Monday, May 12, 2008

The Fog of War

A few weeks back I commented on how hard it is really to know what's going on in wars, and in Iraq in particular. Today's NYT offers another example.

Remember how late in March, all of 7 weeks ago, everyone was talking about the Iraqi government's disastrous attempt to gain control of Basra? (Some of the pundits were crowing and gloating as if this was the best thing they could imagine). Well, perhaps the contemporaries didn't know what was really going on, or perhaps they did but it changed after their attention turned elsewhere, or perhaps they were right and the NYT is now wrong, or perhaps there are other explanations. What's clear is that the report filed this morning by two NYT fellows in Basra is anything but what we were led to believe (or had stuffed down our throats) less than two months ago.

What's the moral of the story? I dunno. That the media can't ever be fully trusted. That pundits should be trusted even less. That wars are complicated events. That most of us, most of the time, see the reality we wish to see, not the one that's there. All of the above and some. I report, you scratch your heads.

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