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Thursday, February 16, 2006


Facts vs. Fiction: A Mythbusting Report from Iraq

Karl Zinsmeister recently returned from a trip to Iraq and has written a great piece that demolishes a pile of the left's Iraq war myths. If you'd like some facts to counter leftist assumptions, read this piece. It is a very long piece compared to most simple Op Eds you might see, but the subject is not a simple subject, after all.

Among the myths he tackles...

Has the Iraq war been too costly?
But aren't our losses mounting?
How is the morale of our soldiers holding up?
But don't American combat losses fall disproportionately on minorities and the poor?

"The idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," opined Democratic chairman Howard Dean in December. Who agrees with him?
Well, most academics and journalists seem to. Military leaders, however, do not.

Morass or not, this war seems to be especially unpopular on the homefront.
Where is some evidence that we're making headway?

Then why do Iraqis seem so dissatisfied?
The Iraqis don't seem to be doing much for themselves.

Are there signs of the Iraqis weaning themselves from dependence on the U.S.?

Do average Iraqis support the insurgents?
But in the wider Muslim world, hasn't the Iraq war done irreparable damage to America's image?

Isn't it a pipe dream to think we can introduce democracy to the Middle Eastóso long dominated by strongmen?

Why do I never hear any of this in most reporting?
One media critic (Arthur Chrenkoff) did a content analysis of a typical day (January 21, 2005), and counted this breakout of freshly published stories on Iraq:
-1,992 covering terrorist attacks
- 887 essays alleging prisoner abuse by the British
-289 about American casualties or civilian deaths in Iraq
-27 mentions of oil pipeline sabotage
-761 reports on public statements of terrorists
-357 on U.S. anti-war protestors
-121 speculations on a possible American pullout
-118 articles about strains with European nations
-217 stories worrying over the validity of the upcoming January 30 Iraqi election
-216 tales of hostages in Iraq
-123 quoting Vice President Cheney saying he had underestimated reconstruction needs
-2,642 items on a Senate grilling of Condoleezza Rice over Iraq policy
Balanced against these negative stories, Chrenkoff ís computer search found a grand total of 96 comparatively positive reports related to Iraq:
-16 reports on successful operations against insurgents
-7 hopeful stories about Iraqi elections
-73 describing the return of missing Iraqi antiquities

American Enterprise Institute
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