Soldier's perspective of civil unrest in Iraq
What they experienced was more complex than the war they saw on television and in print. It was dangerous and confused, yes, but most of the vets also recalled enemies routed, buildings built and children befriended, against long odds in a poor and demoralized country. "We feel like we're doing something, and then we look at the news and you feel like you're getting bashed." "It seems to me the media had a predetermined script." The vibe of the coverage is just "so, so, so negative."
An email I got today from a friend deployed to Baghdad, Iraq right now echoed this sentiment:
There is not a whole lot going on here in Iraq; some people would be disappointed to hear me say that American nightly news is full of sh*t with all its doom and gloom prophecies. Even though some battalions feel they're doing a lot, the truth is they're only running 3/4 the missions we were 2 years ago. Iraqi police dot every major intersection and they run as many patrols as Americans do. So, the situation has de-escalated substantially from the JUN 04 era.
I always find emails from him interesting, because it offers another piece of the puzzle to what is going on there. I have read many soldiers' blogs stating the same: that they aren't seeing the civil unrest that they are hearing about on the news.
However, the tens of dead bodies that are turning up in Baghdad aren't a figment of the collective media's imagination.
Just as the main-stream media's reports have their limitations (reporters aren't getting that close to the action), the fact that he and other soldiers aren't seeing a lot of the carnage that is going on right now, doesn't mean it isn't happening, it just means it's not as wide spread as media coverage would lead us to believe. It also means that the Iraqi Army and police are dealing with the unrest, and not American soldiers, which is, in my humble opinion, a step in the right direction.