April 11, 2008

Lag Times

It took me about 5 seconds to figure out that Basra was a sort of "final exam" for the Iraqi army. Were they ready to fight? It took me about 2 days to come up with my answer, "yes they are, but they still need lots of work". I found the points obvious enough that I didn't bother writing about them. The NY Times caught up today and agrees with me. After their previous spin of a disaster for Maliki of Tet like proportions became unsustainably discordant with on the ground reality, the NY Times is backing and filling.

The NY Times still isn't quite right. It's simply not correct to say that "The struggle for control of Sadr City is more than a test of wills with renegade Shiite militias. It has also become a testing ground for the Iraqi military, which has been thrust into the lead." Rather Prime Minister Maliki, for the good of his own country, has called this national pop quiz on his military's indigenous capability. That was obvious from the beginning of the Basra push and has shown up in previous NY Times reporting, but why include this misstatement so late?

For me, this is equally obvious but I might as well say it, the NY Times is trying to avoid crossing over into becoming a national joke for the independents who still sometimes listen to what they say. This is the battle for Peoria. It's a battle that they are losing and their stock price and circulation figures show it.

HT: Glenn Reynolds

Posted by TMLutas at April 11, 2008 06:34 AM