latest from APís Steven R. Hurst noted by Crittenden, where every possible silver lining is discarded in worship of the cloud.

We get editors that would rather torpedo their careers than admit they were wrong.

We get columnists that refuse to concede to hope.

And of course, we get faked massacres, fauxtography, gross inaccuracies, false premises, buried stories and preferrential treatment for fellow defeatists, all because those multiple layers of reporters, fact-checkers, and editors are determined to craft a message that they can be comfortable with publishing, that echoes their values and their beliefs of how the world should work.

In that world, a bumbling, semi-articulate President with approval ratings in the 30s, that has made on mistake after another related to the war, simply cannot be in charge when we win a war that they do not support, because of him.

As they have told us repeatedly: This. Is. Bush's. War.

They might be able to do a better job moderating their disdain for the military if it was simply run by the right POTUS; just preferably not a simpering idiot from Texas, or at least not a Republican one.

But as much as he is detested in newsrooms and dining rooms across America, George W. Bush is the President of the United States, and because of this unpalatable fact, it is simply unfathomable to the media and theri supporters on the fringe left that General Petraeus and the soldiers under him could shift strategies to take advantage of and exploit shifting public opinions in Iraq to execute a counterinsurgency doctrine that has Sunni and Shia joining forces with the U.S. and Iraqi security forces to stamp out criminal gangs, insurgents, rogue militias, and terrorists at what seems like an exponential rate.

We find ourselves in late October of 2007 with a war that, while not "over" in terms of ending all violence and all terror attacks, is "over" in that there is little doubt who the winner of the conflict will be.

There will not be a sectarian ""civil war" in Iraq, perhaps best evidenced by the fact that the media—excuse me, actual reporters in Iraq, not plaintive Times editorialists—have quietly let the claim die. Just as quietly, they have stopped wondering if Iraqi security forces will be able to hold together, and instead focus on corruption in the higher ranks.

At the present rate, the only way the media could shift goalposts faster is if the crane moving the goalposts was attached to Jeff Gordon's stock car.

While the opinion of the Iraqi people has drastically changed in past months and they seem to see the outcome being decided in their favor and sooner rather than later, the world media, led by the U.S. media, is refusing to acknowledge the possibility that the outcome of the war (if not the end of the counterinsurgency effort) may be decided before President Bush leaves office, making him the victor.

While the security forces of Iraq and allied nations seem to be turning/defeating the insurgency in Iraq, we are having considerably less success fighting an insurgent media that refuses to yield ground—unless forced every step of the way—by what they consider an unpleasant reality. The dead-enders of the Iraqi insurgency will likely meet their end via a bullet from Iraqi soldiers, policemen, or the growing number of civilians styled as "concerned citizens."

Some of the insurgent media is being "killed off" in rather spectacular blaze of glory, and some dead-ender media companies may one day collapse utterly for being unwilling to change. That admitted, most journalists, if for no other reason than their personal bottom lines, will eventually begrudgingly admit success, or at least change the subject.

Like the terrorists our soldiers fight, the biased media doesnít have to like being defeated. Sometimes "winning hearts and minds" amounts to just beating them enough to take the fight out of them and focus their efforts elsewhere, which is already occurring on newspaper front pages.

This is the way "Bush's War" will end in the media: not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 24, 2007 11:35 AM

Bob, go to Drudge. He says he's obtained transcripts of the conversations between Beauchamp and Foer (& TNR editorial staff). Interesting stuff, but nothing we didn't already know. The question is, how did he get them, and who does the leak benefit? This line makes me think the editors might be trying to save face, and present themselves as exemplars of journalistic ethics:

"The editors respond that, "we just can't, in good conscience, continue to defend the piece" without an explanation, but Beauchamp responds only that he "doesn't care what the public thinks."

So is the leaker a TNR staffer, the editors or does Beauchamp long for another fifteen minutes? I'll leave it to you to delve deeper. Oh, and keep up the good work.

Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs at October 24, 2007 12:26 PM

Indeed, the NYTimes is now entering TNR territory with its abject denial of reality.

Several years ago, when The SCO Group launched its lawsuits against Novell and IBM, many in the open source community looked at the hard facts and realized the reality was 180 degrees out of phase with SCO's complaints. I predicted then that SCO's outcome would be a complete and total collapse (although many in the news media, including predominant Forbes magazine editors, felt a SCO victory was most likely). Simply put, an organization cannot survive in complete opposition to the facts. Last month, SCO went from a slightly increasing stock with hopes for a new product strategy and potential long-shot litigation settlement to bankruptcy with liquidation most likely given licensing fees obligated to Novell.

TNR is now imploding as many of us have expected. This is quite unfortunate as CanWest didn't respond in time, cleaning house and protecting their investment. It's too late now; TNR will only exist as a warning to others to not stonewall in times where serious internal error and incompetence has been uncovered. Hint to CanWest: The executive that got you into the mess really isn't a good choice for getting you out. It's probably time to re-assess CanWest management as they didn't seem to correctly assess the risks with TNR, and have had numerous other problems relating to executives with an ideological conflict of interest.

The collapse of the NYTimes is even more fascinating to watch. Unlike some analysts that predict they can milk a few more years out of the mess, those familiar with the history of these catastrophic events know that these things pick up speed at the end. Unless an outside party takes over control in the next half-year, it too will survive only as a case study of how not to run a news organization.

Posted by: redherkey at October 24, 2007 12:47 PM

completely off topic, but may be of interest

Posted by: Boss429 at October 24, 2007 12:49 PM

I was aware of the docs Drudge has posted, and ironically, he may have them because someone decided to leak the results of a FOIA request I had sent in, asking for these docs specifically. These are the results was expecting back this week.

I'm somewhat irritated someone in the Army leaked my exclusive to Drudge (I had been assured I was the only person to even ask for these by the FOIA office), but I guess what matters is that the truth came out.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at October 24, 2007 01:01 PM

The New Republic's website (including its house blog, "The Plank") has its own search engine.

Search Blogs (10/24/07 2:00 PM)

You searched for the word(s): Beauchamp

Sorry, we were unable to find any results using your search terms. Please change your search terms and try again.

How it ends.

Posted by: AMac at October 24, 2007 01:02 PM

When liberals say they support the troops but not the mission, they are not intentionally dissembling. They are merely stating their belief that individual life has value, and they therefore "support the troops" by trying to keep individual soldiers alive through bringing an end to the conflict.

This, of course, reduces a soldier's value (or anyone's value for that matter) to nothing but a continued heartbeat. They give no value to the troops' sacrifice for the good of the nation, because they care little for the nation, and are actually contemptuous of it. When they claim that they honor the soldier's service to his country, THAT'S when they're lying.

Posted by: ss at October 24, 2007 01:32 PM

Instapundit seems to infer Drudge's transcript came from someone within TNR. The transcript, however, appears to be an Army document - unless TNR is starting to use military time and date notation. Note also the file name "Misconduct_4/1lD_Beauchamp_17Jul07". Doesn't look like a file name TNR would use.

I wonder if the TNR folks knew they were being recorded?

Posted by: Dave Calder at October 24, 2007 01:47 PM

Reading through the transcript PDFs, I'd have to suggest that Foer is in serious trouble. I was laughing pretty hard at the first transcript until I reached Foer's implied threats to Beauchamp's wife's safety, e.g. "...your wife is involved in this...I don't want her to get hurt in all of this." Maybe they can get Wilford Brimley aka William Devasher to play Foer in upcoming film version of "The News Firm".

For those from TNR and CanWest reading the posts, it's time to move onward as your association with this organization is going to taint your resume. Two words should sum this up for you: Enron Accountant (I know two that have had to find alternate careers or work for well less than their experience justifies as nobody wants any association with that ethical meltdown).

At the same time, it's refreshing to see the maturity and seriousness taken by the military in this matter. LTC Glaze's letter to Beauchamp clearly speaks to the character of leadership we have in Iraq.

Posted by: redherkey at October 24, 2007 01:50 PM

I'm somewhat irritated someone in the Army leaked my exclusive to Drudge

Perhaps someone at TNR caught wind of the pending release and this was merely a pre-emptive strike to prevent you from getting the scoop. I'm sure you can imagine how that would have chafed.

Posted by: ThomasD at October 24, 2007 02:00 PM

The frequency of bad news associated with the Iraq war will not decline during our lifetime. The media are still reporting negative news about the Vietnam war, however peripherally associated.

Look, for example, for increases in stories about veterans' jobs, disabilities, medical problems, psychological problems and syndromes; and increases in stories about how the Pentagon has changed this, that or the other thing in response to "lessons learned," or on the other hand, how the Pentagon has yet to learn any lessons whatsoever. Look also for reportage of every single stubbed toe and crime in Iraq for the next three generations. Finally look for all the stories about the continuing international presence, either in the form of coalition advisors or UN peace keepers.

Posted by: hovie at October 24, 2007 02:07 PM

With cautions optimism, I propose that a meme be started that the victory in Iraq, when acknowledged, be known as "Bush's Victory"

Posted by: Soylent Grey at October 24, 2007 02:08 PM

When liberals say they support the troops but not the mission, they are not intentionally dissembling.

I wished I could believe that, but frankly I don't. Suppose someone said that he supports homosexuals, but not homosexual marriage. Would lefties buy that position?

Posted by: Occam's Beard at October 24, 2007 02:11 PM

Given the absolute, inexcusable, yet ongoing media distortions re Iraq, based on a demented antipathy to GWB, couldn't some outsider startup do wonderfully well by honestly reporting real news? Recruit a bunch of 18 - 20 year old interns, train 'em in the basics, send 'em out... no CSJ or other phonies need apply.

The New York Times dates from 1850. If it exists through 2012, we'll be surprised.

Posted by: John Blake at October 24, 2007 02:15 PM

Naaah, it wasn't really Bush's victory. Bush held his nerve, yes, but he kept the wrong people in command in Iraq for too long. The victory belongs to our men and women in uniform, and to those who will not return to share in it.

But above all, the victory belongs to those Iraqis, who, generations hence, will have a chance to live without fear or terror, because they finally stood up. For all the valor of our men and women, we could have done this without the Iraqis.

Posted by: section9 at October 24, 2007 02:23 PM

So was it FDR's victory in WWII, up to the day he died, even though he presided over a number of hideous disasters, most of them avoidable? Of course it was, just as it will be Bush's despite his failures. To say otherwise is to presume the possibility of presidential perfection in wartime.

Enough second-guessing already. The war in Iraq is working, despite the incredible degree of difficulty imposed by modern sensibilities, and at least Bush is a first guesser (stole that from Dennis Miller). Courage of his convictions and all that.

Posted by: Uncle Mikey at October 24, 2007 02:37 PM

All these docs are coming up 404. Anyone keep copies?

Posted by: Pablo at October 24, 2007 02:52 PM

I find the New York Times Editorial Board's statement to be perfectly consistent with what Greyhawk's, if you consider that they are not on the same side of the war.

Posted by: Evil Bob at October 24, 2007 03:02 PM

I think it is likely that the Drudge documents were leaked by somone at TNR rather than from a military source. Sure, they may have all (even the transcripts, perhaps) originally been in the hands of the military, but, as the transcripted phone conversation makes clear, Beauchamp intended to authorize his attorney to obtain all the military documents regarding his case and turn them over to TNR. Someone at TNR could have easily then passed them on to Drudge -- the rats are ready to jump from that sinking ship.

Posted by: Burke at October 24, 2007 04:20 PM

Heck. The creaky old media dinosaurs can't even get their focus off of W's TANG years. The world is passing them by.

The networks, the newspapers, the cable new networks: they're akin to 8-Track Tapes. Nobody listens to them anymore.

When Bush makes a post-Presidency trip to Iraq, and is greeted as a hero, I expect there will be no New York Times to bury the story.

Posted by: Korla Pundit at October 24, 2007 04:45 PM

The NYT are journalistic dead enders. Its starting to show in their fiscal performance as well.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 24, 2007 05:17 PM

Malkin/Hot Air and Jawa have them, Pablo.

Posted by: Dan Collins at October 24, 2007 05:30 PM

Pshaw! When Iraq gets a space program *then* it'll be over. /sarc

Posted by: urthshu at October 24, 2007 09:14 PM

Before declaring victory, shouldn't you discuss how we've won in terms of the US government's official goals for the war in Iraq? Perhaps it's obvious that we're winning, but this seems like an important step. Some of your readers might not be familar with them.


Victory in Iraq is Defined in Stages

Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.

Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.

Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.

{The system will not allow posting the URL, but you can Google it.}

Posted by: Fabius Maximus at October 24, 2007 09:35 PM

Fabius, I post links in comments all the time. Just follow standard HTML formatting (i.e. an "a href=" tag) and it works just fine.

If ya don't know HTML, well... Google it! -lol-

Posted by: C-C-G at October 24, 2007 09:52 PM

You are being unfair. To the NYT, the situation is getting worse. To the Democrats, the situation is getting worse. To the AQ, the situation is getting worse. To OBL, the situation is getting worse. It all depends on which side you are rooting for. The NYT editorial board is just being truthful. To them the worst thing that could happen is for us to win in Iraq. So for them, the situation in Iraq is getting worse.

Posted by: ic at October 24, 2007 10:39 PM

Someone asked me what victory in the War on Terror meant and I said "When the left in this Country starts telling our enemies that, without reservation, they will now be joining the American Right in seeking their absolute eradication. Or surrender." Then we will have victory. But then I realized that such a victory is truly illusory. I guess I'll have to settle for a true, freedom-based democracy in Iraq, and among those neighbors who might wish to follow. Such a victory will have to serve.

Posted by: George Clarke at October 25, 2007 11:52 PM