News from the Green Zone in Baghdad

Sunday, March 19, 2006
The last few days have been eerily quiet here in the Green Zone. An injection of American troops coupled with Operation Swarmer to our north seem to have changed the routines quite drastically."will to exist"

The Times coverage of yesterday's anti-war protests is of note for two reasons. First, the relatively small size is at least mentioned, even if it isn't emphasized. (That would require specific mentions of the size of pre-war rallies.) Second, for once, the protesters aren't completely protected from themselves: there's a bit of reporting here that actually describes what's going on at and in the protests, so that the message (or lack thereof) is presented to the reader, if not with complete accuracy, certainly with more detail than was ever the case before the war, when reporters would find a few protesters who represented "average" Americans (businessmen, teachers, young mothers with strollers in tow) and simply interview them.Cori Dauber

But [the war] was not bad in the ways they see covered in the media -- the majority [of 100 Iraq war veterans interviewed] also agreed on this. What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."The Washington Post, noted from Cori Dauber

The last couple of times I've seen interesting trends, I haven't mentioned them. This time I'm going to risk it: I predict that not only is the war being won in Iraq, but (for a number of reasons) it's going to start being covered as a winnable war in the legacy press.

Remember, you heard it here first.

As long as I'm right, of course.

[posted with ecto]


brylun said...

I hope you're right. And I think you're right.

terrye said...

From your fingertips to God's ears.

For what it is worth, I have had the same feeling lately and I am not sure why.

It is like the air is being let out of something.

Jamie Irons said...

StY and Terrye,

Yes, I wouldn't have had the courage to commit myself like you have Seneca, but this has been my intuition lately as well.

The intuition is partly based on the very low polling numbers for Bush and voter sentiments about the war; I feel these are fed by the furious anti-Bush thrashings about of the MSM, who have basically exhausted this script.

One thinks fondly of Baghdad Bob, who was so much more straightforward.

Jamie Irons

chuck said...

It is like the air is being let out of something.

Making a new reality takes time and often those at the top are the last to know. The top here are the journalists and pundits, with most politicians tossed in. Although I am sure the politicians try to stay in better touch with their constituents than the journalists and pundits do.

I'm knocking on wood, but have you looked at this month's casualties? They are way down, and they were on the way down last month to. I have been waiting and waiting for them to start dropping and now they are:

Nov 88
Dec 67
Jan 63
Feb 56
Mar 16 (so far).

Of course, a helicopter could go down and the numbers would jump. Or the planned Green Zone attack could have succeeded. No doubt some of the numbers are because the main offensives are over and more and more of the work is being handed over to the Iraqi's; I wonder who tracks Iraqi casualties? But I am starting to feel a bit optimistic, not just hopeful.

David Thomson said...

The actual war has been over for quite some time. Our troops are merely cleaning up the last vestiges of resistance. As I’ve said repeatedly: do the math! There are roughly 26 million people living in Iraq. The terrorist violence kills far less than one percent of the overall population. Baghdad supposedly is home to 7 million citizens. The terrorist may slaughter around 200 people per week in this city. I live in Houston, Texas and there are around 3 1/2 citizens living within the metroplex. What would happen if 100 people were murdered each week by terrorists? We would be very cautious---but life would continue to go on. Our world would not come completely to a halt.

Seneca the Younger said...

Yes. Chuck and David both make some of the points that I've been thinking about, semiconsciously. Casualties are dropping. al Qaeda is beginning to have internal disputes over the whole thing. (I'll find a link later, but there's been some reporting about recent traffic saying "stop these attacks, we just get captured or killed!") And in the recent "biggest air assault" thing, the running argument now has been that it was a "fizzle" --- which is to say they went into what was supposed to be a hotbed of the insurgency, and found the insurgents couldn't manage significant resistance.

Smells like victory in the air, and it ain't napalm.

Rick Ballard said...

Victory will be a combined arms assault on Qum with two Iraqi division plus the 101st taking the lead in an air assault followed by the 4ID leading four more Iragi mechanized divisions in a follow on.

After reduction of all air defense, the sinking of all Iranian surface vessels and submarines, the successful seizure of the oil fields and the destruction by aerial bombardment of all known Iranian nuclear installations, of course.

It is nice that laying the groundwork for Iraqi participation is just about complete. Setting up the US/Iraqi al Anbar Joint Desert Warfare Training Center is about all that's left.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Things are going well in Iraq...probably just in time for a huge al Qaeda attack here.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Well, I just went to AP to see the top two headlines:

"Deaths Continue As Iraq War Enters Year 4
- 26 minutes ago

Iraq War Anniversary Marked With Protests"

Guess we're not there yet.

terrye said...


I think part of Bush's problem is with the right. The left will hate him forever no matter what. He is Hitler and that is all there is to it.

The right wingers are pissed off about spending, immigration, ferreners taking over our ports, and the fact that Bush has not as of yet nuked Iran or Syria.

Ok so I am being a little extreme.

But I do think that if Bush cut off some old people's food and medicine, built a moat along the Mexican border, nationalized the infrastructure and desroyed both Tehran and Damuscus he might drive up his numbers.

terrye said...


Imagine how surprised Hitler and the Emporer would have been to know that all that was necessary to win a war was blowing up some temples and markets.

Here they thought they had to defeat armies, take and hold territory, be recognized in the international community as the sovereign power.

Nope, just get some guy, shoot him up with heroin and tell him to go blow himself up.

The Iraqis will have to be holding Independence Day parades with Bush as the featured speaker before the AP will admit Baghdad is not Dresden after the fire bombing.

chuck said...


...probably just in time for a huge al Qaeda attack here.

I am going to go out on a limb with StY and make a prediction: the next hotspot is going to be along the Pakistani border with Afghanistan. It is a total guess on my part, but I suspect that al Qaeda may be withdrawing from Iraq and concentrating its forces there; it is one of the few al Qaeda friendly regions left in the world. As to Pakistan itself... we will have to wait and see.

And of course Iran is waiting in the wings, but I regard it as a separate force from al Qaeda. There may be some cooperation but in the long run they are competitors.

Fresh Air said...

I dunno. As much as I would like to collect these straws in the wind and bundle them into a trend, I'm not sure they qualify.

I think noted asshat Dana Millbank tipped the DNC playbook a month ago when he said the Democrats' hopes for retaking the House were centered around the following issues: (1) Iraq; (2) Katrina (!); (3) NSA spying and (4) Abramoff. Laughable as this list is, my guess is he's spot-on in that this surely does comprise what idiots like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean think of as valence issues.

But it's curious. What seems to happen is the press goes through a sort of round-robin affair, where they cycle through each of these issues in turn whenever there isn't anything particularly newsworthy going on they can use to bash Bush--and by extension, the Republicans.

So long as Iraq remains on the list as one of the leftist hot buttons, the MSM will surely follow the script dutifully. Every third or fourth day there will be another negative Iraq story leading off the WaPo or the Times. Look for the reporting to shift after November, probably not much before.

Having said all that, I hope you are right.

Seneca the Younger said...

The Iraqis will have to be holding Independence Day parades with Bush as the featured speaker before the AP will admit Baghdad is not Dresden after the fire bombing.

Do you actually think that would be enough?

Guess we're not there yet.

I don't know, MHA. Look a little deeper into the stories. As Chuck notes,there's a significant, multiple-month downward trend in our casualties; as Terrye just noted, to make a "milestone" story about Iraq vs Viet Nam, the legacy press has to try to make a story out of 3 years of Iraq casualties beating a single month in Viet Nam. In the protest story, they note the protests, but even the Times has to note that they were much smaller than expected, and unfocused. And al Qaeda seems to be having morale problems....

terrye said...

Do not underestimate the power of boredom.

The media is bored with Iraq.

Some people say the Iraq war dragged Bush down and other people say it was the other way around, Bush dragged Iraq down.

I don't know if either is really true. But the media might be getting the idea that they have beat this dead horse for all it is worth.

And Katrina? Another dead horse.

Peter UK said...

Allawi seems to be pushing the Civil war line
It is likely that he fears troop drawdowns.

terrye said...


Allawi was not happy when he lost his job as PM and now he wants that job back or he wants Interior Ministry. He is letting people know that when he was running the show things like civil war did not happen.

The truth is I doubt we will see full scale civil war. Perhaps it is a question of semantics but when I think of a civil war I think of Antietam.

This seems like good old fashioned sectarian strife of a fairly low level intensity. Most Iraqis are either victims or bystanders of the fighting, not participants.

I can remember when Allawi was running the show and they were getting ready for the first Iraqi election and he was here in the US at a press conference in the Rose Garden. He said then that most fighting was in four provinces, while the rest of Iraq was mostly peaceful. The same is true today.

gumshoe1 said...

"And Katrina? Another dead horse."

some interesting thoughts on
dead horses,Spike Lee & Katrina -

"fake but accurate"


"Speaking Lies to the Powerless"
- One Comos blog

The execrable Spike Lee, speaker par excellence of lies to the powerless, has a new crockumentary coming out about hurricane Katrina. It includes the bombshell truth that it was the U.S. government that blew up the levees. "Here's the thing," says Spike, "Even today, a large part of the African-American community of New Orleans thinks that those levees were bombed. Now, whether that is true or not, that should not be discounted.... In the collective mind of African-Americans, it is not some science-fiction, hocus-pocus thing to say that the government is doing stuff," he continued. "Even if it didn't happen, you cannot discount it and dismiss it as 'Oh you people are crazy'."

Do you see the chain of illogic? Some blacks believe the levees were bombed; it doesn't matter whether or not it's true; in the "collective mind" of blacks it is true; belief in things that are untrue is neither science fiction nor hocus-pocus; it is an insult to suggest that people are crazy just because they believe their own delusions."

terrye said...


I heard about that. Spike Lee is either insane or stupid.

I am getting so tired of having to take every idiot with a big name seriously.

gumshoe1 said...

"Spike Lee is either insane or stupid."

he's neither,
or perhaps,in fact he's both...

but Spike
plans to ride it to the bank.

the full article is worth a read.

apologies for the OT.

terrye said...


Well George Clooney is proof is that you can be insane and stupid and still make money.