Sunday, October 22, 2006

Iraq: Perception Vs. Reality

In the latest Newsweek poll, by a 65-25% margin, Americans say we are losing ground in Iraq.

Imagine how those 1-in-4, who think we're making progress, would feel if they actually got a glimpse of day-to-day life there?

In today's Christian Science Monitor, a story that referred to a new 2-year high in violence in Iraq had this grim assessment from a Shiite contractor, who needs 6 bodyguards to accompany him to work,
"I've never seen a situation like this. We have killings, people fleeing our neighborhoods, joblessness and the government has no control. They're completely failing."

One of the best Iraqi blogs, A Star from Mosul, is written by an 18-year old Iraqi girl. Her most recent entry is from Thursday. 'Aunt Najma' writes,
Mosul is a mess today.. I woke up late today to know that a fuel tanker exploded near the university: A place full of people and shops and cars waiting in the long gas station line, with a police station nearby.

In the meanwhile, two big explosion happened in my neighborhood today. Many explosions and shooting in several other areas. A total of six car bombs as reported in the news..

In the most sacred month, most sacred day, some people have the heart to kill and orphan and widow.

At least 12 families in Mosul will have sorrow and sadness in Eid, instead of happiness, because someone decided to kill himself in a way many won't forget..

I have been unable to write any post that relates to the situation for a long time now.. I think I am in denial. I am not watching the news, and when I happen to watch: at least 50 people are reported to be killed.. and I do not really seem to care.

I only shed a tear when I hear of security, of safety.. or of the many Iraqis who have left Iraq.. I do not know why.

Speaking of denial, The Washington Times today, reported on the president's Saturday radio address,
President Bush yesterday acknowledged that U.S. commanders are changing tactics in Iraq nearly every day but declared that the mission "is clear and unchanging."

"Our goal," he said, "is victory."

And later,
Mr. Bush vehemently rejected pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.

"There is one thing we will not do: We will not pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," he said. "There are some in Washington who argue that retreating from Iraq would make us safer. I disagree."

Putting aside what 'victory' in Bushspeak means, what about the Iraqi people? What has become of their quality of life? When journalists and politicians dare not venture outside of the green zone bubble to effectively communicate the living hell that Iraq has become, is it any wonder that there is still a significant number of people who don't get what is happening there?

In the Newsweek poll I referred to, 39% of respondents still feel America did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, and 7% were unsure.

How anybody could read these accounts and still feel that way is hard to fathom.

Obviously, if one ignores reality, they are more likely to maintain a belief system based upon illusion.

Having a news media that, partially due to their own safety concerns, has not portrayed the true picture of life in Iraq, does not help.

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