The news couldn't be worse.
When even The Washington Post admits that the U.S. is ... gasp ... beginning to win the war against al-Qaida in Iraq, it's time to hang out the mourning crepe on the doors of the Democratic National Committee, The New York Times, NBC, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media.
They must be reeling with shock. After all, didn't Sen. Harry Reid assure the nation that we're losing the war in Iraq? Haven't all those weak kneed liberals running in the Democratic presidential nomination race who have been demanding that we get out of Iraq now based their case on the belief that we're getting our ears pinned back? And of course, there is the media which has nothing less than a vested interest in seeing the U.S. forced into a humiliating retreat from Iraq in the face of a victorious al-Qaida.
Their newsrooms must resemble a wake as they contemplate the meaning of it all. There is, of course, a fall back position for them as they scramble to absorb the unthinkable. Denial of the obvious.
CBS Iraq-based Lara Logan unashamedly displayed this tactic on Jay Leno's show Monday night when she told her host "We're doing extremely badly, from my point of view. I was asked if I felt any guilt for the fact that the world has an impression of the war in Iraq as being very bad and going very wrong? And I said I really don't because I can't imagine the last time anyone saw a dead American soldier. We've hidden that from view. Nobody knows what that looks like and I've seen plenty of it. It's much worse than the picture, the image we even have of Iraq."
She didn't ask about when it was that anyone has seen a dead al-Qaida terrorist. They have died by the thousands but we don't read hear about that from Miss Logan or her colleagues.
The Democratic response to the news that al-Qaida is on the run, with their former Iraqi allies now turning against them and fighting alongside our troops has yet to become obvious. Denial is a probable option for them.
Right now it's pretty much silence but that won't last long. The moment even the tiniest bit of bad news comes from the front, Harry Reid will be there at the microphones bragging that he told us so.
Both the Democrats and their media allies have put all their chips on a defeat in Iraq. Their entire 2008 campaign strategy has been based on the public's unfavorable reaction to the war. Their confidence that they can hang on to control of the Congress has rested on the belief that things can get only worse in Iraq.
The news that the surge is working is the worst kind of threat to those hopes. It's the media, however, that now stands exposed as the purveyor of manufactured bad news about Iraq.
They universally rejoiced when retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez bitterly criticized the administration's handling of the war. Headlines blared his charges on that score; TV news broadcasts led with his assertions. But when it came to reporting what he said about the media, there was only silence.
Sanchez opened his speech to a gathering of journalists by saying that he regretted how "tactically insignificant events have become strategic defeats for America because of the tremendous power and impact of the media," according to the Media Research Council.
He charged that that reporters "are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our service members who are at war." He also charged: "For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases, and agendas."
Much of his anger was directed at the reporting of the Abu Ghraib scandal which the media leapt upon, using it as one of their cudgels to hammer home their anti-war sentiments. Sanchez could have expanded on this theme. The media has not hesitated to exploit incidents of atrocities allegedly committed by our troops, even when the facts dispute the charges.
One of the worst examples of this tendency of the media to believe the worst about the men and women who are risking life and limb in a war against an enemy sworn to destroy us has been the case of Haditha, where a small group of heroic United States Marines were ambushed by insurgents who used civilians as human shields resulting in their deaths in the ensuing crossfire.
With only the word of a deceptive Time magazine article based entirely on propaganda fed to them by insurgent agents, and the word of an anti-war congressman, newspapers all across the world called the incident a "massacre" and compared it to Mai Lai.
Nobody bothered to dig into the story for the truth. Newspapers became conduits for leaks fed to them by anonymous sources with an ax to grind. Newsmax took the trouble to investigate, and very early in the game, with the help and guidance people who were there, told the whole story, which exonerated the Marines.
Now that one after another of the accused Marines has been exonerated, some in the media insist that they were right all along despite the evidence, and that the Marine Corps is involved in a cover up. That's how they react to this piece of bad news, and how they will react to the news that we are winning in Iraq.
It's going to be interesting to see what their reaction will be when we have gotten our hands on Osama bin Laden and dismantled al-Qaida, especially if it happens before the 2008 elections.
They'll be suicidal.
Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist and World War II Marine who writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s.
He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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