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Monday, November 03, 2003

Posted by Jake
Cori Dauber at the Volokh Conspiracy Blogs about Coverage in Iraq

What the reporter doesn't seem to get, or at least isn't willing to write into the article explicitly, is that that uncertainty, which in turn puts every positive development into doubt, is precisely the point of the violence. Part of what defines terrorism is that it is not random acts of violence, but violence with an explicitly political aim. It sends a message, it is communicative, and it seeks to impact the situation on the ground in a way which leverages a weak tactical situation. The terrorists can't defeat us militarily, can't stop us from building a better Iraq -- but they can strike random targets, putting doubts into peoples minds, so that no one knows where or when the next attack will come, which in turn sends the message that the next attack can therefore come -- anywhere. Reporters are presenting two disconnected pieces here -- there is good news, and there is violence -- and concluding that the violence is threatening the good news, but not explicitly drawing the conclusion that that is precisely what motivates the violence.

This is a key point. I can find good news about Iraq (sometimes it takes a bit of looking but it is there). The failure that reporters are making is they never manage to connect the bad news as any strategy on the enemy's part. Instead there is still this focus on the premise that our presence creates bad news.

This is a battle we can lose, but not because of casualties. We lose if the public loses its nerve. That is the motivation.

Read more of Dauber. She is all over this. (via InstaPundit)


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