Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Haven't We Heard More about Al Qaida Atrocities?

There was a piece on the Editorial Page of today's Projo that originated last week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, written by Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.  In it, Mr. May asks a very important question:  why aren't we reading more in the free press about the atrocities committed by Al Qaida?

Here are some excerpts to whet your appetites:

...how many people still believe that guards in Guantanamo flushed Korans down the toilet, that U.S. Marines committed a massacre at Haditha and that American soldiers ridicule women disfigured by bombs, run over puppies for sport and desecrate graves for a laugh? All of this was reported in such mainstream publications as Newsweek and the New Republic. None of it is true.

Meanwhile, the barbarous violence committed by Al-Qaida and the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq is scarcely noted. For example, here's a story you probably have neither read nor heard: On Oct. 28 in a village 10 miles southwest of Baqubah, U.S. infantrymen came upon a prison run by Al-Qaida. In it, according to military spokesmen, they found a hostage, bruised, battered, dehydrated and tied to the ceiling, his arms injured because of the way they were twisted behind his back.

and this:

Where can one go to learn what is really happening in Iraq? Michael Yon is a former Green Beret. He has been reporting from Iraq's battlefields, mostly for his own blog (www.michaelyon-online.com). No journalist has revealed more about Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), including its "reputation for hiding bombs intended to kill parents in the corpses of dead children they'd gutted."

He has photographed Iraqi and American soldiers as they "disinterred the remains of adults and children" from killing fields. "In one grave," he noted, "soldiers recovered the heads of decapitated children, some with still partially recognizable remnants of flesh and hair."

His readers have learned what most Americans would not know from NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and NPR -- why AQI has failed to win Iraqi hearts and minds: "Between shooting people for using the Internet, watching television or other 'moral transgressions' such as smoking in public, AQI's claim of fundamentalist piety proved to be a thin veneer, quickly eroded by blatant drug, alcohol and prostitute use."

I commend the piece to you.  You can find it here.

So why aren't we getting this information from the Matt Lauer's, Jim Lehrer's, Katie Couric's and you name them?  Such news would help unite the country on the fight against terrorism.

In today's WSJ Opinion Page, there was another piece which underscores a similar observation on the media, or as Rush Limbaugh calls them, the "drive by" media.

In it, Daniel Ford contrasts the lives lost in one battle of World War II with the number of war dead in Iraq.  In no way would I want to discount in any way the lost lives in Iraq.  It pains me to see even one die, and at such a time in their lives.  But not that long ago, in another war against tyranny, it was not atypical to lost hundreds and even thousands of lives in a single battle.  I've touched on this in previous blogs relating the the PBS series "The War."

On this same point, Ford remarks that in August 1943, our allied flyers were asked to drop bombs on a fuel supply point for the Nazi's:

The target was Ploesti (pronounced "ploy-esht"), a small city in Romania north of Bucharest. Its 12 refineries produced most of the petroleum that fueled the German war machine, so the Allies were eager to take them out. Alas, the city was 1,200 miles from the nearest Allied airfield, in Egypt--an impossible journey, or so it seemed, over water, mountains and neutral Turkey. Surely the Germans would assume that Ploesti was safe from attack and therefore scant its defenses?

Wrong. Unknown to the Americans, the refinery complex was guarded by fighter planes and "more flak guns than those protecting Berlin," as Duane Schultz tells us in his vivid chronicle. The Ploesti raid was small by the standards of the Anglo-American bomber offensive against Germany, involving only 178 heavy bombers. Still, each plane carried a crew of 10, meaning that the lives of more than 1,700 young men were at risk.

In the end, "Of the 1,726 airmen on the mission, 532 were killed, captured, interned, or listed as missing in action." Most of the missing--imprisoned by the Germans or interned by the Turks--would return at war's end. In the meantime, that single, bootless, 27-minute raid cost the lives or freedom of as many young Americans as 10 months of combat in Iraq."

And so we fight on, without the support of our friends in the mainstream media.

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