Reporting Iraq

My friend Steve Schippert is more than a little ticked about the way the media is reporting what is going on in Iraq. They don’t seem to have much understanding of the way things work in the military. (Or do they?) Here is just one example Steve cites:

Case in point, today’s Washington Post article, Iraqi Military’s Readiness Slips.

Right from the beginning, including the headline, bad news in an internal assessment is reported as either accepted fact or authoritative information.

Despite stepped-up training, the readiness of the Iraqi military to operate independently of U.S. forces has decreased since President Bush’s new strategy was launched in January, according to the White House progress report released yesterday.

Combat losses, a dearth of officers and senior enlisted personnel, and an Iraqi army that has expanded faster than the equipment available for it have resulted in a “slight reduction” in the number of units designated at Level 1 status, or “capable of independent operations,” the report said.

That recruitment has expanded faster than equipment can keep up is a significantly important (positive) development that is difficult to overstate (and customarily understated in this media report.) If one employs just a touch of logic, the frenzied pace of recruitment explains the shortage of officers and NCO’s, too. Few go to recruit training and emerge as Staff Sergeants or Captains required to guide newly formed or expanded units in my humble military experience. But that’s another issue.He is also none too thrilled by reporters who disclose information that could compromise our efforts to track and capture terrorists.

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