While the Wall Street Journal today proposed to declare Aug 18 V-I Day (Victory in Iraq) to mark the exit of the last American combat brigade, saner voices such as retired Army Col. Andy Berdy want to know why the media have swallowed the White House's line that the combat mission in Iraq is now history.
Berdy is chagrined that the media are not reporting “facts the way they are rather than the political message the Administration wants to portray." He made his point on Tom Ricks’ site at ForeignPolicy.com. [Ricks covered the military for the Washington Post and WSJ and is author of “Fisaco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. He’s contributing editor at FP.]
Through the WSJ declares the 50K remaining service members in Iraq as “trainers, advisors and special ops forces, Berdy cuts to the chase.
“Does anyone not think that the likelihood of continued combat operations is a reality? When casualties are taken by these “non-combat forces” will those casualties be characterized as “non-combat” as well?
“Does the public not understand that the secondary mission of our remaining forces is to be prepared to conduct combat operations either to defend themselves or to support Iraqi forces if requested? And when these train and assist "non-combat" units have to engage in, dare I say, combat operations, what will the Administration say then?
Berdy believes troops on the ground in Iraq take “incredible umbrage” about how their mission is being presented in the media.
The celebratory WSJ takes time out to give a slap on the back President Bush, architect of the war of choice, for defying Congress and his own Iraq Sturdy Group to mount the 2007 “surge.” It grudgingly credits President Obama for delivering on the “responsible withdrawal” promised in his campaign.
The WSJ sees dollar signs dancing before the eyes of U.S. businessmen, now that America has sacrificed some much for Iraq’s freedom. “The U.S. should attempt to reap the shared strategic benefits of a longer-term alliance as we did after WWII with Japan and Germany,” the paper says.
Who has the better take on the situation in Iraq? Is it the retired colonel or the editorial writers of the WSJ? There's no contest.