In “The War You’re Not Reading About,” John McCain writes today that while there are some encouraging stories beginning to emerge in Iraq,
…most Americans are not aware because much of the media are not reporting it or devote far more attention to car bombs and mortar attacks that reveal little about the strategic direction of the war. I am not saying that bad news should not be reported or that horrific terrorist attacks are not newsworthy. But news coverage should also include evidence of progress.
Would it be so hard for the media to report more often on things like infrastructure rebuilding projects and other civil affairs programs, or the increasing numbers of Iraqi volunteers showing up to join the police and military? McCain offers some examples of stories that deserve bold headlines in the American media:
- Sunni sheikhs in Anbar are now fighting al-Qaeda. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, to meet with Sunni tribal leaders. The newly proposed de-Baathification legislation grew out of that meeting. Police recruitment in Ramadi has increased dramatically over the past four months.
- More than 50 joint U.S.-Iraqi stations have been established in Baghdad. Regular patrols establish connections with the surrounding neighborhood, resulting in a significant increase in security and actionable intelligence.
- Extremist Shiite militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr is in hiding, his followers are not contesting American forces, sectarian violence has dropped in Baghdad and we are working with the Shiite mayor of Sadr City.
- Iraqi army and police forces are increasingly fighting on their own and with American forces, and their size and capability are growing. Iraqi army and police casualties have increased because they are fighting more.
There are signs that a tipping point is possible. It may not be hopeless. Come on, American media: dig for that story. As McCain points out,
This is not a moment for partisan gamesmanship or for one-sided reporting. The stakes are just too high.