The good news from Iraq

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Ancient Iraqi tower

The Iraq headlines in the news are bleak to be sure. Quite a few are complaining that the good news from Iraq is consistently ignored. This seems to mostly come from authors who are also incensed that the 2004 Christmas tsunami is going unacknowledged as proof of End Days but all criticism should be addressed and refuted if possible. Once. Then flushed. Yes, I’m looking at you, the floater formerly known as Intelligent Design.

To those who believe the good news from Iraq is being ignored and going unreported: You misunderstand how good news, bad news works.

When a father takes an ax to his family and kills his wife, mother-in-law, and four of his five children, we do not write the headline–

Topeka Youngster Triumph: Only-Child Inherits Toys for Five

While it is good that a child survived, it would be spurious to take that fact out of the episode as the reportable news.

There is no good news in Iraq that carries any weight against the bad. All the living ex-presidents recognize the place is a disaster and that includes the current president’s father who took war to Iraq to liberate Kuwait.

There are good things being done in Iraq. Just search for “Iraq 'good news'” to find some. Here’s one bright spot: There is still time for charitable donations this tax year but research before you give. Some charities amount to grifts.

There are Iraqis being helped, having their lives transformed. I firmly believe there are more American soldiers doing good than wrong. But to spin any of it as good news is the worst kind of lie because most of those being helped right now did not need any help before the United States armed forces got there.

The 50,000–100,000 (combat and civil) dead precipitated by our invasion of a country at peace which was no threat to us would probably have preferred to live their lives without so much help.

To revisit the family killing father analogy–it wouldn’t mean a thing if the father got his surviving child a fabulous Christmas present and sent him to a nice boarding school. The Grinch got his second chance because he hadn’t burned Whoville down or killed any children.

The US is the bad guy now. Staying any longer is just a form of gambling addiction. You think you’ll win enough back if you just stay in for one more hand but there is no way to get back what you lost. The problems in Iraq cannot be solved without either a standing army of 500,000 or splitting the country into three new ones. We can’t or won’t do either. Time to go.

And for those who haven’t kept up with the bad news these years now, you should know that a decent helping of the good news is pure fiction, or fictionalized, psyop warfare planted in newspapers to twist support out of the reticent and critical.

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