Hot Air's Morrissey Shows Negative Media Basra Narrative Is False

It is so easy to get sucked in by context-free negativity, isn't it?

If you looked at the home page of the New York Times a couple of hours ago, these items you would have among those seen in the (appropriately) far-left column:

  • In This Shiite Battle, a Marked Shift From the Past (article link)
  • Shiite Militias Cling to Swaths of Basra and Stage Raids (article link)

Top-of-hour network radio reports in the past few days, including Fox's, have also "successfully" left the impression that there has been serious decay in the Iraq situation. Who could blame the average person reader/listener for believing that?

As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey noted earlier this morning, not so fast. In fact, not at all:

Remind me again — who’s losing in Basra?

When the Iraqi government finally took the long-expected action to establish control of Basra after the British pullback left it in the hands of militias and gangsters, suddenly the media declared that the country had reached the brink of collapse. They highlighted stories of defections from the Iraqi military and opined that the surge had failed. Moqtada al-Sadr would finally achieve his goal of controlling the South and would expose the Baghdad government as a house of cards.

Guess which side just sued for peace?

Follow Morrissey's link, and you'll see that Old Media is still keeping hope (for defeat) alive in its headlines:

Al-Sadr offers to pull fighters off Iraq's streets
Shiite cleric demands halt to raids against followers, freedom for prisoners

BAGHDAD - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr offered Sunday to pull his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities if the government halts raids against his followers and releases prisoners held without charge.

Morrissey gives the context that Old Media simply won't:

Anyone who follows the news closely in Iraq knew this day would come. The British left a power vacuum behind in the south that the Baghdad government could not fill at the time, and Sadr and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council’s Badr Brigades filled it instead. ..... The Iraqi government had no choice but to challenge the militias for control of Basra and the surrounding areas, but they waited until the Iraqi Army had enough strength to succeed.

Did our media give anyone this context? No. They reported it as some kind of spontaneous eruption of rebellion without noting at all that a nation can hardly be considered sovereign while its own security forces cannot enter a large swath of its own territory. And in the usual defeatist tone, they reported that our mission in Iraq had failed without waiting to see what the outcome of the battle would be.

(What Sadr is doing) isn’t the action of a victor. Perhaps our media would like to explain that in the context of their clueless reporting so far.

Heaven knows where we would be without bloggers like Morrissey, who is a most welcome addition at Hot Air.

Cross-posted at


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