One thing about the Internet is that the increase in speed by which
information is spread across the globe. This can cut both ways. Not only can
the American debates be spread across the globe, where certain statements can
give al Qaeda and its allies encouragement. News of events, as well as al
Qaeda's statements, can make its way around the world as well. This means
that it is far more possible to get a wider picture of what is going on by
yourself, rather relying on what the than the mainstream media provides
in thirty-minute newscasts or on the front page of a newspaper.
media has increasingly become a battlefield in the war on terror. In the past
two months, the Iraqi hostiles have increased their efforts to shoot down
helicopters. Such attacks, which can kill as many as a dozen Americans in a
single attack, are intended to make a big media splash. The enemy has sought to
generate media coverage in order to weaken the will of the American people.
This is what happened with the crashed helicopters in Somalia after the 1993
firefight. The media coverage of two shot-down Blackhawk helicopters, and dead
American troops being dragged through Somalian streets, was what forced the
pullout. In reality, the American troops had won a tactical victory in the 18-hour
recent example of what has led to this frustration with the media coverage from
Iraq is the latest tape from Ayman al Zawahiri, the number two man in al Qaeda.
Zawahiri's tape not only carried personal shots at President Bush, it also had
comments directed towards the Democrats, reminding them of their opposition to
American efforts in Iraq. The fact that Zawahiri is calling out the Democrats
does indicate a sense of nervousness about the American " surge"
(21,000 additional troops in Iraq) and changes in the rules of
engagement. At the same time, the media seems to be glossing over this fact.
tape by Zawahiri leads to another question: Are the changes in the rules of
engagement and the deployment of additional troops working? Again, reports
ignored by the mainstream media can answer the question. Moqtada al Sadr. and
senior elements of his Mahdi militia, have apparently fled to Iran to avoid
capture or being killed. Also largely ignored is the fact that many people in
Baghdad have welcomed the surge. One would think that much of this would be
relevant to the recent debate over the non-binding resolution in Congress. But
it doesn't appear, and is ignored, as many other signs of progress have been
over the nearly four years since the start of the war.
other event filtering through the blogosphere are reports of insurgents using
Iranian provided weapons, including SA-14 missiles. The briefing by military
personnel in Iraq covering some of this Iranian equipment was ignored by many
media outlets, as was the capture of Iranian Quds Force personnel aiding Iraqi
terrorists against the United States. Recently, Austrian sniper rifles, that
Iranian police acquired to combat drug trafficking, have been recovered from
terrorists in Iraq. Again, the media seems to be either brushing this off, or
actually siding with the Iranians (one New York Times editorial claimed Iran
was being bullied).
of this has led to frustration building among the blogosphere. Already, one
military blogger is attempting to put together a "body count" of dead
insurgents and terrorists. This would try to give people a sense of making
progress in Iraq. At the same time, as the Internet is spreading news about the
debate and efforts in Congress to micromanage the war. - Harold C. Hutchison