Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Press Botches Basra: Puncturing the two biggest media myths about the recent fighting.

Very interesting:

LESS THAN 48 HOURS AFTER Iraqi security forces began their campaign against militant Shia factions in Basra, the media had already declared the operations a failure. The operations, which were initiated on March 25, were designed to quell rogue factions of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. In covering the fighting, the press displayed its previously seen penchant for quickly throwing in the towel when a military operation does not instantaneously meet its goals.

Of course, the expectation of immediate success for an operation aimed at clearing densely-populated urban terrain is highly unrealistic. Recent history in Iraq shows this: it took months before Coalition efforts to clear and hold Baghdad showed progress, and even today only 75 percent of the capital city is considered fully secured. Last year the media declared the surge a failure long before the full contingent of forces was deployed, yet the press did not learn from its mistakes. Two popular myths have developed about the Basra fighting: that it constituted a complete failure for the Iraqi security forces, and that it resulted in a major political embarrassment for Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Read More.

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