The Impotent Insurgents By Jack Kelly, Pittsburg Post-Gazette February 6, 2005 In Iraq, weakened terrorists resort to fraud, swallowed by mainstream media In the days immediately following Iraq's historic election, two videotapes from "insurgent" groups were distributed to the news media. One purported to show an American soldier being held hostage. The second purported to show that a British C-130 transport aircraft, which crashed on election day, had been shot down by a surface-to-air missile. The "American soldier" was Cody, a G.I. Joe action figure. This is obvious from the picture, but The Associated Press and CNN bit hard. The cause of the C-130 crash is still being investigated. But experts at Jane's Defence Weekly have doubts about the claim of "insurgents." "The missile footage has just been grafted onto the front," said editor Peter Felstead. "And it looks like a surface-to-surface missile to me." Other experts note the wreckage footage was shot in daylight, while the C-130 crashed just before nightfall. It is highly improbable "insurgents" could have been on the scene before the sun set, and there were British soldiers all around the next morning. Media outlets that were quick to report the insurgents' claims had little to say about the hoaxes. Nor did they speculate on what the hoaxes might mean. Last Sunday's elections demonstrated the massive support of the Iraqi people for democracy, and the relative impotence of the "insurgents." The "river of blood" they promised was barely a trickle. Eight suicide bombers killed 36 Iraqis besides themselves. Of these, seven were foreigners (six Saudis and a Sudanese). The only Iraqi suicide bomber was a child suffering from Down syndrome. That is, as the Iraqi writer Nibras Kazimi put it, "eight against 8 million." And on what basis, one might ask, do the media call seven foreign terrorists "insurgents"? The terrorists had to do something to revive their plummeting prestige. That they resorted to clumsy frauds is not a sign of strength. "The captured toy story could be pretty significant," said the Web logger John Hinderaker (Power Line). "The terrorists need, more than anything else, to be seen as awesome, terrible figures. If they stop inspiring fear, they are finished. So the one thing they cannot stand is ridicule. ... Their pathetic effort to pass a doll off as a captured American soldier will [make] them laughingstocks throughout the Arab world." It's also interesting that the terrorists turned to the news media to recover lost momentum. Journalists who fell for these hoaxes may merely be idiots, and their silence about the implications of the hoaxes may simply be the by product of embarrassment. But the Web logger Shannon Love (Chicago Boyz) wonders: "Why were the major media so quick to disseminate pictures of an action figure as a genuine hostage photo?" More to the point, why are major media so quick to disseminate anything that a terrorist group, or purported terrorist group, releases? ... For the terrorist, it is like being given millions of dollars in free advertising." The major media have from the beginning exaggerated the strength and popularity of those they mislabel "insurgents," to the disgust of American soldiers. "I'm tired of hearing the crap, the whole, well 'We are barely hanging on, we're losing, the insurgency is growing,' " Marine Sgt. Kevin Lewis told Dan Rather, in Iraq for the election. "It's just a small amount of people out there causing the problems. It's a small number, and we're killing them." The scandalous remarks of Eason Jordan, CNN's top news executive, last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (where Europe's elite goes once a year to sneer at the United States), and the failure of the major media to report them suggest the distortions are deliberate. Jordan told a panel that the U.S. military had killed a dozen journalists in Iraq, and that they had been deliberately targeted. When challenged, Jordan could provide no evidence to support the charge, and subsequently lied about having made it, though the record shows he had made a similar charge a few months before, and also earlier had falsely accused the Israeli military of targeting journalists. Jordan's slander has created a firestorm in the blogosphere, but has yet to be mentioned in the "mainstream" media. Gee, I wonder why not.