As The Times reports on the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq, reporter Gerard Baker begins his story by quoting the famous statement by World War I Allied commander Marshal Foch,
"My centre is giving way. My right is in retreat. Situation excellent. I shall attack!”
If only our political leaders and opinion-formers displayed even a hint of the defiant resilience that carried Marshal Foch to victory at the Battle of the Marne. But these days timorous defeatism is on the march. In Britain setbacks in the Afghan war are greeted as harbingers of inevitable defeat. In America, large swaths of the political class continues to insist Iraq is a lost cause. The consensus in much of the West is that the War on Terror is unwinnable.
And yet the evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat. The current mood on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, represents a kind of curious inversion of the great French soldier's dictum: “Success against the Taleban. Enemy giving way in Iraq. Al-Qaeda on the run. Situation dire. Let's retreat!”
This is undeniably true. As the Times points out, since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Islamic forces have been denied their safe home base. And with the removal of Iraq from the ranks of terror-supporting states, the Islamic forces have been handily defeated in engagement after engagement, losing their warriors by the score, as opposed to the much smaller Allied losses. Yet our media has refused to acknowledge this- instead simply reducing coverage as it becomes clear even to the anti-American reporters in the New York Times that the Islamic forces are losing. And the Times does not spare its criticism of the Western media's compliance in allowing the Islamic aggressors to appear far more successful than in fact they are, writing bluntly,
There ought to be no surprise here. It's only their apologists in the Western media who really failed to see the intrinsic evil of Islamists. Those who have had to live with it have never been in much doubt about what it represents. Ask the people of Iran. Or those who fled the horrors of Afghanistan under the Taleban.
It is true- only the pampered, spoiled, partisan and petty denizens of the Press have failed to realize that there is a clear distinction between the Allied forces- including the United States military- and the barbaric tactics of the Islamic forces. The Allies fight in uniform, under a recognizable flag and adhere to long-established laws of war. They do not torture civilians, nor do they run rape centers or target non-combatants. And above all they do not treat their prisoners inhumanely. The deplorable events at Abu Ghraib were an aberration, and one that was swiftly punished by the military. Let us not forget that the Islamic forces raped, tortured and beheaded their captives. Nothing remotely similar has occurred to any captive of the US military. Even Saddam Hussein got his day in court- a day denied to Daniel Pearl and all others captured by the Islamic forces.
I would hope that someday the media would recognize their disgraceful behavior in this situation- from Eason Jordan and CNN's compliance with Iraqi censorship before the US invasion to the mainstream media's quick decision to call the invasion a 'quagmire' (a description quickly made into a laughingstock by the US military's rapid conquest of the country) to their disparaging coverage of the subsequent US governing, to the point of not only encouraging the terrorists but actually allowing the Islamic forces to use their own pages to publish their disgraceful propaganda.
The US media bears great responsibility for the success that the Islamic forces have enjoyed in the thought war, thought their success on the battlefield has not been anywhere close to their success in spreading propaganda. But then, the media has never been very apt at analyzing their own failings- recall how their equally disgraceful coverage of New Orleans has been covered up as much as possible by those who were involved.
I do not expect the media to change- that is something that is beyond their small, petty minds. But it would be nice if just once they would recognize that the enemy we face is a real threat and that we are winning this war, despite the best efforts of our own media. in the meantime, at least the London Times has both recognized the situation and has printed it. And we can hope that some US news organ will pick it up. But I won't hold my breath. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds. Cross-posted on NewsBusters