Last Friday I posted on a press conference and bloggers’ call held from Iraq by three members of the Provincial Reconstruction team. The State Department had formally announced the press conference on Thursday. The video conference was later transcribed and posted, and the video is on line.
At that time I did the Friday post I wondered what the MSM would report on the information from that press conference. Mind you, this was the second press conference on PRTs this week. The first one (which was held on Monday) went mostly ignored.
Well, this morning I did a search and here’s all there was at the Washington Post as of this morning: Reconstruction In Iraq at a Crawl, Auditor Reports, which was a summary of an audit released on Thursday. This was the case with all the American newspapers.
One has to go to new Zealand to find any reporting on either of the PRT press conferences from this week: Provincial Reconstruction Teams Progress In Iraq, which refers to the Monday press conference.
What all the people who spoke at the press conferences emphasize is that the Iraqis are taking charge of a much larger role in their own governance and security. This doesn’t match the MSM’s meme that Iraq is a quandary, civil war, Shia-vs-Sunni, loser’s game. The media are doing this meme without actually visiting the country.
In the parts of Iraq where the locals turn against the insurgents en masse, it is only a matter of time before the insurgents are finished. Civilians phone in actionable intelligence on the locations of safe houses, weapons caches, IED’s, and everything else.
Matt and both Michaels are in the very areas they are writing about. They are there.
Any firsthand reporting that Iraq is not what the MSM wants it to be (“another Viet Nam”), is being ignored. For instance, Anbar Province Team Leader Kristin Hagerstrom specifically talked about Ramadi. As you may remember, last year al-Qaeda declared Ramadi the capital of the Califate in Iraq. Next week, Ms Hagerstorm stated, the people of Ramadi are planning an enormous rally in memory of Sheik Shatar and against al-Qaeda.
But a few newspapers are starting to report on what really is going on in Iraq now. This morning Michael Ledeen writing in the WSJ makes the bold statement that Victory Is Within Reach in Iraq
As evidence of success mounts, skeptics often say that while military operations have gone well, there is still no sign of political movement to bind up the bloody wounds in the Iraqi body politic. Recent events suggest otherwise. Just a few days ago, Ammar al-Hakim, the son of and presumed successor to the country’s most important Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, went to Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, to meet with Sunni sheikhs. The act, and his words, were amazing. “Iraq does not belong to the Sunnis or the Shiites alone; nor does it belong to the Arabs or the Kurds and Turkomen,” he said. “Today, we must stand up and declare that Iraq is for all Iraqis.”
Mr. Hakim’s call for national unity mirrors last month’s pilgrimage to Najaf, the epicenter of Iraqi Shiism, by Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni. There he visited Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shiite cleric. The visit symbolically endorsed Mr. Sistani’s role as the most authoritative religious figure in Iraq. Mr. Hashemi has also been working closely with Mr. Hakim’s people, as well as with the Kurds. Elsewhere, similar efforts at ecumenical healing proceed rapidly. As Robert McFarlane reported in these pages, Baghdad’s Anglican Canon, Andrew White, has organized meetings of leading Iraqi Christian, Sunni and Shiite clerics, all of whom called for nation-wide reconciliation.
The Iraqi people seem to be turning against the terrorists, even against those who have been in cahoots with the terror masters in Tehran. As Col. Sanders puts it, “while we were down in Basra, an awful lot of the violence against us was enabled, sponsored and equipped by. . . Iran. [But] what has united a lot of the militias was a sense of Iraqi nationalism, and they resent interference by Iran.”
The propaganda war here in the US continues. But the real reporting is being done by 33 independent embeds in Iraq.