Jewish World Review April 11, 2003 / 9 Nisan, 5763

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Peace will be a mess


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | DOHA, Qatar The pundits who so confidently predicted the war would be a disaster are now predicting the peace will be a mess. This could be the most hopeful sign possible for the prospects of democracy in Iraq.

If you bought Time magazine for the week of April 7, you could read a story headlined: "Best Laid Plans: The Iraqi Army Has Been Neither Shocked nor Awed. What the Allies Missed and How They Missed It."

In its edition of April 7, Newsweek had a down arrow for Vice President Dick Cheney in its "Conventional Wisdom" box: "Tells 'Meet the Press' before the war, 'We will be greeted as liberators.' An arrogant blunder for the ages."

Newsweek is now backpedalling furiously. On its Web site April 10, there was a new Conventional Wisdom box: "Rumsfeld: Old CW: Orders too few troops to do the job. New CW: Brilliant architect of a flexible war plan."

Time and Newsweek are hardly alone in having been very, very wrong in their war coverage. The New York Times' R.W. "Johnny" Apple has become a reliable indicator of U.S. military success. When Apple writes a "news analysis" warning of a "quagmire," for U.S. forces, victory is nigh. Within two weeks of Apple having written that Afghanistan was becoming another Vietnam, Mazur-I-Sharif fell, and the Taliban collapsed. The liberation of Baghdad occurred only days after Apple's most recent quagmire piece.

In no other profession are there so many smug, arrogant people with so little justification for being arrogant as there are in journalism. Before and during the Iraq war, the punditocracy told us:

(INSERT BULLET) That the war would result in thousands of Coalition casualties and tens of thousands of civilian casualties. At this writing, 130 U.S. and British servicemen have been killed, compared with 300 in the 1991 Gulf war. Unremarked upon by the television commentators is that the areas of Baghdad where ordinary Iraqis work and live show few signs of the "intense" bombing to which the city was subjected.

(INSERT BULLET) That the Republican Guard would fight hard, especially in Baghdad. In fact, most Republican Guard soldiers, like nearly all the soldiers in regular army units, parked their tanks and walked away.

(INSERT BULLET) That Iraqis would resent the presence of American troops. In fact, Iraqis cheered American soldiers and Marines, gave them flowers, gave them kisses, shouted: "Bush good!" (Democrats have got to be relieved that Iraq won't be holding a presidential primary.)

In other words, it is difficult to be more wrong than most journalists have been about this war. But because there is no accountability in journalism, the punditocracy - like drunken drivers who never get a ticket - just careen on to their next collision with reality, oblivious to the damage they have done.

There is an "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" childishness about the question asked almost every day at the Centcom briefing by one nimnal or another about discoveries of weapons of mass destruction. Each day, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, or whoever is briefing, patiently explains that there is a war going on, and that once the war is over, there will be a detailed search for WMD sites. But many journalists here are interpreting the military's failure to put the cart before the horse as "proof" Saddam had no such weapons.

Those who rush to conclude that because the U.S. military has not confirmed yet the discovery of a WMD site means that no such sites exist may soon be as embarrassed as those who rushed to conclude the Coalition war plan was a failure, or that the Republican Guard was the second coming of the Waffen SS.

Carl Prine, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter embedded with the 1st Marine Division, reported Wednesday that Marine combat engineers have discovered at the old Iraqi nuclear site at Al-Tuwaitha, 18 miles south of Baghdad, a massive underground facility that somehow escaped the attention of U.N. weapons inspectors.

"So far, Marine nuclear and intelligence experts have discovered 14 buildings that betray high levels of radiation," Prine wrote. "Some of the readings show nuclear residue too deadly for human occupation."

If a "smoking gun" hasn't yet been discovered, will a glowing gun do?

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

04/08/03: It's a mad, mad (Arab) world
04/03/03: Ah, the life of a war correspondent this time around
04/02/03: The difference between hopes and expectations
03/31/03: Iraq is a steppingstone, not a final stop
03/24/03: European media and former 'human shields' are beginning to get it
03/20/03: Was getting the UN involved worth it?
03/18/03: South Koreans no longer behaving as if they were the French of Northeast Asia --- why?
03/11/03: Ultimatum's moment of truth
03/11/03: Thank you, Turkey, we needed that
03/07/03: The fight against Saddam isn't a distraction from the war on terror --- it's is the main event
03/04/03: Bioterror nightmare approaching --- how it could likely happen
02/27/03: Iranian student: Can America hurry up with Iraq already, so they can get on with attacking us?
02/25/03: Yahoos on both the Left and the Right are trying to prevent government from maximizing technology in protecting us
02/20/03: Anti-war group gets it right about great humanitarian tragedy in last Gulf War
02/18/03: Iraqis: Why are these people marching for tyranny?
02/07/03: French kiss(ed)-off
02/05/03: Does the FBI have the ability to protect us from terrorists already here?
02/03/03: The "Axis of Weasels"
01/29/03: A bit of the jitters
01/27/03: The world's mediocre intelligence agency
01/21/03: By reaffirming GOP opposition to racism, president demonstrates willingness to confront liars
01/16/03: Why the United States should withdraw all of its military forces from South Korea as rapidly as we reasonably can
01/14/03: Federal incompetence driven by political correctness, not trampling of civil liberties, is what we should fear
01/09/03: Bag this boondoggle: The V-22 Osprey would hurt our national defense
01/07/03: Another Korean war?
01/02/03: Ostriches
12/26/02: Learning from Canada's economic suicide
12/24/02: A moral dilemma: Support a vicious fascist dictator or the poor and downtrodden?
12/20/02: Time to tell the truth: The great movement of blacks to the Democratic Party took place for economic reasons, not because of civil rights
12/18/02: Nothing better illustrates Trent Lott's unfitness for the post of Senate Majority Leader than his desperate efforts to cling to it
12/16/02: Debunker mentality: It's hard work not seeing ties between Iraq and al-Qaida
12/12/02: GOP ideologues turning on Lott --- better sacrifice the leader than the party
12/06/02: Curing our democracy of afflictions
12/02/02: Conscription, like the horse cavalry, is an artifact of a bygone time
11/27/02: What Saddam faces
11/25/02: Why war with Iraq can be averted
11/19/02: A draft would harm the military
11/12/02: The 2002 elections and Nixon
11/07/02: Democratic overreaction to our recent "cosmically important" election
10/30/02: Show North Korea we're serious: Polish off Saddam
10/22/02: The squealing in the Pentagon is a proof of Rummy's effectiveness
10/16/02: The tactical challenge we face
10/10/02: Silence more despicable than seditious noise
10/08/02: Bu$h and the bu$ine$$ of war
10/01/02: Gore's calculated risk may well get him the Dems' nomination
09/25/02: Schroeder may find the fruits of victory sour
09/25/02: Making Saddam change his spots
09/19/02: Bush's resolve already has paid dividends
09/17/02: Courageous Iranians
09/13/02: If you never served in the military, you have no right to an opinion
09/10/02: Why the 'air marshals' will fail
09/05/02: Resurrecting the "Happy Darky"
08/31/02: Are Bush's inactions against Iraq calculated?
08/23/02: Dems can't take the minority vote for granted any longer
08/20/02: No proof of Saddam's wrongdoing? Yeah, right
08/15/02: Mineta's war on what?
08/13/02: When Gore said he wanted to be his 'own man,' what was he thinking!?
08/08/02: Picking a tree for Cheney's hanging
08/06/02: Fears about the Department of Homeland Security are misplaced
08/01/02: The greatest strategic deception since Eisenhower convinced Hitler the Allies were going to land at the Pas de Calais?
07/30/02: State Dept.'s anti-American actions
07/26/02: Journalists are making sure Americans can't differentiate between the stock market and the economy
07/23/02: Iran's is on the verge of a social and political explosion. So why is media ignoring it?
07/17/02: FBI isn't supposed to stand for Foolish, Blind and Incompetent
07/12/02: The ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted
07/09/02: Was LA International Airport shooting, in fact, good news?
07/02/02: What the "intelligence community" can learn from Alexander the Great
06/28/02: Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited
06/25/02: A good environmental scare needs two ingredients - an impending catastrophe, and someone to blame for it
06/21/02: Stirring the security pot
06/18/02: Why the military is so messed up
06/14/02: Vast majority $68.7 billion proposed for weapons will be spent on systems of little use in the war on terror
06/12/02: Bush saw them and raised them, and he's holding the aces
06/10/02: Some heads need to roll
06/04/02: A new draft for the 'war on terror'?
05/31/02: So the FBI has finally caught up to our priorities?
05/29/02: Taking on common sense
05/23/02: Political terrorists
05/21/02: There is a great deal to fret about, but I've never been more optimistic
05/15/02: If there is a way for America to lose the war, Gen. Tommy Franks can find it
05/13/02: Impartial justice against Americans by the UN?
05/07/02: Want to win the 'war on terror'? Reinstate the draft
05/03/02: An expanded NATO is needed as a counterweight to the UN and the EU
04/29/02: Islamic 'smarts'
04/26/02: Did Bush play his Aces with Abdullah wisely?
04/23/02: Why peace in the Mideast is closer than ever
04/19/02: What the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank gained from the "peace accords"
04/17/02: Logical Muslim allies
04/10/02: How to guarantee an infinite Mideast war
04/08/02: Saddam's American friends
04/05/02: Arab winners and sinners
04/01/02: Why is the commander of U.S. Central Command not coming clean to the American people?
03/31/02: Dubya under attack by conservatives
03/26/02: Saddam watch coming to an end?
03/21/02: Get the Jews!
03/19/02: It's time pols and gov bureaucrats be held to the same standard of accountability we insist for corporate execs
03/15/02: Khaki Throat
03/12/02: Making foreign cheaters pay
03/08/02: Timidity and indecision by senior American commanders
03/04/02: Why 9-11? Ex-CIA officials come clean
02/25/02: Don't rule out a quick victory --- even if prez says otherwise
02/21/02: Saving our military from itself
02/19/02: Front Page fiction
02/15/02: Our European allies are like the fat kid who wants to play quarterback
02/13/02: Is the Army in danger of becoming "irrelevant"?
02/11/02: So, I "propagate hatred"
02/06/02: Bush whacking the media
02/04/02: Why serious folks disregard the European Union --- and why Bush must, too
01/30/02: Give economy pneumonia in order to protect it from a cold
01/28/02: Media is its own worst enemy
01/25/02: Journalists making road to peace a bumpy ride, or: A case study in stupidity
01/23/02: Toward a stronger defense at a lower cost
01/21/02: How Bush could be Generations X and Y's Kennedy ... and guarantee a GOP victory in the midterm elections

© 2002, Jack Kelly