Freshman Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall recently returned from Iraq, and wrote this article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that is well worth reading. In it, he asserts that the media’s jaded reports are misreporting the positive morale of the troops, and undermining a worthy cause. Here are some lengthy and notable excerpts:
Our currently stated objectives are to establish reasonable security and foster the creation of a secular, representative government with a stable market economy that provides broad opportunity throughout Iraqi society. Attaining these objectives in Iraq would inevitably transform the Arab world and immeasurably increase our future national security.
These are goals worthy of a fight, of sacrifice, of more lives lost now to save thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands in the future. In Mosul last Monday, a colonel in the 101st Airborne put it to me quite simply: "Sir, this is worth doing." No one I spoke with said anything different. And I spoke with all ranks.
But there will be more Blumbergs killed in action, many more. So it is worth doing only if we have a reasonable chance of success. And we do, but I’m afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with "the rest of the story," the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy.
Congressman Marshall then focuses in on the scarcity of journalists providing genuine, on the scene coverage of our troops and the continuing efforts in Iraq:
During the conventional part of this conflict, embedded journalists reported the good, the bad and the ugly. Where are the embeds now that we are in the difficult part of the war, now that fair and balanced reporting is critically important to our chances of success? At the height of the conventional conflict, Fox News alone had 27 journalists embedded with U.S. troops (out of a total of 774 from all Western media). Today there are only 27 embedded journalists from all media combined. . . .
He concludes with a virtual call to journalistic arms: "We may need a few credible Baghdad Bobs to undo the harm done by our media. I’m afraid it is killing our troops." While I have quoted from the article extensively, it is worth reading in full, and deserves serious consideration.