In our writings at RedState.com, HUMAN EVENTS, and elsewhere, the two of us have spent a great deal of time and energy debating the Iraq war and attempting to convey stories about the mission that can’t be found in the mainstream media. We’ve also criticized the quality of the media’s own reportage on events in the Middle East. We’ve pointed out episodes of anti-war bias, ignorance, and outright fabrications ad nauseam, all the while seeking to “correct the record” with a better reflection of events and developments as they actually are, rather than as they appear through the mainstream media’s anti-war, anti-Bush prism.
Why have we spent so much time and energy on this? Because the evidence we see suggests a very different picture of the situation on the ground in Iraq than the one which the media presents day in and day out.
The two of us share the view that this conflict is an historic enterprise with profound ramifications for Americans and Iraqis — and for our world. We see hard-won progress and noble sacrifice that can and should lead to victory; however, we see that being threatened by an inexplicable willingness among our political leaders to despair and to capitulate — a willingness which is both fed by, and reflected in, our media, which has embraced the promotion of a vicious and escalating cycle of defeatism.
Against the combined mainstream media and congressional Democrat juggernaut, our voices can, at times, seem very small. We write strictly about the facts which are available to us, and have no more shied away from calling out what we see as mistakes by the administration, the congress, and the nation, than we have from praising those things which are being done right. The last thing we want to do is to “spin” events to meet our perceptions, hopes, or expectations; what we want is, like many others, to know and to convey the truth as it really is — not as we want it to be. Given the obvious limits on our access to up-to-the-minute, accurate, objective information, we cannot help but wonder every now and again if we are actually seeing the situation clearly — and what we can do to improve our grasp on these events, and on the situation on the ground in the Middle East.
So to that end, we decided to address such doubts by heading over to Iraq ourselves and getting the real story, straight from the source.
After months of emails, telephone calls, offers, and negotiations, the two of us have reached an agreement with the Department of Defense to take part in a trip to Kuwait and to Iraq in late April. This extraordinary opportunity, which stems from the DoD’s renewed emphasis on “new media” outreach, will enable us, and a few of our fellow bloggers, to get some of the first-hand perspective generally reserved for the larger and more heavily financed “old media.”
The Office of the Secretary of Defense’s public affairs office (OSD-PA) has been incredibly accommodating to us, and has shown itself to be willing to work with any who demonstrate a seriousness of purpose, a track record of thoughtful writing on the war, and a willingness to endure the rather lengthy process of preparing to embed with the military in a war zone. The DoD has no political litmus test; in fact, the impression which we received during this process was that OSD-PA is disappointed that they get so few requests from left-leaning sites, either to embed or to participate in the frequent blogger conference calls which the department sets up with commanders and high-level officers in the field. They believe that firsthand contact with the military, via telephone or, even better, face-to-face interaction is in the best interest of the DoD, which, rather than having something to “hide” from the public, is eager to tell its story.
We are greatly looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity to get a firsthand look at the actual situation in Iraq. Unlike the mainstream media representatives who have been reporting on the war, we make no claim of impartiality. We consider ourselves to be patriotic Americans — and, as such, we have a vested interest in our country’s success.
However, “success” as we define it is not looking at a bad situation with rose-colored glasses; on the contrary, attempting to spin a bad situation into a good PR effort, in our opinion, serves more as a detriment to real success than as a benefit. Success, to us, success; and, to this end, an overarching goal of our reportage from Iraq will be to accurately convey the real situation — what is going right, and what may be going wrong.
Needless to say, we are both looking forward to this opportunity to bring the real story of what is actually happening in Iraq, right now, straight from the source — and we hope that you will join us for the journey.
(If you’d like to help make the RedStaters’ trip possible, click here to donate.)