Friday, December 31, 2004

Strategy? What strategy?

Captain's Quarters has this post about the capture of 49 suspected terrorists near Tikrit, wondering if the earlier capture of Zarqawi affiliate Abu Marwan has anything to do with the operation.

The two events may not be connected, but the coincidence certainly appears provocative.
One thing about quality blogs that is almost completely missing from mainstream media is their ability to bring together sequences of events into coherent stories. To the legacy media, a war is no more than a series of "attacks," "clashes," and "violence." We rarely hear what either side hopes to accomplish with their operations and whether it is working. It is a terrible missed opportunity for the media to inform the public.

I can think of two likely reasons why this is so. First, the media is dominated by "moderates and liberals." In today's political environment, these people are much more likely to see the Iraq war as a series of senseless and pointless events, with no logical progression and no logical ending. To todays Left, America is no more legitimate than Saddam or al Qaeda. Armed conflict is just bullies bullying each other with no benefit or purpose. So there is no such thing as strategy, no such thing as a campaign, and there is no objective to be gained.

Another reason for the media's failure to cover strategic issues is perhaps they simply don't have the mental capacity to see those issues. Let's remember that our best and brightest rarely aspire to Journalism school. What mother dreams about, "My son, the reporter?" Many press reports are simply regurgitations of talking points and press releases anyway. There is very little original reporting or analysis. So it doesn't take a great deal of intelligence to be a successful reporter.

Fortunately, we now have the means to route around this lack of vision. The CQ post is just one example. Belmont Club frequently connects the dots, as do many others. As my profile says, "Life is good."

UPDATE: As if on cue, 2slick provides another fine example of what I'm talking about:

Heres a good question I get from time to time- "What went wrong with the plan for Iraq?"

It's a fair question, but I do think that people today lack a true understanding of the nature of war. There seems to be very little historical perspective these days. Everybody wants a "quick and dirty" smackdown followed by immediate withdrawal. "War is fine as long as nobody gets hurt." It just doesn't work like that- in fact, it's never worked like that.

In this case it's not so much connecting the dots of piecemeal media reports, but giving some clear historical perspective which flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Ten years ago, or even two years ago, we had no access to this kind of material. Excellent.