Administration adults vs. media snipers

Posted: Apr 02, 2003 12:00 AM

 Sorry, but I'm compelled to talk about the media war critics again. I won't quit fairly criticizing them until they quit unfairly and dishonestly criticizing the American war effort.

 As soon as the war started, many of the usual suspects pretended to adopt a cease-fire in their attacks on the Bush administration and the coalition invasion of Iraq on the premise that once at war they would support the troops. But no sooner than they implemented their pseudo-moratorium did they start right back up again -- at the administration's first sign of vulnerability in the prosecution of the war.

 They shifted their criticism from opposing the war itself to second guessing our conduct of the war. Their complaints? Well, the war didn't end in the first week, all Iraqi citizens didn't automatically defect to our side immediately, and certain unnamed sources in the Pentagon along with a handful of retired generals said we had too few forces on the ground.

 It's hard not to get a sense that these media naysayers delight in finding fault with the coalition's progress in the war. I'm not just talking about Peter Arnett, who plainly sympathized with the enemy on enemy TV in enemy territory. While NBC executives finally fired him over it, don't overlook their initial statement supporting him, explaining that he did the interview as a professional courtesy to Iraqi TV -- as if that's exculpatory -- and that his comments "were analytical in nature and were not intended to be anything more." I don't know about you, but I didn't need to wait for public opinion poll results to know how I stood on Arnett's despicable, inexcusable, egomaniacal tirade.

 Have you seen the venom flowing from the New York Times editorial page, which can barely contain its animus toward the administration? How about Times reporter Maureen Dowd, whose antipathy for President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld is so palpable she doesn't even bother to sound professional about it? (FYI, she earned her war-analysis credentials when she questioned, in her Oct. 28, 2001 column, whether we were getting bogged down in a quagmire in Afghanistan.) With sneering contempt and insolence, she charges that "Rummy's" war plan is incoherent.

 These people really are something to behold, armchair quarterbacking the administration and the Pentagon as if we are losing this war. They keep telling us we underestimated the Iraqi resistance, but that's utter nonsense. As Secretary Rumsfeld has said repeatedly, we had no way of knowing for sure what the enemy would do. There's a difference between underestimating resistance and not being prepared for it. We have been prepared for every contingency, including the terrorist-style attacks on our supply lines, and in every case we have responded masterfully.

 They also say we overestimated how many Iraqis would defect. We may have hoped they'd defect, but we didn't count on it. (Indeed many more doubtlessly would have, but for the regime's guns at their heads.)

 Media naysayers insist that Rumsfeld, against the advice of everyone else in the Pentagon and the administration, rejected six previous plans and implemented his own reckless plan with insufficient forces. Rumsfeld denies that outright, saying this is General Tommy Franks's plan, but that everyone in the command loop approved it. I'll take Rumsfeld's word -- any day -- over theirs and their unnamed sources.

 Besides, what incentive would Rumsfeld have for distancing himself from the plan? What evidence would the detractors point to that we are failing after a week and a half or that we are short on troops?

 That we've suffered so few casualties? That Saddam and his sons may be dead? That we've traversed over 300 miles into enemy territory to surround Baghdad? That we've degraded the Republican Guard by half through air attacks in preparation for our entry into the city? That we've taken over the oil fields? That our patriot missiles have shot down all but one of the enemy's missiles? That Israel hasn't been attacked? That we've captured over 4,000 prisoners. That we have air dominance over 95 percent of Iraq? That we've taken over Iraqi airfields from which we can launch continuous sorties from close range? That our precision-guided weapons are hitting their targets with minimal civilian casualties? That we have no refugee problem like with Gulf War I as a direct result of astute military planning? That we've avoided a humanitarian crisis?

 I'm sleeping well knowing that mature adults are running this war and that the American people aren't swallowing this mainstream media propaganda.