Mike Yon- US Journo on UK and US bad news of Iraq.

All describe the bizarro-world contrast between what most Americans seem to think is happening in Iraq versus what is really happening in Iraq. Knowing this disconnect exists and experiencing it directly are two separate matters. It’s like the difference between holding the remote control during the telecast of a volcanic eruption on some distant island (and then flipping the channel), versus running for survival from a wretch of molten lava that just engulfed your car.

I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States, Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.

No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public.

Today I am in Iraq, back in a war of such strategic consequence that it will affect generations yet unborn—whether or not they want it to. Hiding under the covers will not work, because whether it is good news or bad, whether it is true or untrue, once information is widely circulated, it has such formidable inertia that public opinion seems impervious to the corrective balm of simple and clear facts.

In fact, the trend across the country is clearly positive. Further, each new development can be seen to set into motion other additional developments which are combining kinetic forces faster than even the best reporters can keep up with.

Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic. But in the last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful, despite what the pessimistic dogma dome allows Americans and British to believe.
Using the lessons learned from “Bless the Beasts,” it probably won’t be enough just to make the news I am reporting available to NNA-member publications at no cost. There may need to be a little irritating sand in order to get a pearl out of this oyster.

This is where my readers come in, at least those among them who share the concern that the distorted picture most Americans have of the situation in Iraq has strategic (and disastrous) implications for this war, our national security, and the stability of one of the most volatile regions on the planet.

Those readers can first check to see if their local paper is a member of the NNA . Because only NNA members will be able to

” . . . print excerpts of Michael Yon’s dispatches, including up to two of his photographs from each dispatch. Online excerpts may use up to 8 paragraphs, use 1-3 photos, and then link back to the full dispatch on his site saying ‘To continue reading, click here.’”

If their local paper is a member of NNA, readers can contact the editor, urging their participation. [If Bob Owens’ experience is a reliable indicator, this might take several, uh, prompts.] By encouraging their local daily or weekly newspapers to reprint these dispatches in their print editions, more people without internet access can begin to see a more accurate reflection of the progress I have observed and chronicled in dispatches like “Achievements of the Heart,” “7 Rules: 1 Oath,” “The Hands of God,” and “Three Marks on the Horizon.”

There is a cost to this. By making these stories available to NNA members at no cost, I have to forego any license fees they might otherwise generate. Although the newspapers who participate in this venture won’t have any additional costs, that also won’t reduce the expenses I incur to continue producing work that many commenters say needs to reach a wider audience. But it certainly gives those same commenters an easy way to put some walk behind all their talk.

Reader support is critical and highly appreciated, because I depend on my readers for all the funds required to do this work. I have been trying to thank each and every person who has helped—something of a feat in itself—but I want to say it clearly: Your support is hugely appreciated. In addition to setting up a support link to Paypal, we now also have a page on Blog Patron, and we have added more than 50 new photographs to the gallery.

This story sort of corroborates Mike Yons story of successes in Iraq.

Also the fact that Bin Laden saw fit to make a statement, something must be happening that they do not like.

In a development experts call a significant shift, Iraqi insurgent groups are speaking out against al-Qaida and its brutally violent tactics.

Last week, two groups, Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya (aka "the Iraqi Jihad Union") and a splinter faction of the 1920 Revolution Brigades called "Hamas in Iraq" issued statements accusing al-Qaida's Iraq wing, al-Qaida in Iraq, of brutally killing their fighters and commanders, as well as women and children.

"They have killed them and mutilated their bodies," reads an English translation of the Iraq Jihad Union's statement prepared for the NEFA Foundation, a non-profit terrorism research organization. "They dug up their bodies from the graves, further mutilated them, beheaded them, and showed them off from their vehicles.… They committed all of these acts despite the fact that these brothers were faithful to their religion...."
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"The general public suffered a great deal," reads a similar translation of the Hamas in Iraq statement, describing alleged incidents in the Iraqi town of Ramadi, "because of [al-Qaida fighters'] actions. Every day they witnessed heads or headless bodies lying in the streets. Each one of these victims had been accused of a so-called 'crime' prohibited by al-Qaida fatwahs."

"The al-Qaida network," the second statement concludes, "has actually made people here think that the occupation forces are merciful and humane by comparison."

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