Cross Posted At the Castle
What we got here is a failure to communicate. Some men you can't reach, that is they just don't listen when you talk reasonable so you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it, well he gets it, and I don't like it any better than you men. - Cool Hand Luke
History, they say, is written by the victors. Except for modern history, which is written by the media with all the snapshots, sound bites, so called expert analysis, and two minute pundit riffs trying to tell the story before the next commercial break or within the 1.5" x 6" column they were allocated in the news paper.
In this war, history is still being written by the media. They create a narrative that equates to the knowledge of the masses and trickles down to the polls. Yet, somewhere amongst the narrative is the true story of the war, written in "0" and "1" bytes on the world wide web. It was hidden except to the few who knew that the narrative on the air waves did not match the whispers of communications from the front. And we searched for the real story among the bytes, flashing around the world at the speed of light.
It was these flashes among the dark and gloomy midnight of the narrative that has kept us going, insisting that reality, like the interned in the "Matrix", was not reality at all. Becoming unplugged from the legacy media "matrix", we found reality. Still, we shout to people to believe and their eyes are blurry while the media "matrix" tries to shift reality once again, changing the story to meet the reality they can no longer hide.
The "surge" they say is working. A miracle in many quarters while in others it is still rejected. People are waiting and watching for the "next shoe" to drop. Another gigantic frenzy of bloody horror unleashed on unsuspecting people. Yet, if something does come, it will be little and in no comparison to the bloody orgy that the enemy in its death throws perpetrated on the Iraqi people throughout 2005-2006. And, any who will try to claim that it is the "resurgence" of the enemy with a possibility that they will "win" will be dead wrong, just as they have been wrong throughout the war.
Perceiving a victory when it is perceived by all is not the highest excellence-Sun Tzu
In a recently linked piece at Instapundit, Atlas Society noted that the media was "mugged" by bloggers. There is a lot of history that talks about how the media changed. A significant part of this story, broken down to the minimal, is that the conglomeration of corporatist media lost their independence and became subject to a singular editorial process governed, not by reality or the customer base they were serving, but by a hierarchy that that led to only a few at the top deciding what was newsworthy. It was these few that, through their relationship with "global" media and their outright ownership of much of the network and printed media, that controlled the story line, "shaping" American opinion.
Atlas Mugged talks about events such as RatherGate and September 11th, when the popular media servers went down and people were left with either repeating loops on the networks or blogs. It discusses the rise of blogs and the attempts of the mass media to take advantage of the phenomena. But, even Atlas Mugged misses one essential story that the centralized editorial practices of the "mass media" missed: the real story of how we won in Iraq.
Without taking anything away from Gen. Petraeus and those who worked hard in the last nine months to take advantage of the conditions set by all the hard work before and insure victory, victory was assured a long time ago. The truth of it was written in the blogs of military men and women and free lance writers who eschewed the "Matrix" of mass media for true independence.
Most of America is still wondering and looking for the miracle, the mythical moment that it all started going "right" in Iraq. Today's narrative is that the "surge" provided enough security to "finally" convince the Iraqis that it was in their best interests to join against Al Qaida and other extremists. Yet, the hard work that led to the ability of the "surge" to work has been being done over the last three years. The Iraqi rejection of terrorists and extremists of all stripes was written in the blogs.
It was only those of us who disconnected from the "Matrix" of the mass media who knew the reality on the ground did not match the "reality" perpetrated by the media.
We few, we happy few, we band of blogs, having looked beyond the Matrix, discussed strategy and pointed to successes long before the media ever knew who Petraeus was or anything about the new COIN manual that incorporated ideas written by Kilcullen and discussed at length on the blogs.
Victory, they say, has many fathers and defeat is an orphan. Some of us refused to abandon it.
Another truth that was missed until this year, is the horrific actions of the enemy that foretold his own defeat.
No miscalculations mean the victories are certain, achieving victory over those who have already lost - Sun Tzu
In war, there are no such things as "no miscalculations", but there is those who make the least miscalculations. In 2004, Zarqawi wrote how Al Qaida in Iraq would be defeated:
1 - We fight them, and this is difficult because of the gap that will emerge between us and the people of the land. How can we fight their cousins and their sons and under what pretext after the Americans, who hold the reins of power from their rear bases, pull back? The real sons of this land will decide the matter through experience. Democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter.
2 - We pack our bags and search for another land, as is the sad, recurrent story in the arenas of jihad, because our enemy is growing stronger and his intelligence data are increasing day by day. By the Lord of the Ka`ba, [this] is suffocation and then wearing down the roads. People follow the religion of their kings. Their hearts are with you and their swords are with Bani Umayya (the Umayyads), i.e., with power, victory, and security. God have mercy.
The truth is, their defeat was written by purple dipped fingers, smiling faces, singing and dancing. Their defeat was written when men and women stood on the line and insured that democracy, however ugly and however different than our own, went forward.
Democracy was coming and there were no excuses after that.
As for the bloody orgy of killing that came after, it was not a push for victory, but a desperate rear guard action. Like Hitler so many decades ago who proclaimed the German people unworthy of the Third Reich and thus deserving of total annihilation, Zarqawi and others put in motion what was to become their death throws; the seal upon their defeat written in the blood of young children.
Some may believe that it is too early to say that we have won in Iraq. Others will claim that it is only hindsight that allows anyone to believe that they knew all along we would win. But it wasn't hindsight that had bloggers across the world looking for victory. It was and is a belief that victory should be and could be the only end.
We almost lost the war. Not on the battle field, but right here at home. As General Lynch recently said, the reason people thought it was being lost and now appears to be miraculously won? The media, with its central editorial boards "shaping American opinion" told everyone it was so. And, at least half of the American population was unaware because they had no idea they were being sold a bill of goods. They didn't disconnect from the "Matrix".
Today, Iraq is still a troubled place and the political situation is rough. Yet, we see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is coming fast. How will we know we have finally achieved "victory"? Victory will not be written on a surrender document signed in front of a host of media with glaring lights and cameras blazing. No, victory will be like the silence after a harsh storm, war fading away while we are in our houses or going to work or welcoming home the troops. Most won't even know it happened.
And the only thing the enemy will do is what he said he would do if they lost. So long ago it has faded from some people's memories, lost in the spasms of blood and fire:
We pack our bags and search for another land, as is the sad, recurrent story in the arenas of jihad
Al Qaida in Pakistan has been working to stir trouble in Waziristan. Bin Laden declared war on Musharef and Al Qaida is picking up operations there.
As the war in Iraq fades away from the headlines and even Iraqi politicians are declaring victory, will anyone remember "the war is lost" crowd? Some people still talk like it is 2004 and the Iraq elections never took place, suggesting that Iraq should be partitioned. Sorry, that is a decision that the Iraqis will be making, thanks in no small part to the sacrifice of thousands of young Americans and many thousands more Iraqis who stood in the breaches while we fought a war of words at home.
The media is still trying to shape the narrative, including Hollywood who has never been more disconnected from reality than today. One wonders if either the mass media or Hollywood has discovered that they are irrelevant?
In Iraq, Kurdistan tries to rebuild economy, the Baghdad book market is re-opening, Iraqis are returning to music, and, instead of suicide bombers, it's teenage suicides due to an abrupt change in culture that is worrying the media.
Don't close your eyes, yet. We're still in Afghanistan and Pakistan is heating up while Iran talks like a petulant child demanding their seat at the adult table. Syria, a dedicated member of the axis of evil, still tries to have its say in Lebanese politics.
The battle for Iraq is all but over, but the war against tyranny, oppression, evil and fascist ideology continues.
Who will tell the real story of Iraq?
A note to the media, particularly the Dan Froomkin variety: you will, of course, ignore this post or the small voice here in the wilderness who is warning you of the future where the mass media begins to divest itself of the "mass" that is sinking it like a giant albatross around their neck and journalists begin to try to figure out where they belong in the brave new world of, once again, truly independent media.
The reason that you are failing, the reason the stock in your companies continues to dwindle, the reason that you missed the true story of Iraq in lieu of "the narrative", the reason that a sitting president invited bloggers to the White House, however limited in its actual journalistic moments that you claim as "real" journalism, is because you and your kind became "the Matrix"; alternate reality created by you and others like you. You are no longer independent. You are no longer individuals seeking "the truth".
You started believing your own press that you were the people that "protected" the people from the power of the government. You were 'objective" you said. You told the "truth" you said. All the while you abdicated your self-appointed responsibilities to foreign unknown, ideologically and ethically challenged stringers rarely ever telling your viewers and readers where it came from. You claim you don't bow down to powers, you bring them down, while all along central editorial boards told you what to write, what was acceptable. They stacked the deck with people like you to "shape the narrative" and "shape public opinion".
You're no longer independent, but a slave to the Matrix. What can you do but complain like petty demagogues who fear their throne has been threatened and belittle others who dare to disconnect from the Matrix?
You're lemmings, speaking with one voice, repeating the same line over and over again as you go down into the dark sea. Yet, you will keep asking yourself why this happened because you will never look past your own nose, self-congratulating prose and incestuous awards for "journalistic integrity".
The owner of this blog thought that maybe you were jealous of their invitation to the White House. I disagree. You are jealous of the one thing that they have that you no longer do:
Believe me, if you believe nothing else: your lack of understanding of that word will be the "death" of you.