Media Mavens Mistake Military Moves
Several memes are developing in the old media about the Sadr Revolt in Iraq. They seem to be relying on anonymous sources and lack of familiarity with operation in Iraq. Let’s take a look at some of them.
CBS reports: “The Iraqis didn’t ask permission, they just went, which seems to have caught President Bush by surprise.”
Basra Province is under the control of the Iraqi national government, as are the Iraqi Army and other security forces. The Iraqis do not need anyone’s permission to conduct operations.
The Iraqi government has been moving troops south since late summer, which did not go unnoticed by our leadership. There are American advisors at all levels of the military, from the Ministry of Defense on down. To suggest that the United States was not aware that this operation was going forward is nonsense. Dozens of Americans had to have had been aware.
The quote that CBS feels proves Bush was surprised? “”You know, I’m not exactly sure what triggered the prime minister’s response, but nevertheless he made the decision to move and we’ll help him,” Mr. Bush said.”
Read it again. Bush does not know what triggered the decision to activate the operation. The implication of the quote, if accurate, is that Bush knew about the op but that the prime minister did not consult him about the timing. Fair enough, it is an Iraqi op.
The CBS story also quote an anonymous American officer that “many of the successes of the past 12 months are in danger of being cancelled out.”
Other analysts have also questioned this meme. It is very difficult to understand how this, minor revolt, could affect the Sunni regions of Iraq or undo the increased security in Baghdad. In the four days that the fighting has been underway about the only statement that can be made is that the Sadrists are suffering severe losses and have failed to achieve any gains in any city. They are barely holding the areas that they held four days ago and inroads have been made in that territory.
Reuters quotes Joost Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group think tank: “If it allows (the crackdown) to go forward the ceasefire will unravel and the U.S. will face the Sadr movement in its full power.”
“This will be bad for both sides. Sadr will lose men and the United States will lose the gains of the surge”
Hiltermann said although the United States was “desperate to show progress by Iraqis”, the Basra operation was unlikely to yield results.
“I doubt very much the Iraqi forces in Basra can stand on their own two feet. They are not a national army.”
Again, no evidence is offered that the results of the surge are threatened. Indeed, the story mentions Sadr’s last two revolts which were very unsuccessful and cost the lives of hundreds of his poorly trained militiamen.
Hiltermann states that the Iraqi Army is not a national army. I’m not certain how he defines a “national army” but by most standards, this army is truly national. It is majority Shia, as is the nation, but Sunnis and Kurds have been successfully integrated. The Army has had extensive training, and American advisors accompany many of the units.
Other stories in the national news question the abilities of the Iraqi Army, and suggest that the Basra op is a failure since it has not been concluded in the last four days. Serious military observers realize that fighting in a city such as Basra, where the terrorists have had time to prepare positions, will take weeks. It took the best of the American military two weeks to reduce Fallujah, a smaller city.
I have seen two reports from the terrorist side by reporters from the major media and none from our side. I am not surprised, nor, I suspect, is George Bush.
Table of contents for Sadr Revolt 2008
- Moqtada al-Sadr Starts to Fight
- Sadr Revolt 3-26-2008 am
- Sadr’s Revolt 3-27-2008
- 67 Terrorists Killed
- Iran Backing Sadr Revolt in Iraq
- Sadr Revolt 3-28-2008 early am
- Sadr Revolt 3-28-2008 pm
- Media Mavens Mistake Military Moves
- Sadr Revolt 3-30-2008 am
- Sadr Orders Halt to Revolt
- Iraqi Special Operations Forces kill 14 criminals in Basra
- Kadhamiyah Cleans Up After Sadr Fight
- Brits in Basra – Crack Shots
- Iraqi Army seizes caches in mosque, hospital
- MND-SE holds memorial for fallen Marine
- Iraqis Continue Basra Cleanup
- Iraqis Continue Sadr City Cleanup
- Basra Update June 7 2008
- Chief Warrant Officer Ronald C. Ivy
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 29th, 2008 at 11:42 am and is filed under Original writing, Commentary, War on Terror, Iraq, Media, Media, Old Media, Original writing, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.