Ironically, one reason why Washington can persuade the outside world that its venture in Iraq is finally coming right is that it is too dangerous for reporters to travel outside Baghdad or stray far from their hotels in the capital.OK, note to American reporters: if it's too dangerous to leave your hotel, then the situation is getting worse not better.
Most violent incidents in Iraq go unreported...Last year US soldiers told the IoS that they do not tell their superiors about attacks on them unless they suffer casualties. This avoids bureaucratic hassle and "our generals want to hear about the number of attacks going down not up". This makes the official Pentagon claim that the number of insurgent attacks is down from 140 a day in January to 40 a day this month dubious.Boy, does that tactic sound familiar.
The White House finds its military commitment in Iraq politically damaging at home. The easiest way to bring the troops home is, as in Vietnam, to declare a victory and full confidence in US-trained Iraqi forces to win the war. These soldiers and police supposedly number 152,000, but it is not clear who. The figure may include the 14,000 blue-uniformed Iraqi police in Nineveh province, the capital of which is Mosul, with a population of 2.7 million. But Khasro Goran, the deputy governor and Kurdistan Democratic Party leader in Mosul, told the IoS that the police had helped insurgents assassinate the previous governor.
Mr Goran said that when guerrillas captured almost all of Mosul on 11 November last year, the police had collaborated, abandoning 30 police stations without a fight. "They didn't fire on terrorists because they were terrorists themselves," he said. Some $40m-worth of arms and equipment was captured by the insurgents.
It is a measure of how far the reality of the war in Iraq now differs from the rosy picture presented by the media that the fall of Mosul to the insurgents went almost unreported abroad because most journalists were covering the assault by the US marines on Fallujah.
So we lost Mosul in November; we're training terrorists and counting them among the forces we are confident can "win" the war that we declared victory in over a year ago; our guys are hamstrung by leaders who don't want to hear bad news or properly arm them; and our biggest stories have been Terri Schiavo, Michael Jackson and the pope, with Tom Delay's shenanigans thrown in for balance. Terri and the pope are dead. Toss Michael Jackson and Tom Delay in jail, and be done with it.
We are at war and people are dying needlessly every single day. Can't that be taken seriously by the goddamn news?