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If You Are Seeing Nothing But Anna Nicole and Britney ...

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.


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.

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.


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Comments (3)

I'm one of the few liberals... (Below threshold)

I'm one of the few liberals who supports the surge. I see no real difference between this security and policing plan than the 15 peacekeeping missions by the UN in world troublespots such as in Lebanon, Kosovo, Haiti or Ivory Coast, all of which are meant to save lives and stop senseless violence.

The surge does have a new clear security plan, and is based on the humanitarian principle of saving lives from car bombs or other absurd violence. I can't fault this. No good policeman would walk away from a situation just because violence or crime exists.

But there still must be caution. The new security plan will not be in full force until June. And there is little American pressure for a political settlement for the Iraqi government to more fully assimulate the Sunni community into the new Iraq.And the Sunni insurgents are only likely holding their fire somewhat to find security holes in the security plan to exploit in future shocking attacks on the smaller and less protected small American neighborhood bases that the new security plan uses. Further, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is only likely waiting for a U.S. withdrawal to use Iranian help to push for an overthrow of the Iraqi government.

Unfortunately the new security plan doesn't really promise a more peaceful, stable or democratic Iraq in the future. It only helps provide better security for the out of control violence in Baghdad. Probably, the U.S. will eventually declare some sort of a political technical "victory" and pull most troops out of Baghdad within a year, much like the British did in Basra, but unfortunately still leaving most serious problems behind. But if the surge saves any lives in Baghdad, then it has at least served an important humanitarian purpose.

Well, hello. What else is n... (Below threshold)
John:

Well, hello. What else is new? Don't you recognize this pattern? It's been used in Afghanistan. Did you forget the blaring headlines in the NYT and the lead story on CNN that trumpeted Bush's success in suppressing the Taliban in Afghanistan and installing a working, successful government? No? Well, there was none. I knew that would be the sign that he was a success. They simply stopped saying anything about Afghanistan. And again, the lack of reporting on Iraq is the same signal. I surprised that the dinosaur media didn't find a way to blame either Anna Nichole or Britney on George Bush. The DM's mantra - We will NEVER, EVER SAY ANYTHING POSITIVE ABOUT GEORGE BUSH.

We were all sick of hearing... (Below threshold)
John (The origional one, not the doofus above):

We were all sick of hearing about Anna Nicole all day long, every day, but only Britney took the initiative to do something about it.




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