Very long thread here windsofchange.net/archives/005587.php
Good news from Iraq
by Arthur Chrenkoff at September 27, 2004 06:39 AM
Update: Also available from Chrenkoff and the "Opinion Journal", appropriately titled "Post-Totalitarian Stress Disorder." For the original post about the Post-Totalitarian Stress Disorder click here. As always, thanks to James Taranto and Joe Katzman for their support and to all others who spread the news. And if you have any stories for future editions of good news from Iraq, please email goodnewsiraq “at” windsofchange “dot” net.
The past two weeks continued to be tumultuous in Iraq. More hostages taken, more hostages beheaded, more suicide bombings, more sabotage, more fighting, all unfolding against the background of an increasingly bitter Presidential election campaign and a chorus of intelligence experts, politicians and pundits expressing grave doubts about the future of the country.
And then there was the media coverage. In the midst of all the carnage and chaos overflowing the front pages of our newspapers and the TV screens, "Newsweek" chose to run an overview of the current situation in Iraq, titled appropriately "It's Worse Than You Think". Having for quite some time closely followed the mainstream media's reporting from Iraq, it struck me that this is hardly possible.
In the same week that "Newsweek" published its panic attack, the editorial board of a less worldly "Kansas City Star" met up with a group of five Iraqi journalists visiting the United States on a tour organized by the State Department. During the discussion with his Iraqi colleagues E. Thomas McClanahan of the "Star" asked them what they thought about the media coverage of Iraq:
"The response was amusing in a way. Perhaps out of tact, our visitors (they asked that we not use their names) said they hadn't seen much U.S. coverage. Most couldn't speak English. But coverage by the Arab media, they said through translators, presented a distorted picture.
"One member of the group, the only woman, said the pessimistic tone of Arab coverage was making things worse by encouraging terrorists and demoralizing those who supported democracy. Another journalist, a man in a dark suit, said the insurgents 'don't represent the Iraqi people.'
"Arab reporters, said a third, 'try to give the impression that it's hopeless. If you watch the satellite channels from Arab countries you would imagine there's no rebuilding going on'."
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi echoed these sentiments recently when he spoke before the United States Congress: "I have seen some of the images that are being shown here on television. They are disturbing. They focus on the tragedies, such as the brutal and barbaric murder of two American hostages this week... Yet, as we mourn these losses, we must not forget either the progress we are making or what is at stake in Iraq. We are fighting for freedom and democracy, ours and yours. Every day, we strengthen the institutions that will protect our new democracy, and every day, we grow in strength and determination to defeat the terrorists and their barbarism."
There are two Iraqs at the moment; both equally real and consequential. The Iraq of never ending strife - the insurgency, terrorism, crime, and all too slow pace of reconstruction makes for interesting news stories and exciting footage. The Iraq of steady recovery, returning normalcy and a dash of hope rarely does.
By the way, the "Newsweek" story did not mention even one positive development in Iraq. So here is another story - Iraq: "Maybe Not Quite As Bad As You Thought." Read the stories below in addition to - not to the exclusion of - all the bad news. Only by knowing both sides of the story you can make an informed judgment about how things in Iraq are really going.