Is this shit fair? Hell no, but it is reality and even the mighty U.S. military cannot redefine reality as it sees fit. We must live and learn, refine, be flexible, get smarter as we go.
Words of wisdom from Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post:
- Last week Arab satellite channels replayed — over and over again, in slow motion, with special graphics and explanatory narration — the videotape of an American Marine appearing to shoot a wounded insurgent inside a mosque in Fallujah. They meanwhile declined to show the tape, made available the same day, of a terrorist firing a bullet into the head of Margaret Hassan, a British humanitarian worker whose abduction outraged many Iraqis.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, called for an investigation of the Marine’s action as well as other alleged instances of U.S. “war crimes” in Fallujah. That the Marine had already been withdrawn from action and an official probe launched did not deter them. Arbour cited — on what basis she did not say — “the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields.” The beheading of Western captives in Fallujah, and the terror imposed on the city’s population by Islamic extremists before the U.S. operation, went unmentioned.
….U.S. commanders could learn something from the Israelis, who, [Israeli journalist Zeev] Schiff says, found out the hard way that “this is not World War II” and that “the legitimization of international public opinion” is needed to fight terrorists successfully. A turning point came in July 2002, when the Israeli air force killed a Hamas leader by demolishing a block of houses in Gaza: Thirteen civilians were killed, and even the Bush White House joined the international chorus of condemnation, calling the attack “heavy-handed.”
Since then, Israel has quietly refined its tactics, developing special warheads that can be placed on small missiles and fired from helicopters, and depending more on foot soldiers than tanks to root out militants in heavily populated areas. Palestinian civilian casualties are down significantly this year. No, Israel is not more popular with al-Jazeera and Amnesty International than it was before. But there are fewer Palestinian families with a terrible grievance to nurse over the death of an innocent. And there is less grisly footage that can be shown to the world, over and over and in slow motion.
I have said all along that a vital purpose of the war in Iraq is as a bold and dramatic show of force to educate our enemies as to the seriousness of our resolve and willingness to use force to protect ourselves and curtail their activities. That part of the project has been amply accomplished.
Now it is time to move on to a far less showy, more targeted and quietly efficient method of dealing with malefactors, as the point is to “win the peace” and help create a functioning democracy in Iraq rather than destroy and enrage as much of the country as possible.
PR is a big part of that war, and those who do not wish us well — such as the mainstream Middle Eastern media and even supposedly “neutral” bodies such as the U.N. as represented by this Arbour assleak — have no compunction about twisting, exaggerating, misrepresenting and outright lying in order to make a point or hold public interest.
We must reduce the supply of fuel for their hate machines, as the Israelis have also had to learn the hard way. Learning from mistakes is a sign of intelligence – let us now be more intelligent.