what the heck is going on back there?

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Wednesday, 23 November 2005

The Washington Times reports that

Commanders are telling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that ground troops do not understand the generally negative press that their missions receive, despite what they consider significant achievements in rebuilding Iraq and instilling democracy.

The commanders also worry about the public’s declining support for the mission and what may be a growing movement inside the Democratic Party to advocate troop withdrawal from Iraq.

"They say morale is very high," said a senior Pentagon official of reports filed by commanders with Washington. "But they relate comments from troops asking, ‘What the heck is going on back here’ and why America isn’t seeing the progress they are making or appreciating the mission the way those on the ground there do. My take is that they are wondering if America is still behind them."

William Jones, a local soldier currently in Tikrit, corroborates the Washington Times story about coalition successes on the ground.  He also gives an eye witness account of an incident that occurred during a turnover of a forward operating base to Iraquis, that he claims CNN wrongly reported.  In its print version of the story, CNN’s account does match Jones’.  However, I haven’t seen the aired version of the story. 

Can anyone confirm that, on air, CNN reported differently?

UPDATE:  Mark beat me to the punch.  I logged on to add this link to a Max Boot column in the LA Times, which Mark had already identified as further corroboration for this story.

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One Response to “what the heck is going on back there?”

  1. Mark Rogers Says:

    Bob,

    For more good news from the front, check out Max Boot’s piece in the LA Times at http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-boot23nov23,0,1306469.column?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

    “Yet in a survey last month from the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, 47% of Iraqis polled said their country was headed in the right direction, as opposed to 37% who said they thought that it was going in the wrong direction. And 56% thought things would be better in six months. Only 16% thought they would be worse.”

    and

    “American soldiers are also much more optimistic than American civilians. The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively. Even more impressive than the Pew poll is the evidence of how our service members are voting with their feet. Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits — no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq — reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.”