One of the favorite topics of discussion in the media and among Iraq war critics is whether or not the Bush administration has properly prosecuted the war, but the topic I have yet to hear discussed is whether or not the anti-war left and the media in America have properly prosecuted their roles during the war in Iraq.
With Bob Woodward’s book, State of Denial, in the news, and the recent declassification of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, the topic of how things are going in Iraq, whether we are more or less safe, and whether or not the action there has led to the recruitment of more terrorists, is a hot topic.
Not being debated, though, is what the status of the war in Iraq might be today if Democrat leaders and the media had conducted themselves differently. If all the successes of American troops in Iraq had been reported as studiously as the setbacks, would terrorists have been able to convince their young, impressionable followers that they were winning? If it were clear to the Iraqi people that politicians in D.C. were committed to finishing the mission in Iraq, would the attitude of the people there be different? If politicians and anti-war activists had not accused our own troops of engaging in torture, and worse, would world opinion, and specifically the opinion of the Iraqi people, be different?
There is no question that statements made by Democrats such as Ted Kennedy, John F. Kerry and John Murtha declaring Iraq a failure and accusing U.S. troops of improper behavior has affected their morale. One only needs to read the milblogs or talk to a soldier or Marine personally to know that. Now more than ever before, deployed U.S. servicemen and women have access to news from home via computer email and satellite television that simply was not available a generation ago. They often know in “real time” when a congressman takes to the floor of the House or Senate to declare our “failure” in Iraq and their opinion that it cannot be won and that the best course of action is to cut and run (pardon me, “redeploy”).
We also know that the people of Iraq, and even the terrorists living in caves in Afghanistan, have access to U.S. and world media. What is not known, but can be somewhat surmised using common sense, is how much the tone and emphasis of anti-American media has affected the morale of the terrorists and aided in their ability to rally followers.