28. November 2005 · Comments Off on Winning The Media Battle · Categories: GWOT, Iraq, Military

This from Mark Sappenfield at CSM:

BROOK PARK, OHIO – Cpl. Stan Mayer has seen the worst of war. In the leaves of his photo album, there are casual memorials to the cost of the Iraq conflict – candid portraits of friends who never came home and graphic pictures of how insurgent bombs have shredded steel and bone.

Yet the Iraq of Corporal Mayer’s memory is not solely a place of death and loss. It is also a place of hope. It is the hope of the town of Hit, which he saw transform from an insurgent stronghold to a place where kids played on Marine trucks. It is the hope of villagers who whispered where roadside bombs were hidden. But most of all, it is the hope he saw in a young Iraqi girl who loved pens and Oreo cookies.

Like many soldiers and marines returning from Iraq, Mayer looks at the bleak portrayal of the war at home with perplexity – if not annoyance. It is a perception gap that has put the military and media at odds, as troops complain that the media care only about death tolls, while the media counter that their job is to look at the broader picture, not through the soda straw of troops’ individual experiences.

Yet as perceptions about Iraq have neared a tipping point in Congress, some soldiers and marines worry that their own stories are being lost in the cacophony of terror and fear. They acknowledge that their experience is just that – one person’s experience in one corner of a war-torn country. Yet amid the terrible scenes of reckless hate and lives lost, many members of one of the hardest-hit units insist that they saw at least the spark of progress.

Of course, The Christian Science Monitor isn’t The New York Times. But it’s a start.

I’m confident that it won’t take much to overcome the liberal “quagmire” meme, as it is, and always has been, written on tissue paper. Further, the American people have never shied away from sacrificing blood and treasure in the name of liberty – so long as they can be assured that progress is being made. Indeed, had those 2,100 lives been lost on the initial push to Baghdad, we still would have reveled at how “easily” we had accomplished the initial mission. It’s been the daily trickle of death – with no reported signs of progress – which has demoralized the general public.

Hat Tip: InstaPundit

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