Monday, March 06, 2006


Washington Post understates problems in Iraq

Nah – just kidding – here’s today’s Washington Post coverage of the goings-on in Iraq:

Iraq Civil War Is Likely Say Most Americans
Washington Post-ABC News poll finds sharp decline in optimism about the Iraq War.
Richard Morin 7:09 a.m. ET
War Leaves Scarred Psyches in Iraq
Iraq Sets Date for New Parliament to Meet

Iraq Civil War Is Likely Say Most Americans
This survey is probably good news at the Post, NY Times and other large media outlets because it indicates that the people believe what they are hearing from the Post, NY Times and other large media outlets. While the mood of Americans is certainly a political factor to be accounted for, it is, at best, only a tangential factor in whether Iraq actually does go to a civil war….of as much significance as who the public thinks will win the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament. And the bottom of the three headlines, I think, indicates that all is not lost in Iraq.

Oh, by the way, “only one in six favored immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.”

War Leaves Scarred Psyches in Iraq
Note: not “Wars” but “War”…..then you read the opening paragraph of the article:

“More than 25 years after Saddam Hussein's rise to power ushered in a period of virtually uninterrupted trauma -- three wars, crippling economic sanctions and now a violent insurgency -- the psychological damage to many Iraqis is only now being assessed, psychiatrists and government officials here say.”

So there is a little more going on here than just -A- war leaving “scarred psyches.” Reading further, you are reminded of the 1,000 dead after a religious procession went awry last August. You are reminded that of the “three wars”, one was “the brutal conflict that consumed nearly a million lives during the 1980s” and lasted eight years (with Iran).

Of course, there are the obligatory references to a “U.S. led invasion” but the article does not specifically point out (so I will) that of the 25 years referenced, the US-involved wars account for less than 2% of the time. Yet stuck in the middle of the article is this “alarming” factoid:

“Most alarming, according to the physicians who analyzed the data, was that exposure to trauma has grown dramatically more common since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The people in the study recalled 3,504 violent incidents between 1979, when Hussein came to power, and 2003. Since the invasion, they have recorded 6,463.”

I did not denote a hint of incredulity from the Post writers on this so I’m going to assume they accepted this at face value. A nation goes through eight years of war with Iran consuming hundreds of thousands of lives, thousands more Iraqis are killed by their own government and yet somehow this random study found the people for whom trauma exposure has gone epidemic only in the last several years. Although the “U.S.-led invasion” is the marking point for this dramatic increase in trauma exposure, I’m going to guess that it’s not Americans that actually performed the violent incidents observed – if only because I believe the Post would have highlighted this fact in a banner headline had that been the case. I’m also going to guess there weren’t a lot of Kurds in that survey.

The Iraqis have gone through a lot as a result of Saddam’s reign, no doubt leaving countless “scarred psyches” in its wake. But, please, the overwhelming-bordering-on-near-complete majority of these are as a result of Iraqi-on-Iraqi, Iranian-on-Iraqi and Radical Islamist-on-Iraqi incidents of trauma-inducing violence.

Maybe if we let Sen. Edward Kennedy go over there and use "harsh" language, all the problems might go away!
my non-sports-related low point of college was Sen. Kennedy as my graduation speaker...
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