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The muddled message of the liberal media

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted March 31, 2003

Conservative journalist Charles Krauthammer insightfully refers to a "Bi-Polar Media" -- a media that disconcertingly swings between the extremes of "shock and awe" and "doom and gloom" regarding our current military campaign in Iraq. Krauthammer's perspective is thoroughly in sync with a statement made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld last Friday: "One week and a few minutes ago, the air war began in Iraq…and interestingly, in that short period of a week, we have seen mood swings in the media, from highs to lows to highs and back again, sometimes in a single 24 hour period". It's now manifest to even the casual observer that some media are disseminating the erroneous notion that this war is essentially "stalled", in "pause" mode, given stiff Iraqi resistance. But is this true? Have our Armed Forces been stunned and thrown off-kilter by the likes of Saddam Hussein's henchmen? Are the coalition forces now immobilized as the media would have us believe?

Of course not! This media hand-wringing is truly laughable, pure gobbledygook. Nothing has stopped -- there are ongoing combat operations while the noose tightens around Baghdad. Currently the bombing campaign continues in Baghdad, softening it up for its ultimate capture, and ground troops are engaged in concomitant activities, as well. According to the Independent (UK), "The 101st Airborne Division attacked units of the Medina Division of the Republican Guard defending the Karbala Gap, south-west of the Iraqi capital, claiming later to have killed 50 soldiers and destroyed 25 tanks". Coalition forces are in the mist of diligently degrading Republican Guard strongholds in preparation for the toppling of Baghdad. So much for a "Vietnam-style quagmire" espoused by a fretting press, or an "immobilized" coalition force that is unable to adequately wage warfare. In reality, the troops are moving forth, and moving aggressively. And both military and civilian causalities have been significantly lower than in any comparable military engagement in history.

This false notion of a coalition "pause" may even work to our advantage - it may confuse and confound the Iraqis. Moreover, the Pentagon's overarching strategic plan is still in effect, while the military executes a certain amount of logistical fine-tuning. And the "flow of forces" and supplies are arriving in the region without delay. It must be underscored that military planners have always viewed the battlefront as fluid; Flexibility and adaptability are nothing new in the science of warfare. Now more than ever in this emerging warfare landscape of the 21st century, those in command can promptly re-direct efforts and implement contingencies in response to an evolving battlefield. That is precisely what military commanders are supposed to do! A static approach would be deadly, clearly counterproductive within the combat arena. We're currently eliminating our vulnerabilities, and enacting protective measures that are part and parcel of a military campaign. Overall, our troops are making extraordinary headway, and we're definitely on track less than two weeks into this focused bombing effort.

This is not to say that war in Iraq will be an easy victory for us. Our forces will probably encounter notable challenges -- but we will most assuredly persevere. If the Iraqis inflict chemical weaponry upon our troops, we are prepared.

In his informative presentation on the Fox News Channel on March 29th, retired Major General Bob Scales (US Army) noted that four conditions must be met before the final assault on Baghdad can be conducted. Coalition forces are required to: 1) Control the countryside outside of Baghdad, 2) Secure the lines of communication, and thoroughly ensure re-supply lines, 3) Encircle Baghdad and close the loop, and, 4) Wear down the Republican Guard. Once the groundwork has been accomplished, coalition forces will be ready to successfully take Baghdad. Scales is an especially fine military analyst for Fox.

And given the fact that the Fox News Channel leads the television ratings pack, it's evident that Fox is now the trusted team for reliable news and analysis, particularly among conservatives. In a nutshell, Fox understands its audience and provides them with the information that they seek. And this is key -- conservatives want this war to be effectively executed, and they want pivotal information from the frontlines. Journalist Geraldo Rivera rightly noted that the primary difficulty for troops is being able "to distinguish friend from foe" when dealing with the civilian population. And here is another salient tidbit put forth for Fox viewers -- the US has taken control of six major airfields for incoming supplies, which is integral to a successful military engagement.

In contrast, liberal CNN anchor Aaron Brown continues to whine, "How long will the war last? How much will the war cost?", clearly revealing his partisan perspective. And retired General Wesley Clark comes across as an unappealing weenie as he provides CNN's version of military analysis. Clark is certainly not a fair purveyor of opinion - he fancies himself as the Democratic candidate that will run against Bush in 2004, and he has every reason to knock Bush and this war effort. The aggregate sense that one gets from both CNN and MSNBC is that these media organizations reflect a certain level of hostility and cynicism toward a military action that they apparently oppose. Given that three-quarters of Americans support this war and President Bush, I imagine that the ratings of CNN and MSNBC will continue to be adversely affected.

As the old saying goes, "everyone has the right to be an idiot", but CNN reporter Candy Crowley has clearly abused that privilege. She asked another correspondent on Sunday, "Do you have some sense that the White House, the Bush administration, is losing the PR war?" Mind you, we are only nine days into this military campaign and things are certainly going well, but the liberal CNN crowd often feels compelled to give President Bush the back of their hand -- to torpedo him and this war effort whenever possible. They consider themselves "globalists" at CNN, and they unquestionably reflect a greater amount of anti-American sentiment than their competition. That's why I can only watch CNN for about ten minutes at a time - it's just too jarring, and the CNN news team fails to realize the extent of its bias and how unenthusiastically it's received by those who watch the bulk of cable news programming in America, specifically the conservatives. I suppose this Left-leaning bias is to be expected since journalists are well documented liberal ideologues (90% of journalists voted for Bill Clinton as president) who almost reflexively cast the Bush administration in a negative light. But isn't this bad for CNN's ratings and business?

Importantly, these liberal media types simply don't grasp the nature of warfare as conservatives do - and that is because they rarely have an immediate family member or close friend who has served in the military. Unfortunately, many journalists perceive the "military" and "military action" as both alien and malevolent. And, whether they'll admit it or not, they are actually giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America as they cast aspirations on the Bush administration and this war effort. Unfortunately, the news media are generally chomping-at-the-bit to disparage any military campaign spearheaded by a conservative administration.

Only if warfare is orchestrated by a Left-leaning president, such as Bill Clinton's initiative in the former Yugoslavia, will the media ease-up on their harpy-style approach. As journalist Bill Kristol noted on this week's Fox News Sunday program, "The Left (in the Democratic Party) hates the Bush administration more than they love this nation…This is the anti-American Left". And, it's time that these liberal media apparatchiks are consistently challenged by the public, just as they assiduously challenge the Bush administration and all other conservatives. And, for heaven's sake, let's stop the tax-payer funding of the National Public Radio, which is just another venue for Leftist venom to be spewed forth against the mainstream conservative perspective. Why should tax dollars pay for the partisan viewpoints asserted by these vipers? Conservative radio is purely a commercial enterprise; It has never been subsidized by the government, nor would conservatives ever expect tax-payer monies for their radio endeavors.

It's helpful to remember that Americans are shrewd consumers of news, and are able to effectively evaluate the stilted ranting of journalists. We look at the handmaidens of Saddam Hussein -- the Fedayeen Saddam (literally meaning Saddam's martyrs), the Ba'ath Party militia, the elite Republican Guard, and all variety of Saddam loyalists including his terrorists pals - and we are compelled to ask ourselves the following: What manner of thugs are these that would turn women and children into "human shields", brutalize and execute US/British POW's in breach of the international rules of war, ensnare our troops in gunfire while pretending to surrender, dragoon male children as young as age twelve as Iraqi fighters, and fire mortars and machine guns upon thousands of fleeing civilians in Basra, thus killing and maiming some in the process? As to the latter, British troops promptly intervened and put a halt to those vicious attacks. And arrangements are now underway to provide the people of Basra with much needed humanitarian relief.

Moreover, the latest Iraqi atrocity involved a suicide bomber exploding a vehicle that killed four US soldiers at a military checkpoint outside the city of Najaf. And Iraqi officials are now promising more of these terror attacks, both in Iraq and on American soil. This could very well constitute psychological warfare on the part of the Iraqis - but we should take some comfort in the fact that our troops are prepared to tackle worst-case scenarios, including terrorism. It's important to remember that our troops learn quickly, and are becoming increasingly aware of ploys associated with terrorist acts. The Israelis have dealt with these situations and so will we, if we have to. It's difficult for many of us to fathom the sheer magnitude of this evil - yet Saddam's henchmen are essentially twisted souls that are among the worst war criminals and human rights violators in history. Overall, Iraqi atrocities are only strengthening the resolve and commitment of the American people to rid the world of Saddam's awful legacy.

Lastly, the horrific deeds recently perpetrated by Iraqi troops and loyalists represent the final flailing of a dying regime. These are the desperate acts of low-life scum who will fight mightily to maintain the status quo of Ba'ath Party rule. Furthermore, these are the vicious thugs who were the enforcers of Saddam's brutal police state - Gestapo-types that flourished on the backs of the average Iraqis. When the current regime disintegrates, they're sure to be executed or incarcerated as war criminals -- and they're well aware of these prospects. So these elite troops and loyalists may indeed attempt to escape Iraq when they fully come to grips with the fact that fighting is for naught, and regime change is inevitable. My hope is that each and every one of them is brought to justice.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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