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Here (with spelling errors intact) is an absurd comment left under Michael Toten's first report from Fallujah:
Your no Micheal Yon, and your reporting seems to be all over the place. Are things better or not in the town? Seems like you give it a "Wow, I'm not in harms way since the surge helped the country, how many ways can I say things are bad over here, but not as bad. I suggest these readers go to someone who goes out on combat missions he's attached to with the ground pounders, and get a real feel of reporting. Micheal Yon.I don't want to promote any discussion of the relative merits of the various bloggers who've actually come to Iraq to cover the war first-hand - I greatly admire them all, and I've yet to find any who weren't worth reading. The more the merrier, as they say; after all, there are a million stories to tell over here - plenty to go around. But I wanted to highlight this for two reasons: one, to provide the link to Totten's Fallujah report (which should be widely read) and two, to point out something most readers here have probably seen but not noticed: two of Yon's most recent posts have actually been advice columns on suitable cameras for deployed reporters. That's not a knock on Yon - his latest report from Mosul is an outstanding look at a city that (like Fallujah) has vanished from the American news of Iraq, and it too is a must-read.
[COL Stephen] Twitty commands US operations in Ninevah and his brigade has kept control here with what amounts to a skeleton crew. We’ve had only one battalion in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, all year. In other words, less than 1% of our combat power has held one of the most challenging cities in Iraq for an entire year.Sort of reminds me of this quote from Totten, regarding Fallujah:
There are only 250 Marines in Fallujah, a city of about 350,000, right now. Last year, there were 3,000 Marines. Because the city is pacified, troops that were here can join the additional surge forces that are clearing and holding more volatile areas.Which can be done, because...
...any insurgent who shows up and announces himself in public won't be rolled up "eventually." He'll be arrested by the Iraqi police within minutes.As someone else recently said...
But I'm not a fan of death metrics. Up, down, and chaotic - an exceptionally low month means it will be quite easy for the next month to be higher - a helicopter crash could do it.So once again, Michael Totten:
But interspersed throughout the above are the < i>right numbers, the real indicators of victory in Iraq. Civilian tips leading to terrorists and their weapons caches...
But few people are paying attention to what those of us who are here fighting this war might have to say. Everyone is focused on the death metrics, and everyone is wrong. Call it "hearts and minds" or people fighting for their lives and futures who do not fear turning to us for help and helping us in return without fear of retribution from an enemy falling fast - these are the numbers that tell the tale. These are the numbers that indicate something worthwhile. These are the numbers that will drive the death metrics further down and keep them there.
It wouldn't be quite right to say Fallujah is safe. You do not want to come here on holiday. But I'm a lot safer here as an American than any terrorist or insurgent would be.Most of Iraq is even better. Which is why Yon, who does indeed spend a lot of time over here with combat troops, still has time to write about cameras. That's a good thing.
Meanwhile, back in America 48 percent of respondents to a Pew Poll feel that the military effort is not going well, and 44 percent feel we are losing ground to the insurgents.
I read and value both of their views. I love the way they write, they make me feel like I'm there. To be critical of either one is absurd in my book. I pray that both remain safe and continue to provide us with REAL information.
"Meanwhile, back in America 48 percent of respondents to a Pew Poll feel that the military effort is not going well, and 44 percent feel we are losing ground to the insurgents."
...compared to 67% and 55% in February, quite a remarkable improvement. I get it, you are learning to report stats like the MSM.Posted by peterargus at December 7, 2007 07:50 PM
Totten's report was excellent. His style is different from Yon's. I like both. The message from both and others like them and you needs to get out.Posted by kirk at December 7, 2007 09:28 PM
As 'peterargus' says---- it's the trends that matter not the gross data. And even the gross data indicates a saw-off in the current state of opinion. Basically 50/50.
Considering that the MSM has been 80% negative until VERY recently and that it now simply fails to report much of ANYTHING, I think a 50/50 split in November is great. It shows that the TRUTH is indeed setting more and more people free. By February if things continue on this trajectory, the polling results will be much more decisively favorable. Even if you view the 'people' with a jaundiced eye and I do, the trend line in polling is reaching a 'tipping point'.
It's not even because the 'people' are becoming more sophisticated about the Iraq situation. It's because EVERYONE likes a winner and wants to be on the side of that winner. The Patton theory of geo-politics. All that is required is to WIN. Everything else will take care of itself.Posted by dougf at December 7, 2007 11:54 PM
Regarding the Pew Poll where 48% of respondents feel the military effort (i.e. surge) is not going well: so what?
I have come to postulate that there is a great "un-interested, un-attentive, un-educated" class in America. They have other priorities such as a family or sitting in a bar and chugging beers and playing pool while looking at the Monday night game. But they do not have and probably never will have a long attention span to the WoT, Islamic jihadism, Valerie Plame, Hugo Chavez or the Iowa Caucus. Its just not their sphere of knowledge. Look at who votes and how many of voting age and qualification do even that. That is why newspaper circulation is down, 24/7 cable is up. There is a core "news consumer" population out there and those are the ones the polls should be asking questions of - like: "Have you been following closely either in the newspapers or TV news of the American military 'surge' starting in late spring and do you know feel that a) the effort is going well or b) it is not going well?" I only care what people who are interested think.Posted by Jack is Back! at December 8, 2007 06:25 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(5) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)