Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Muzzled Media?

There has long been evidence that our press is muzzled; either voluntarily, by deception, or by coercion. They are lazy and report only what they obtain from “pr flacks,” or they are limited to “spoon fed” news by the administration and/or military media corps, or if they report what the administration does not want reported they “lose access.” I don't know that any of that is true, but I sometimes wonder.

Comparing American news to British is often revealing. Certainly our media is not suggesting that all is well in Iraq, but Baghdad is under siege, in the British publication The Independent gives me pause. No American news is reporting anything even close to this.

“Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.


“Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

“The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.”

The article goes on to portray a U.S. Army rendered helpless by the force diversion to an encircled Baghdad,

“The impotence of US forces to prevent civil war is underlined by the fact that the intense fighting between Sunni and Shia around Balad, north of Baghdad, has raged for a month, although the town is beside one of Iraq's largest American bases. The US forces have done little and when they do act they are seen by the Shia as pursuing a feud against the Mehdi Army.”

Can this be true? Is all of this simply the product of a British reporter’s feverish imagination? If not, if these conditions are accurate, why are our reporters not reporting them?

A major event happened yesterday, which suggests to me that these conditions might be true. As reported here the Army abandoned one of its own to the Mahdi militia on orders of the Iraqi executive. One of our soldiers was captured and, on order of the Iraqi civilian executive, our Army has simply walked away.

This appears to be an Army that is simply no longer in command of the situation because our Army would never, absolutely never, willingly abandon one of its own. If the conditions reported by The Independent actually exist, the Army took down the roadblocks out of military necessity, not due to political consideration of the Iraqi executive.

Is the Bush administration playing a political game that is far more dangerous to our troops than any of us know? Will our reporters “get” these facts on November 8th? Is Iraq in a condition that will take the “cut and run” decision out of this country’s hands?

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