The Wars of Perception – New York Times
Finally, the American news media painted a picture of disaster in Vietnam. Even though communist forces incurred enormous losses, reporters often lauded their performance. As the Times war correspondent Peter Braestrup put it, “To have portrayed such a setback for one side as a defeat for the other — in a major crisis abroad — cannot be counted as a triumph for American journalism.”
The most important thing for the media in Vietnam was to create the conditions for an American defeat. It is the same in Iraq. If not for Iraq it would be the same in Afghanistan.
The news media has an almost slavish devotion to the Democratic Party and most of them will not hesitate to use their news reporting to insure that the Democrats win control of the government. If that means engineering an American defeat, they will do so.
Our enemies know that we cannot be defeated militarily. We are much too skilled and strong to be defeated by force of arms. But evidently our enemies, the Iranians, the “insurgents”, al Qaeda and others have read their Sun Tzu and paid attention. There are many facets of war and military force is but one of them.
If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
un Tzu, the Art of War
They know they cannot defeat us on the ground. What they can do is to constantly make small attacks that are reported by the news media. This makes us look weak because we cannot prevent the attacks. This by itself would not be enough if we presented a united front. But the Democrats would rather beat George Bush than the enemy. The news media reports the stories of violence, leaving out information that might put it in context, and credulously report every story fed to them that reflects badly on the soldiers and the war, without examining the source too close. To do that would be to defeat the purpose of the reporting.
Since Vietnam, our enemies know that while we cannot be defeated militarily, we can be beaten by breaking our will to fight. All without “fighting” other than comparatively minor raids and by inflicting a relatively low number of casualties that are then magnified by the reporting. This was the way that lead to an American defeat in Vietnam and this is what they have in story for this war also.
The military and President Bush has been criticized for not handling the PR aspects better. But if you look you will see that Centcom and the White House have put out many stories, but the news media is not taking. Instead they allow themselves to be lead around by the nose by people who may very well be allied with our enemies. That information they will report as if the gospel, but information from the military is treated as suspect.
The latest is Patterico’s examination of a story of an American air strike killing a bunch of civilians. When the sourcing is examined there is much less than it first appears. The U.S Military denies that any airstrike happened, but the LA Times decided that that fact was not worthy of inclusion in the story. It might give the wrong impression you know.
Then Flopping Aces gets on the trail of Iraqi Police Captain Jamil Hussein and the case of the burned worshippers. It seems that Capt Hussein always seems to show up reporting attacks on Sunnis, but the IP denies that they have anyone by that name working where he is supposed to be.
The AP stands by their story. Both on the reliability of Capt Hussein and the story of the Sunni worshipers being burned alive by Shia attackers. They claim that they sent some unnamed reporters to the neighborhood who talked to some unnamed witnesses that verified the story. Though without knowing who the reporters are or who they talked to it is impossible for anyone to judge the truth of the story. We could just go on their previous record but there have been many stories that were reported by main stream reporters that later turned out to be bogus. So that’s not going to support them.
They think that a defeat in Iraq would be confined to Iraq alone. But they are kidding themselves. A defeat in Iraq will be a defeat everywhere. Iran will develop their nuclear weapons and will dominate the vacuum left by the collapse of American power. It will be like the retreat of the LAPD from Florence and Normandy in 1992. NATO and the UN without American power backing them will be nothing more that bureaucracies without a purpose. They will provide a lot of jobs and titles to otherwise insignificant government workers but that is all.
Iran will dominate the Middle East and exert more and more influence into Europe. China will be the big dog in the Far East. Chaos will rule in the less developed parts of the world as the moderating influence of the U.S. disappears. The United States will take its place in the world that is envisioned by our betters in the Democrat Party. Somewhere between Tonga and Uzbekistan in influence. This will free them from doing the hard work and allow them to concentrate on looting the Federal Treasury and handing out goodies to their friends and supporters.