Patrick Ruffini says it might be because there isn't enough bad news coming out of Iraq.
But something interesting is happening on the way to the "new direction." Early indications are that the troop surge into Baghdad is working. It hasn't been reported on widely, but murders in Baghdad are down 70%, attacks are down 80%, Mahdi Army chief Moqtada al-Sadr has reportedly made off for Iran, and many Baghdadis who had fled the violence now feel it's safe enough to return. The strategy that Congress is busy denouncing is proving to be our best hope for victory.It is far too early to know whether or not the surge will be successful, but I agree with Patrick that one way you will know that it is working is if there is an absence of coverage. Lots more Anna Nicole and bald Britney coverage, in this case, might actually be a good thing. Relatively speaking, that is.
In Iraq, there's a sense that change is in the air -- literally. Omar of Iraq the Model spots a B-1 Bomber in the skies of Baghdad for the first time since the end of the major combat. On the ground, Omar writes that the signs that Iraqis are getting serious about security are more palbable. With the help of Compstat-like technology, security forces are cracking down at checkpoints (even ambulances are getting stopped) and getting nimbler about locating them strategically so the terrorists don't know what to expect.
This turnaround in Baghdad is confirmed at home by the media's near-deafening silence. If it seems like you've heard less about how Iraq is spiraling into civil war in the weeks since the surge was announced, this is why. Even some discordant voices in the media are starting to wonder what's happening. Time magazine worries that it's "Quiet in Baghdad. Too quiet." That's right -- a dramatic reduction in violence is actually bad news.
It's too early to claim victory just yet; the operation is just two weeks old. But U.S. troops have been able to accomplish all of this with just one more brigade in-country, with four more on the way by May...
When things don't go well in Iraq, we see the endless B-roll of chaos and carnage. When things are on the upswing, we tend to hear more about Anna Nicole Smith. The media will never acknowledge victories in Iraq, so we'll have to settle for an absence of bad coverage. But even in this relative lull in Iraq, it's important to understand and appreciate the short-term victories so we can create more of them. And finish the job.