Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Diminishing Insurgency

All signs are pointing to a significant diminishing of the Iraqi insurgency. After the first week of this month, the casualty rate is the lowest it has been since February for Iraqi security forces and the lowest since May for civilian casualties. The toll is waning with each passing month as Iraqi forces gain control of more of the country. There are signs that Al Zarqawi is also getting desperate. He has today announced the start of an "offensive" that would "shake the ground beneath the feet" of Iraq. So far it has turned out to be bluster just as the warning of a "Great Ramadan Offensive" turned out to be. There was a drive-by shooting of a lawyer involved in the Saddam trial today. Was that the "offensive"? We see things like that every day in LA, California. Car bombs and drive-by shootings are more fitting the tactics of New Jersey gangsters than any kind of military force.

Evidence is also building of a loss of support in the Muslim communities in the Middle East for Al Qaida in Iraq. Demonstrators took to the streets in Morocco to protest the "trial" of two members of that country's diplomatic mission to Iraq. Fatwas were issued damning Al Qaida and it's members to hell if they carried out the threatened executions. Opinion columns in the regional media show little tolerance for Al Zarqawi and his thugs. Influential Sunnis are joining the political process and are talking about bringing peace to the Sunni regions of Iraq. Not today or tomorrow, but as word gets out and as their political engine gets rolling.

The end is near for Al Qaida in Iraq. Expect a "full court press" in the media. Expect to hear things like this from the Seattle Times "Widespread Iraq violence leaves swath of casualties". You will never know from reading the papers that the violence is decreasing every week. You will never learn that the casualty rages are down by double-digit percentages each month. You are going to be lead to believe that the violence is raging uncontrolled leaving a "swath" of casualties all over the countryside. This is irresponsible journalism. If newspapers want to know why their subscriptions are decreasing, maybe they should begin by looking at the accuracy of what they report and they can begin that process by looking at the accuracy of their headlines. Yes, while in a very strict technical sense it might be accurate if you can define "swath" and "widespread" but the overall picture these repeated headlines paint is inaccurate. People who actually dig into the story and look at the numbers know better. This causes a loss of respect for the media outlets when it becomes obvious that the stories are disingenuous. It causes the reader to become more cynical of the stories. That readership should decline under such circumstances is not surprising.

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