THE NEW INSTALLMENT OF ARTHUR CHRENKOFF'S "Good News from Iraq", the eighth, is a superb job as usual:
As "Boston Globe" columnist Jeff Jacoby writes, "The press tends to emphasize what's going wrong in Iraq because of an inbuilt bias for the negative - only the plane that crashes, not the 999 that land safely, make news. The result is that while the bad news in Iraq gets reported everywhere, the reports of good news you have to look for." For the sake of fairness, one might add that in Iraq it's perhaps 10 or 20 planes that crash, yet even with that caveat the mainstream media coverage often gives ones the impression that the whole Iraqi air fleet has gone down in flames.It certainly is. Read the rest, it's well worth it.
The past two weeks have not been an exception, with the news from Iraq dominated by more hostage crises, the oil shock, continuing terrorist campaign and a sequel to the Shia uprising. Good news, once again, was few and far between. Yet progress continues to be made on the ground in Iraq, even during the most dangerous of times and often against the odds that we - so insulated by the safety, comfort and predictability of life in the West - can hardly even begin to comprehend.
The challenges still ahead in Iraq are considerable, but the media in its manic rush from one disaster to the next and from one "quagmire" to another rarely provides the context that would help us understand the situation. Having followed the mainstream media coverage, one can be forgiven for thinking that our task in Iraq is merely to return the country to its pre-war status quo. More often than not lost in reporting is the realization that Iraq has to recover not just from the violence and destruction of the last year and a half, but of the past 30 years. Iraq of March 2003 was not a normal, well-functioning state thrown into chaos and mayhem only by the arrival of the Coalition forces. In reality, the pre-invasion Iraq was a wreck of a country whose great potential of the 1950s and 1960s has been all but completely squandered for the sake of the aggrandizement of one man and the hegemony of his party. It's important to bear that in mind before rushing to criticize the Coalition authorities for failing to rebuild in a year what took three decades to destroy.
That the Iraqi people are not giving up on their desire to overcome the tragic and soul-destroying legacy of the Baath Party misrule and are courageously forging ahead with their new lives is truly a testament to the power of the spirit and human tenacity.