Patterico's Pontifications


WaPo Piece on Soldiers’ View of A Pullout from Iraq

Filed under: General,War — Patterico @ 7:49 am

Via Instapundit comes an interesting article in the Washington Post that quotes soldiers in Iraq as saying that it would be a disaster to pull out now. Sample quote:

“Take us out of that vacuum — and it’s on the edge now — and boom, it would become a free-for-all,” said Lt. Col. Mark Suich, who commands the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment just south of Baghdad. “It would be a raw contention for power. That would be the bloodiest piece of this war.”

This is not an isolated view among the soldiers:

The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.

Two points about the article got my attention. The first is that it creates an interesting counterpoint to the opinions of the soldier I discussed in this post, who told me he believes we are sitting ducks in Baghdad, and we should establish a couple of strong bases in Iraq and get out of the business of patrolling Baghdad. It just goes to show you that, like Americans here, the guys on the ground have different opinions about what we should do.

The second is this: can you imagine a piece like this running in the L.A. Times or the New York Times? Of course you can’t.

We’re constantly told that op-ed pages have a wall of separation from newspapers’ news sections. If you believe that, then it’s an odd coincidence that the Washington Post is the only paper of those three to have editorialized in favor of the war.

Also, it takes a rare paper that is actually willing to dig up and report the truth, whether it favors the Administration or not. Most of these newspapers show little interest in, say, documents that might support the Bush Administration position on issues like WMD or Iraq ties to Al Qaeda. Their feeling seems to be: supporting the Administration is not our job.

But your job is reporting the truth, newspaper editors — whether it favors the Administration or not. It’s nice to see a paper actually take that tenet seriously.

14 Responses to “WaPo Piece on Soldiers’ View of A Pullout from Iraq”

  1. I was really shocked to see Josh White wrote this. Any analysis of his previous Iraq coverage shows he has been a staunch anti-Administration critic, and has done all he can to paint the Iraq War in a negative light. I guess one balanced piece out of a 100 is par for the course at WAPO.

    Gabriel Chapman (6d7447)

  2. US Soldiers Say Leaving Iraq Would Have Devastating Consequences…

    But remember, they’re stupid and uneducated, so it doesn’t really matter what they think. For the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the war is alternately violent and hopeful, sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold. It is dusty and muddy,……

    The Political Pit Bull (64479c)

  3. I don’t think you get it. The WaPo is preparing the base for a disappointment. They always knew withdraw would be a disaster. It was more politics than policy.

    Once the Dems are in power they will not be able to use withdraw as a club to pound Republicans anymore, they will probably have to retreat from retreat. The WaPo is merely setting this up.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  4. It is certainly noteworthy that the Washington Post reported the views from soldiers stationed in Iraq, but note the placement — on page 13. News unfavorable to the war effort gets page 1 placement, day in and day out. And while the Post’s OpEd pages are generally balanced, the “news” pages are not. They are overwhelmingly anti-Bush and anti-Iraq War.

    Tim K (7e41e8)

  5. This is obvious (even to stupid, uneducated soldiers). I learned in 11th grade health class that pulling out is not your best bet.

    AndrewGurn (c37ea2)

  6. Troops: Iraq Pullout Bad…

    The Washington Post just now deems it important to report what the soldiers, who are fighting in Iraq, think about the mission? I thought the MSM granted absolute moral authority to those who are doing the fighting or have lost a family member in the …

    Sensible Mom (72c8fd)

  7. there is undoubtedly a wide range of opinion among the approx. (140,000 last number i saw) american soldiers in iraq.
    lt. col. mark suich is probably right in predicting a major sectarian bloodbath, but his analysis is incomplete.
    1. mission remains undefined. gwb explicitly disavowed nationbuilding several years ago, so forgive me if i’m a little confused. are we trying for a stable, secure, democratic iraq with strong institutions, peaceful populace, civil order? then say so, articulate the sequence by which we will arrive there, and be honest with us about how many american lives and dollars this will cost. don’t ask me to write a blank check. are we trying to retain american corporate hegemony over the oilfields so we can have cheap gasoline for the rest of our lives? then say so, articulate the sequence by which we will arrive there, and be honest with us about how many american lives and dollars this will cost. don’t ask me to write a blank check.
    2. it’s a disaster when it happens to you, it’s an unusual, cautionary event when it happens to someone else. colonel suich appeared to speak from the perspective of iraqi citizens. i prefer my officers thinking and speaking from the perspective of american citizens. we lost 100 american citizens over there in october with no apparent gain to show for it, instead, the situation seems to be deteriorating ever more rapidly. my friends and i bear no responsibility whatsoever for the fact that sunnis and shiites are bent on killing each other. tell me what my country gains by putting its soldiers in the line of this fire.

    assistant devil's advocate (2eed70)

  8. One of the things that has always disturbed me in this ‘pull out or not to pull out’ debate has been validating your viewpoint by finding and active duty soldier to agree with you.
    I was sent to Beirut in 1980, we weren’t informed on the nuances of the situation and once the ‘situation’ was cleared up we stayed on station for months longer. Of course if you’d asked anyone one of us ‘should you still be on station?” We would have said ‘No way!’ While todays active duty member in Iraq is far more informed (Thanks to the net, cellphones etc) there still is this polyglot of opinions.
    A consensus on the other is much more valuable. If we were to validate our positions based on a consensus of Actdu men/women, I would find that valuable in informing our policies and opinions.

    paul from fl (001f65)

  9. What do the troops say about cut and run?…

    The democrats claim that their cut and run or immediate withdrawal ideas are the best way to support the troops in Iraq:  To bring them home.
    Funny, the troops seem to disagree.
    Soldiers in Iraq Say Pullout Would Have Devastating Results
    For …

    Leaning Straight Up (16154e)

  10. I can only speak for my own unit, but here’s my two cents. There are differing opinions about how we should go forward in Iraq, but everyone is opposed to pulling out at this point.

    SecretSquirrel (a5129b)

  11. ada: If I PayPal’d you a few dollars, would you use it to buy a “shift” key? Or maybe even a clue?

    Old Coot (caf903)

  12. Disagreeing with the super nuanced and sophisticated John Kerry is proof positive that our soldiers in Iraq are stupid and uneducated.

    perfectsense (1887e4)

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