AUSTIN BAY looks at the disconnect between troops’ experience of Iraq, and what news reports say:

After my return from Iraq I received phone calls and emails from military friends as they either came back to the US on leave or finished their tours and re-deployed “Stateside.” The typical phone call went like this: “I’m back. It’s great to be home. What’s up? How are you doing?” Then, the conversation quickly moved on to: “What’s with the press and Iraq?” The press usually meant television. On tv Iraq looked like it was going to Hell in a handbasket of flame and brutality; however, the images of carnage didn’t square with the troops’ experience.

He also references this essay by Jim Dunnigan.

UPDATE: Riding Sun says that Newsweek’s latest story on Iraq buries the lede, which should have been found in this paragraph of the story that was relegated to the end:

On the ground, the shrewder analysts say, it’s not entirely clear that U.S. policy has “failed.” The TV news, not to mention Al-Jazeera, doesn’t regularly summarize the stunning changes in Iraq, many of them morally and politically worthy. Saddam Hussein is gone and awaiting trial. Schools, hospitals and other institutions are operating in most parts of the country. Voters have adopted a constitution. And even many Sunnis are gathering in political parties that are maneuvering in advance of the Dec. 15 national elections. After the elections, the plan is that Coalition forces will use the growing number of capable Iraqi units to “clear, hold and build” a peaceful Iraq.

Riding Sun asks: “If that’s what ‘the shrewder analysts say’, shouldn’t it be the main focus of the article?”

You’d think. Read this letter from Iraq, too.