Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Manufacturing a Cronkite Moment

There's no dearth of bad news that is reported from Iraq. Many of the field reporters who give us up-to-the-minute updates are never at a loss to report how many Americans were wounded or killed today, or how many IEDs (improvised explosive device) were blown up, or how many Iraqi civilians were killed. We never see any stories about how many bad guys got bagged this past week, or how a new electrical power station or water treatment plant went online. We're never bothered by those trite little stories about kids going back to school, communities being rebuilt, or the Iraqi economy slowly but surely chugging into motion. In fact, if one didn't know any better, one would think that Iraq is misery and nothing besides. Only good guys die there, and only everything America touches ever turns to pot. Evil flourishes. It is a black hole.

In fact, that is precisely what CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour said this week. Amanpour is one of a gaggle of correspondents who have taken to referring to Iraq as a quagmire, a hopeless situation, a cauldron of bloodshed with no end.

Why is it that the men and women doing the actual fighting don't see it that way? Could it be because these correspondents are getting caught up in the drama? Most likely, yes. Our reporters are movie stars these days. They're entertainers who wax poetic about the sorry state of affairs, hoping to hit that magic mark that will be recorded for all time, like when Walter Cronkite supposedly single-handedly changed our strategy in Vietnam when he said that the war was unwinable after the Tet Offensive. Of course, the truth was a lot more complicated than that.

And the truth of what is taking place in Iraq is quite underreported. No one ever said it would be easy. No one ever said it would be short. So, why when it turns out to be neither, is the Left so surprised? Could it be because they're impatient for victory? Or is it because they are impatient for failure? Only they truly know.

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