Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Ralph Peters Tells It Straight

Blog ettiquette notwithstanding, Ralph Peters has an op-ed in the New York Post that's important enough to quote in full. So here goes (with some emphasis added). Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds.


March 1, 2006 -- The reporting out of Baghdad continues to be hysterical and dishonest. There is no civil war in the streets. None. Period.

Terrorism, yes. Civil war, no. Clear enough?

Yesterday, I crisscrossed Baghdad, visiting communities on both banks of the Tigris and logging at least 25 miles on the streets. With the weekend curfew lifted, I saw traffic jams, booming business — and everyday life in abundance.

Yes, there were bombings yesterday. The terrorists won't give up on their dream of sectional strife, and know they can count on allies in the media as long as they keep the images of carnage coming. They'll keep on bombing. But Baghdad isn't London during the Blitz, and certainly not New York on 9/11.

It's more like a city suffering a minor, but deadly epidemic. As in an epidemic, no one knows who will be stricken. Rich or poor, soldier or civilian, Iraqi or foreigner. But life goes on. No one's fleeing the Black Death — or the plague of terror.

And the people here have been impressed that their government reacted effectively to last week's strife, that their soldiers and police brought order to the streets. The transition is working.

Most Iraqis want better government, better lives — and democracy. It is contagious, after all. Come on over. Talk to them. Watch them risk their lives every day to work with us or with their government to build their own future.

Oh, the attacks will continue. They're even predictable, if not always preventable. Driving through Baghdad's Kerada Peninsula District, my humvee passed long gas lines as people waited to fill their tanks in the wake of the curfew. I commented to the officer giving me a lift that the dense lines of cars and packed gas stations offered great targets to the terrorists. An hour later, one was hit with a car bomb.

The bombing made headlines (and a news photographer just
happened to be on the scene). Here in Baghdad, it just made the average Iraqis hate the terrorists even more.

You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. Just give 'em the Bronx cheer.

And a hearty thanks to Mr. Peters -- first, for going to see for himself, and second, for his willingness to buck the majority of his colleagues with his reporting.

UPDATE: He just doesn't quit, does he? His March 5th op-ed is called "Dude, Where's My Civil War?" --
I'm trying. I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.

Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills.

And riding around with the U.S. Army, looking at things first-hand, is certainly a technique to which The New York Times wouldn't stoop in such an hour of crisis.

Let me tell you what I saw anyway...
He doesn't pull his punches; when he sees American troops or Iraqi police unites doing a poor job, he says so. But he's clearly disgusted with American journalists reporting the opposite of what he sees -- either because they're not there to see it, or because they have a different agenda.

Funny, I thought the idea was to report The Facts, so that the American people could decide for themselves how they feel about what's going on. Could it be that some people don't want the American public to figure out their own feelings about current events? In particular, all those misguided people who didn't have the sense to vote the correct way in 2004?

Not that I think the Democrats are being deliberately dishonest, mind you. But it's funny -- whenever I hear complaints about how stupid Americans are, and how they need to be guided carefully down the right path to protect them from their stupidity, the speaker is always a Democrat.

I think Andy Rooney said it best, back when Carter was running against Reagan. Democrats believe that people are basically good, but need to be saved from themselves by their government. Republicans believe that people are basically bad, but they'll be okay if you leave them alone.


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