That Whole Rigamarole

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Red Letter Day

Yesterday was such a red letter day, what with Uday and Qusay getting what was coming to them, that I decided to watch Nightline just to see what the news had to say. Wouldn't you know it, ABC just had to have John Donvan rain on my parade. The story he filed is similar to this story, but honestly I think what aired was a slightly different and considerably more irritating. Consider this bit:

While President Bush declared May 1 that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended," U.S. military personnel continue to die in Iraq.

I swear that over the air this was phrased to imply that the President has been proved incorrect. In fact, major combat operations have ended, and the death rate, while infuriating and regrettable, is not high by historic standards.
Even though Vice President Dick Cheney predicted U.S. troops "will, in fact, be greeted as liberators," Iraqis have demonstrated against the American presence.

In reality, it is not all demonstrations all the time. And some Iraqis did indeed welcome the United States.

I guess that's an attempt at balance, ABC News style. It's not even close to "all demonstrations all the time," though that's what sells papers. And it would be closer to the truth to say that "some Iraqis did not welcome the United States, but for the most part, Cheney was right." I'm not sure Donvan has surveyed much of the country.
But here is a fact of life: When it's more than 110 degrees and those in charge — the U.S. military — can't seem to get the electricity running reliably, people can forget to be grateful that a dictator was toppled.

Barton said U.S. forces conducted focus groups with Iraqis to gauge their opinions. One long-time opponent of Saddam told them, "After the last war, those idiots [meaning Saddam's people and that regime] had been able to restore the water and the electricity after a couple of months. Now it's been three months. What is taking you folks so long?"

Lord knows the Army can mess up a project, but shouldn't we acknowledge that one of the reasons the electricity is spotty is that the bad guys are sabotaging the system? And shouldn't the media also let us know how reliable was the grid before the war?


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