February 13, 2006
Unreported History in Baghdad

By Lieutenant Colonel John M. Kanaley

The silence was deafening and the seats were empty. The western press was nowhere to be found. The location was Baghdad and the event was a February 10th, 2006 press conference announcing the final verification of December's election results. Although the final allocation of parliamentary seats did not change from last month's tentative reports, the conference was nonetheless significant for American and Iraqi history. What was equally significant was the absence of members of the western press.

If the pre-release of the topics to be discussed included reports of widespread voter fraud, complaints by detained terrorists of maltreatment, or a sudden clamoring for the return of the deadly former dictator, certainly, the major news networks and the print media would have found time to attend. Of course, their reports would have consisted of their own perceived failure of western style elections in a part of the world that they deem to be unprepared for democracy. Since they were unable to report a "disastrous" event of this war, apparently, their budgets did not allow for attendance in Baghdad.

The true significance of this announcement is the underlying theme which the anti-war crowd refuses to recognize: the war has been successful and there is verifiable progress within the country of Iraq. Not only did we defeat a murderous despot, we have gained an ally in the war against terrorism. Just three short years ago, these same people were being terrorized by a vicious regime whose primary responsibility was supposed to be to protect its own citizens. After being victims of this brutal state, free Iraqis are now fighting their former oppressors who consist of remnants of the Ba'ath Party and the foreign terrorists who have taken it upon themselves to determine what is best for the Iraqi people.

What is feeding the success of the Iraqis is that they are fighting for a legitimately elected government which they now have a genuine part in. No longer are they forced to support the narcissistic and sadistic ways of a tyrant. Instead, Iraqis learned at this press conference that their efforts to defeat terrorism through the ballot box have been legitimized by local and international organizations. Now, the business of forming the government begins.

It is said that success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. In the pessimistic world of the western press and the anti-war left, they continually turn their backs on momentous accomplishments while simultaneously failing to acknowledge this turning point in the defense of freedom. The press never hesitates to report on the so-called surges of attacks in Iraq. Logically speaking, if there is a surge at any given point, then there must have been a previous decrease in attacks as well, yet, that is never reported.

True, there are peaks and valleys in the number of attacks. What is not reported when these supposed surges take place is the failure of most of the attacks. The bombings and shootings have not adversely affected operations, they have not disrupted our logistics, nor have they resulted in the enemy gaining one inch of territory. More importantly, they have not hindered the desire of the Iraqis to continue on with everyday life, despite the attempts of the terrorists to target innocent civilians. Yet, the intensity and constant reporting of every negative occurrence in Baghdad would lead one to believe that we have walked into the shadow of death from which there is no return.

An example of the failure to report on the importance of this success was demonstrated at the conclusion of the press conference. Several hours later, the only related news on CNN International were reports of two bombings in Iraq and the all important notice from Cindi Sheehan that she will not run for the Senate and send Diane Feinstein into retirement.

At a time when American troops deserve a good headline in the major newspapers or a positive top-of-the-hour news flash on the network stations, the press and the left instead continue to focus on more mundane topics of discussion. This is the beginning of the most pivotal year in this war, and once again, the mainstream media finds itself on the wrong side of history.

John M. Kanaley is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. He serves in Baghdad, Iraq.

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John M. Kanaley

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