In the Vietnam War, reporters sent home information that dissuaded people at
home from supporting the war while building morale of the opposition to a
slight degree. During Gulf War I the media was addressed and ahandled by
the military as a "problem": their reporting was pushed to the margins, and
the cooperation of the military with the press in terms of direct
interaction was minimal. As a result very little direct evidence of just
about anything was nearly impossible to find. Pretty much all we saw were
pictures of flak over the Baghdad night sky.
Now, during Gulf War II, US war journalism has turned around 180 degrees
from the days of Vietnam, 90 degrees from Gulf War I: the embedding of
journalists in the battle zone allows the military to utilize the coverage
as a psyop tool to frighten the "enemy" and inspire "our boys." The
parameters of journalism are being set not by the conditions of war but
instead by the military, and the journalists are "freely" agreeing to go
along with it.
The 180 degree turn can be understood in terms of who journalists are
working for: as the war in Vietnam "progressed", to a large extent they
became the eyes and ears and voice of the US people; in gulf War II they are
the broadcast and bullhorn of the US military.
The lesson may be that we have to depend on the foreign press to get any
coverage that has any real truth-value. Of course this gives us a whole new
set of biases to examine.
This Russian story is explaining something I've suspected: that the
US/British forces simply do not have the numbers to take either Basra or
Baghdad. Typically it takes a ratio of anywhere from 3:1 to 9:1 to overtake
a resolute force nested inside a city. I think the number of US troops
actually on Iraqi soil right now stands at about 125,000 soldiers; the Iraqi
force, condensed over the last decade, stands at about 375,000.
The "best" US strategy at this point is to "cut off" Basra from Baghdad by
controlling the east-west corridor between Baghdad and Basra and then
suffocate both cities by cutting off various infrastructural needs of city
inhabitants, like water, food, etc. & bomb them in order to terrorize them
, break their will, and reduce their numbers (re: slaughter them wholesale
via air bombing campaigns). Engaging in urban warfare at the current US
strength would spell disaster for the US forces.
If these reported losses are indeed true, you should expect to see reports
of heavy losses from "friendly fire" or by various aircraft accidents away
from the battle zone. The US Military for years has been laundering bodies
through faked aircraft accidents as a means of keeping certain potentially
detrimental pieces of information from the civilian population. Typically
some covert operation might take place here or there, and the US reports no
losses. The next day you'll see a report of a crashed transport vehicle
somewhere where soldiers have died. This is a standard black ops procedure
that has become de rigeur throughout the US Military.