Tuesday, November 08, 2005
So, I thought, why, exactly, is Bush getting such a bad rap on the Iraq war and US policies in general? While the Bush administration has made many mistakes in Irqaq, particularly in "winning the peace," I think they've finally gotten their act together. It's pretty clear to anyone who actually pays attention to what's going on that those like Cindy Sheehan and Colleen Rowley (MN Congressional candidate) who cry, "We can't win!" are reflecting their own ideology a lot more than the reality on the ground. The main reason, in my view, that the Iraq war is viewed so negatively is that the New York Times, the LA Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, AP and Reuters have from the beginning marched in lockstep in reporting only the bad news. That theme has been echoed around the world and the vast majority of people have heard, read and seen nothing else, almost since September 11.
In response, the Bush administration has been Casper Milquetoast, saying little in its own defense, and doing almost nothing to educate people about what's going on, the successes it has achieved, and its goals. Bush himself has finally gotten around to identifying the enemy--it's not "terror" (as in, "The Global War On Terror"), it's Islamofascist terrorists. He could do a lot more, and should have been doing so since day one, to clarify what we as a society are facing, and what we need to do to win the struggle.
One of the best things Bush said, early on, was that the struggle will last years, maybe decades. He's right, because it's pretty difficult to change the mind of religious fanatics. Unfortunately, the kind of secularism that constitutes religion for most in the West, and almost everyone in Europe, doesn't lend itself well to fanaticism, so the West is still rather blase about Islamofascism. It'll take a catastrophe like September 11, maybe several such catastrophes, before most people wake up to reality. France may be on the threshold of such a catastrophe, but it's unclear whether the French will react before it's too late.
As for the lamestream media, I don't think that foundationally they're ideological about the struggle between Islamofascism and liberal western society--they just want to sell papers/TV ads, and they don't want to appear to be in the politicians' pockets. Hence the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. Also, most people who have entered the journalism profession since Watergate in the early 1970s have been both indoctrinated by leftist professors in J-school and have secret dreams of being the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein. In combination, these two factors have created a media establishment that naturally opposes any Republican administration. What is interesting is that the media obviously believe that Western society will ultimately triumph despite their naysaying, because it is clear from examples like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia that there will be no such thing as a free press in the New Caliphate.
Bottom line, we need to defeat Islamofascism, the sooner the better. We cannot remain complacent, because if we do, our grandchildren will be facing Mecca while praying five times a day. Bush needs to hammer the message home with an all-out media campaign to rival anything that Madison Avenue has ever come up with, or we will keep hitting our societal snooze button until the cost of victory, if achievable at all, will be measured in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives.
UPDATE 20051111: Stephen Green addresses the media issue in a long post at his Vodkapundit blog. He does it much better than I.