Viewing conflicts through the eye of Counterinsurgency COIN – Since 2007
Iraq is on the mend, al Qaeda is on the run, and the civil war has abated to a point where the term “civil war” no longer applies.
Accurate war coverage is increasingly important. Even prominent seemingly well-informed persons can get it wrong, such as retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez who previously commanded the war in Iraq . His recent public statements –selectively excerpted and then widely dispersed by the hot winds of media – made it clear that this former senior commander is far out of touch with the current situation.
But there are commanders with a finger on the pulse.
When earlier this year I wrote about the 1-4 CAV transforming an abandoned seminary in a Baghdad neighborhood that had been decimated by civil war, the “surge” had not even begun; but already pundits, politicians and editors had declared it a failure. Though I’d spent only a few days with LTC Crider and his 1-4 CAV soldiers at the new COP Amanche, I ended the dispatch on a note of hope based on observation. I recently received an email from LTC Crider with an update on that Baghdad neighborhood. Please read “Achievements of the Human Heart” and see for yourself.
I was in al Basra province when I saw news reports claiming that Basra city had descended into chaos in the wake of an announcement about the draw down of British Soldiers. I emailed the facts about Basra to several bloggers who hold the media accountable, and the resulting effort got the attention of Tom Foreman who anchors CNN’s “This Week at War.” We were able to make a CNN interview, and the result is a segment that accurately reflects a complex and changing situation. Bravo to CNN for setting the record straight, and to the tireless bloggers who are making a substantial difference in the way news about the war is delivered.
There are major developments to share with readers in upcoming dispatches. If things go at-least-mostly according to plan (which is all we can hope for in war), and if I can rely on the help of readers who share my frustration with the lack of accurate reporting, we can significantly widen the stream of news flowing from Iraq so more people can obtain a truer picture. This will require the will and generosity of readers. But more on that, soon.