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Multinational Force-Iraq spokesman Major General William Caldwell's October 19 briefing from Baghdad:
Violence and progress do coexist here in Iraq. The violence continues against security forces and innocent Iraqis during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Traditionally this is a time of great celebration; it has, instead, been a period of increased violence, not just this year, but during the past two years as well. The violence is indeed disheartening.
In Baghdad alone, we've seen a 22 percent increase in attacks during the first three weeks of Ramadan, as compared to the three weeks preceding Ramadan.
In Baghdad, Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations of sustaining a reduction in the levels of violence. We are working very closely with the government of Iraq to determine how to best to refocus our efforts.
In regards to this spike in violence during Ramadan, it's no coincidence that the surge in attacks against coalition forces and subsequent increase in U.S. casualty -- casualties coincide with our increased presence on the streets in Baghdad and the run-up to the American midterm elections. The enemy knows that killing innocent people and Americans will garner headlines and create a sense of frustration.
However, the coalition will not be deterred from establishing an Iraq that can provide for its own security and govern itself. That goal is achievable with a combination of both tough security measures by coalition and Iraqi security forces and a political process that recognizes that 11 or 12 million Iraqis voted for a unity government.
Towards that goal, the coalition continues to support and train an increasingly capable and determined Iraqi security force. This past weekend, Iraqi security forces independently successfully provided security for hundreds of thousands of Shi'a pilgrims who thronged the Iraqi city of Najaf in a peaceful commemoration of the death of the first imam. The event was carefully organized, with city services responding to the massive influx of pilgrims from all across Iraq and neighboring Iran.
Iraqi security forces set up and operated checkpoints and patrols throughout the Najaf province, ensuring the safe passage of these pilgrims. Their ceremony went off as planned, without any incidences, according to the Najaf provincial government officials.
This is the third holy pilgrimage in as many months that involved Iraqi security forces on their own planning and executing security for the movement of millions of worshipers here in this country.
Let's repeat this passage: "In regards to this spike in violence during Ramadan, it's no coincidence that the surge in attacks against coalition forces and subsequent increase in U.S. casualty -- casualties coincide with our increased presence on the streets in Baghdad and the run-up to the American midterm elections. The enemy knows that killing innocent people and Americans will garner headlines and create a sense of frustration."
He knows the sort of treatment the press gives terrorists - but I'll bet he didn't expect the headlines his speech garnered worldwide:
Is that what he said?
Fortunately you don't have to believe anything you read - because the video is here, along with the full transcript.
Note: that second headline might be the boldest lie of them all - the quotation marks around the word failure imply the General actually said that.
This is a growing media strategy, by the way, delivering fabricated quotes - especially from military leaders. You'd think the victims of this sort of sleaze journalism could just respond that they never said that - but if they do they are accused of "backing off" their remarks in follow-up coverage. It's all too common lately.
Update: All too common? Yep - here's another one.
CAPT John Paul Jones responded to the British Captain of HMS Serapis when he asked if Jones had struck his colors (surrendered), by saying, "I have not yet begun to fight".
To which a young gun captain on the gun deck below Jones quipped, "Yeah don't you know there's always someone who don't get the word!"
Apparently neither did the press, even though they were there and they had access to the General and supposedly understood the English language. Perhaps their editors don't speak English.
SubsunkPosted by Subsunk at October 21, 2006 12:47 AM
Obviously, the lessons of "Tet" journalism have been well learned by the headline writers.
And some people wondered why the Vietnam era military grew to distrust the media.
It'd be Orwellian, except the "Newspeak" is not the government's work. At the hands of the media, victory becomes defeat, quitting the battle becomes heroism, heroes become vicious losers or uncontrollable killing machine Rambos. The script was written long ago.
And it's not just the NY Times and its ilk- the other day an article in inside the Beltway conservative American Standard began "As a war weary nation moves closer to Election Day..."
"War weary?" I haven't noticed that huge sacrifices were being made by the vast majority of Americans in fighting this war. Taxes are not going up. The draft has not been reinstated, blood drives and rubber drives and rationing have not commenced. The only place most Americans could get "war weary" is in watching the alleged "news" coverage of the fight on TV in between football games and the CSI of the night and reading misleading headlines such as the examples you provide.
It's important that Milbloggers continue to speak truth to the "power" of the press and its effort to reshape truth.Posted by Eagle1 at October 21, 2006 12:16 PM
Correction: "American Spectator" and the article is here.">http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=10490">here.Posted by Eagle1 at October 21, 2006 07:34 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)