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Facing Our Madrid: Iraq Violence Designed to Influence American Election

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Facing Our Madrid: Iraq Violence Designed to Influence American Election

Old 10-15-04, 11:04 AM
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Facing Our Madrid: Iraq Violence Designed to Influence American Election

By: Lt Col Powl Smith, US Army. 10/15/04

Source: Weekly Standard

Facing Our Madrid -- The violence in Iraq has a purpose: to influence America's presidential election.

READ A NEWSPAPER, watch television, or listen to the radio this fall, and the story from Iraq is the violence sweeping the country. Insurgents have stepped up their attacks, you'll hear. More and more U.S. service members are being killed and wounded every month. The international media is fleeing, and those willing to stay behind rarely venture out from their shelter in the Palestine Hotel.

But even as these reports about the violence grow ever more strident, what's missing is any discussion about why attacks are increasing.

The "why" is obvious to those of us over here facing the danger every day. It isn't because the terrorists are winning--far from it. American troops, nowadays more often than not in support of our Iraqi allies' forces, are retaking insurgent strongholds from Najaf to Samara, even as more Iraqi security forces are arriving from Multi-National Force (and soon NATO) training camps to assume a greater share of responsibility for these fights. Nor is it just that the enemy wants to stop Iraqis from voting in their first free democratic election three months from now--although that's certainly a huge part of it.

No, the real target of the increased insurgent attacks--their strategic grand prize--is American public opinion. The real reason for the surge in violence this fall? The U.S. presidential election.

In the same way that al Qaeda changed the outcome of the Spanish elections last March with a single catastrophic bombing in Madrid, the enemies of a free Iraq are increasing the tempo of attacks in order to feed the media, and therefore the American people, a steady diet of blood and carnage in order to convince us that "it just isn't worth it." The Saddam loyalists, foreign fighters, and al Qaeda terrorists know they can't possibly defeat us militarily. They haven't stood up to our forces, much less won a single fight yet. Instead, they are focusing their effort on sapping public support for our mission back home.

There's nothing new about this strategy. In the run-up to the election of 1900, for instance, with United States embroiled in a counterinsurgency campaign in the Philippines, guerrillas launched a major offensive in the hope that the U.S. public would lose its resolve and demand an early military withdrawal. In that case, their gambit failed, U.S. soldiers stayed to finish the job, and the Philippines went on to become the first democracy in Asia. But unfortunately, there are numerous other instances in history--from Vietnam to Somalia--when insurgencies have succeeded in breaking American willpower.

Those of us in Iraq today have been preparing for the surge in violence for months, redoubling our efforts to deter the assaults and defend ourselves and the innocent Iraqis slaughtered by indiscriminate suicide bombings and mortar attacks. We recognize that our enemies will perpetrate every barbaric crime and cruelty imaginable to grab the media's attention and convince Americans that this fight is unwinnable. The fact is, we successfully stop the great majority of these attacks, but the few that succeed are splashed across the headlines and television screens of America every day. The suicide bombings, the assassinations, and the gruesome, videotaped executions of innocent civilians, all are designed to terrify Americans and our Coalition allies, and shake our convictions.

This is a sentiment worth remembering when you're reading the latest headlines from Iraq. Many Americans were openly contemptuous of the Spaniards who were intimidated into withdrawing from Iraq by the attack on their capital. That could never happen to America, we thought. Terrorists will never terrorize the United States into submission.

But the truth is, in Iraq today, America is facing its own Madrid. Whether you are Democrat, Republican, or independent, it should anger you to the very core that our enemies are trying to slaughter American soldiers, innocent Iraqis, and indeed, just about anyone they can find, every day in order to frighten us into retreating. Winning this war will thus ultimately require more than conventional military might. It is in ourselves--as individuals and as a nation--that we will find victory or defeat.

Lieutenant Colonel Powl Smith, U.S. Army, is the former chief of counterterrorism plans at U.S. European Command and is currently in Baghdad with Multi-National Forces-Iraq.
This tracks with the reports I've been hearing from other military folks who are also in-country. Any surprise that the militants fired two rockets into the journalists hotel on the eve of the first debate? Any surprise that beheadings and car bombings have escalated dramatically in the past few months? Any surprise that the only news from Iraq that the media has reported on has been about death, chaos, and destruction?

They're apparently manipulating the American media into reporting what they want to get across in order to sap America's will to stay the course. Whether they're opposed to a Democratic Iraq or the presence of American troops -- their goal is to take power back, which can only be done if we pull out. Knowing that Bush is more likely to "stay the course" than Kerry, they are trying to make the situation in Iraq appear so dire as to sway American voters into ousting the incumbent.
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Old 10-15-04, 11:13 AM
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Most of the american media are the "useful idiots for the enemies of the US. They were when the enemies had a flag with the hammer and sickle and they are when the enemy is islamofacsim.
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Old 10-15-04, 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by bhk
Most of the american media are the "useful idiots for the enemies of the US. They were when the enemies had a flag with the hammer and sickle and they are when the enemy is islamofacsim.
SHOOT THE MESSENGER!
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Old 10-15-04, 11:30 AM
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SHOOT THE MESSENGER!
For offering a one-sided, highly biased and negative message when there are a lot of positives.
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Old 10-15-04, 11:34 AM
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Originally posted by Contactsport1
SHOOT THE MESSENGER!
We should when they only deliver half the message.
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Old 10-15-04, 12:01 PM
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Originally posted by Contactsport1
SHOOT THE MESSENGER!
The media are the message. And the message stinks.
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Old 10-15-04, 12:18 PM
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A new school is built, does not a good headline make. Why don't you people understand that it's not called the good news. Now that may not necessarily mean it should be all bad news, but no one reads the news to get cheered up.
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Old 10-15-04, 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by RoboDad
The media are the message. And the message stinks.
Well, I suppose we could go to a state run news agency? (Some argue that we're close to that now)

Of course you have to be a fool not to think that news isn't like any other product being sold. It has to have a hook. For the news media it is what titillates and creates fear. Fuzzy bunny stories get shut off for shut eye. However, like any snitch or informant, they do serve some purpose. You often times have to sift through the layers of BS to get to it, but it is often there somewhere.
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Old 10-15-04, 03:41 PM
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Summary:

If you think things are going well in Iraq: Don't forget who had the vision and courage to liberate the oppressed people of that troubled land. Conclusion: Vote for Bush.

If you think things are going badly in Iraq: The bad things you're seeing are caused by the terrorists trying to influence your vote. You don't want to do what the terrorists tell you, do you? Conclusion: Vote for Bush.

Glad we got that cleared up.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:01 PM
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Originally posted by dork
If you think things are going well in Iraq: Don't forget who had the vision and courage to liberate the oppressed people of that troubled land. Conclusion: Vote for Bush.

If you think things are going badly in Iraq: The bad things you're seeing are caused by the terrorists trying to influence your vote. You don't want to do what the terrorists tell you, do you? Conclusion: Vote for Bush.
It is magical how all roads lead to the same place. Its like Groundhog day.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:06 PM
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Personally, I don't think we're facing our "Madrid" until this happens on American soil. I think the bulk of the America public is not phased when a few of our troops get whacked by some IED's. We're numb to it now. NOW, should some shit go down in Washington DC right before the election, then I would agree we got hit Madrid-style.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by VinVega
Personally, I don't think we're facing our "Madrid" until this happens on American soil. I think the bulk of the America public is not phased when a few of our troops get whacked by some IED's. We're numb to it now. NOW, should some shit go down in Washington DC right before the election, then I would agree we got hit Madrid-style.
Except I feel (and you'd probably agree) that something like that would have the opposite effect on the populace here than it had in Spain.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:18 PM
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Considering that the situation in Iraq has been very violent ever since the so called end of major combat operations I find it very hard to believe that the isurgents are trying to alter US public opinion as their primary goal. US soldiers have been getting killed at the rate of over two a day for over a year now. That's nothing new.
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Old 10-15-04, 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by Goldblum
Except I feel (and you'd probably agree) that something like that would have the opposite effect on the populace here than it had in Spain.
I don't think an alien spacecraft landing on the lawn of the White House would change people's mind in this election. My opinion is that a terrorist attack on US soil this Oct or Nov will have ZERO effect on the outcome of the election. This is our squabble and you clowns in the ME can't do shit about it.
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Old 10-15-04, 05:36 PM
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Originally posted by Goldblum
Except I feel (and you'd probably agree) that something like that would have the opposite effect on the populace here than it had in Spain.
I agree 100%. A terrorist attack on the US ensures Bush wins. Of course in the event of another terrorist attack I have no doubt that Kerry would go after them just as hard as Bush so the Terrorists would be screwed no matter what.
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Old 10-15-04, 11:04 PM
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Originally posted by dork
Summary:

If you think things are going well in Iraq: Don't forget who had the vision and courage to liberate the oppressed people of that troubled land. Conclusion: Vote for Bush.

If you think things are going badly in Iraq: The bad things you're seeing are caused by the terrorists trying to influence your vote. You don't want to do what the terrorists tell you, do you? Conclusion: Vote for Bush.

Glad we got that cleared up.
Mischaracterization ..

More like this methinks:

What is the REAL situation in Iraq? Is the media reporting the full truth etc? Is Iraq even the main issue for you?

1) If we really are getting the upper hand overall and are just seeing OUTLYER incidents and/or ones designed to manipulate the American public: vote for the incumbent if Iraq is the main issue for you

2) If we don't have the upper hand and are seeing what is happening in a majority or representative amount of cases: vote for someone else if Iraq is the main issue for you..
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Old 10-17-04, 01:20 AM
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Originally posted by Mordred
I agree 100%. A terrorist attack on the US ensures Bush wins. Of course in the event of another terrorist attack I have no doubt that Kerry would go after them just as hard as Bush so the Terrorists would be screwed no matter what.
Which would be a strange way to vote considering he's running on the platform that he would keep us safe from terrorists.
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Old 10-18-04, 11:21 AM
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Originally posted by spainlinx0
Which would be a strange way to vote considering he's running on the platform that he would keep us safe from terrorists.

You misunderstand their platform then. It is really the old Pee Wee Herman "I meant to do that" platform. No matter what happens, it is an affirmation that Bush's choices were the right ones. It is really quite magical... or comical, depending on which camp you've raise your tent in.
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Old 10-18-04, 11:30 AM
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Originally posted by Contactsport1
You misunderstand their platform then. It is really the old Pee Wee Herman "I meant to do that" platform. No matter what happens, it is an affirmation that Bush's choices were the right ones. It is really quite magical... or comical, depending on which camp you've raise your tent in.
Agreed. At this point I don't think a bombing would be very effective for them, because it could be spun a myriad of different ways. I'd say let's just hope they don't bother...
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Old 10-18-04, 12:58 PM
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The power of the presidency is that he gets to make moving speeches after diasters. The American people are sucker for that. It doesn't matter who was the mayor of NY after 9/11 or who was the president. It's the leadership position that gives them the power, not who they are. People unfortunately can't separate the two and usually give all the credits to the top guy who give the moving speech. Yeah yeah, I know they did more the just give moving speeches but any other leaders in their positions would have done the same.

So if terrorists attack before the election, it'll favor Bush because he has the power of position and the airwaves.
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Old 10-18-04, 12:58 PM
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"New School Opens in Iraq"

"School Destroyed in Iraq"

Which headline would you click on? Be honest
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Old 10-18-04, 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by Draven
"New School Opens in Iraq"

"School Destroyed in Iraq"

Which headline would you click on? Be honest

This is like English class:

I go with

"New Schools open only to be destroyed" .
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Old 10-18-04, 01:18 PM
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Originally posted by Luc TC
"New Schools open only to be destroyed" .
Much better
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