The U.S. War in Iraq: My View (the Media)

By | February 1, 2017

[February 1, 2017]  This is my fifth and last in a series on my personal views of the War in Iraq.  The years 2005-2006 were the formative years after our invasion of the country and much of the perspective of the U.S. military was formed during that time.  We all were closely involved daily with ordinary Iraqis, hometown folks, reporters, politicians, and of course close contact with terrorists.

It is not to be unexpected that I also had frequent contact with journalists, reporters, and those from other forms of – what I will call – the media.  I gave several talks about “the media” at several conferences from Kiwanis Clubs to university campuses.  My intent was to carry the word to those who would listen that the news coming out of Iraq was inaccurate and purposefully distorted.  I was quickly to discover that the media was at best dishonest.  Here is view, taken directly from one of my talks:

REPORTERS FOR THE MEDIA:  I’m not going to waste much of your time about these people.  Here I’m talking about the large media like CNN, Al-Jazerra, ABC, MSNBC, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe – not the local news channel like Scranton’s WNEP-TV 16. 

This media are largely the same.  I put these mass media guys in the same class as terrorists: they are cowards.  At least you can trust that the terrorist will try to kill you.  These [Western] “reporters” stayed in the Baghdad Hotel (Al-Rashid Hotel) and videotaped from the roof and wrote their stories in their hotel room.  That is why you see generally the same scene from Iraq when you see people like Dan Rather on ABC. 

They use the telephone to get the news.  They never leave the hotel.  They may be cowards but, unlike the terrorists, they are not stupid. 

They have an agenda and that agenda is based on political-correctness.  This means that it’s okay to criticize the most minor problem for the U.S. military but totally ignore the targeting of children by terrorists.  The picture being painted about Iraq is that it is a dangerous Hobbesian hellhole.  Well, let me say from experience, that is not the case and has not been the case since the invasion. 

The reporters selectively give you only what they want to portray; a nation in chaos.  While there are problems, Iraq is not in chaos.   If the facts don’t fit their perspective, they show only what it takes to support their distorted view. 

The number of small businesses popping up is amazing.  The number of cars on the road ballooned to ten-times while I was there.  And the crime rate is less than Washington DC.  Iraqis will talk with you. 

The cultural barrier is easily overcome by simply trying to speak their language.  I found this to be the case anywhere in the world.  I’ll give you an example.  CNN reported in May 2004 that the amount of electricity to Iraqis in Baghdad was below pre-war levels.  CNN reported that the U.S. could not even match Saddam’s level of electricity and thus were not competent. 

The truth however, was that Saddam denied electricity to nearly all the villages outside of Baghdad because they were mostly Shiite Muslims.  When we took over, we distributed the electricity fairly to everyone on the electric grid.  This took power from Baghdad and moved much of it into the outlying areas.  While the amount of electricity produced has exceeded pre-war levels, CNN failed to report the whole story and thus pushed a PC agenda. 

When things get dangerous, the reporters will literally RUN to U.S. forces to protect them.  Seems ironic.

This is the last in the leadership blog posts on this subject of the War in Iraq.  I hope you learned a little from the five-part series.  The only subject I didn’t cover was the contractors.  Remember when reading and seeing the news that there will be a bias and it’s usually anti-American regardless the source.

Here are the links to the previous posts:

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.