Information Warfare: June 23, 2005

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The war in Iraq is made more difficult because good news isnt news. That means most of what you hear in the media is negative, giving voters an inaccurate picture of what's going on over there. For example, opinion surveys covering about 80 percent of the population (mostly Kurds and Shia Arabs), shows that 90 percent are hopeful for the future, and believe that things will get better slowly. However, 37 percent felt their life was better before the war, and 77 fear for their safety, and that of their family. Heavily Sunni Arab areas in western Iraq were not surveyed because of safety concerns. The Sunni Arab terrorists do not like people who conduct opinion surveys. However, surveys of Sunni Arabs elsewhere have shown those feeling optimistic has risen from less than 20 percent to 40 percent, in the last year, and is still going up. 

While security an important issue to most Iraqis, most of them do not live in war zones, or high crime areas. When asked what problems they want the government to address, the list comes out like this;

1. Inadequate electricity
2. Unemployment
3. Healthcare
4. Crime
5. National Security
6. High prices
7. Presence of coalition forces
8. Terrorists
9. Drafting of a constitution
10. Lack of adequate housing


Iraqis see coalition troops more often than they encounter terrorists, and find the violence from common criminals to be more of a threat than the that delivered by terrorists. A late 2004 survey showed that 77.5 percent of the population had not experienced any violence in the past year. For the average Iraqi, electricity, jobs and healthcare are daily concerns. Unemployment, or underemployment, affects about half the population.

But foreign media does not report what Iraqis experience, but what news editors feel would attract the most attention from potential readers and viewers. Thus the American media is full of gloom and doom reporting. The reality is quite different, and American military commanders are caught between what is real, and what is news.

 


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