U.K. Defense Minister Geoff Hoon has reportedly described Um Qasr as being “a city similar to Southampton [a port town in the south of England],” a remark that produced the following response from two British soldiers seen, apparently, on Sky News.

First soldier – “He’s either never been to Southampton or he’s never been to Um Qasr.”

Second soldier – “There’s no beer, no prostitutes and people are shooting at us. It’s more like Portsmouth.”

As one who has an affinity for dry humor, I found that report quite amusing. If you’re looking for humor on this side of the Atlantic, I have some tidbits for you. Supposedly, a U.S. marine was asked what his mission was while in Iraq. His response — “To beat the army to Baghdad, sir.” Some of the pilots flying missions over Iraq are wearing a shirt that says, “When you absolutely positively need something destroyed in 24 hours.”

Why the humor? I think we need to take a deep breath and look at where we are. If you have been watching the cable news networks you have to be down. I swear these people are trying to get you depressed. The formats also have been horrible for giving the normal viewer any idea of what’s going on.

Embedded journalists give an incredibly close view of the troops and the front, but the big picture is lost. In fact, the only picture you get is that of the “quagmire.” Never mind the fact these same doom and gloom “experts” told us about the feared “Afghan winter” and how the Taliban would create the “new Vietnam.”

I find it ironic that the only people who promised the public a quick two-day campaign was the media itself. Now that we haven’t destroyed Iraq in less than a week, we get the word quagmire. I wonder what the coverage would have been on D-Day with these people. The airdrops in World War II were horrible with troops strewn everywhere and no sense of cohesion. In many cases, it was the simple bravery and determination of American and British troops that saved the day.

Yet I’m sure if MSNBC was covering it all we would hear is how bad the plan was, how we were in a quagmire, and how we would be destroyed by the elite Wehrmacht. With these armchair generals, you truly wonder what a successful campaign would mean.

Let us take a look at where we are. We have managed to occupy 80 percent of a brutal dictator’s country, surround his capital and done more in a week than Iran was able to do in eight years. We have had 20,000 sorties over Iraqi airspace and not one aircraft has been shot down, and not one Iraqi aircraft is in the air.

The proposed “millions” of refugees who would flee to Syria and Jordan have never shown up. Israel has not faced scud attacks, Kuwait City has been protected by our Patriot missiles, the oil fields are being contained by firefighters and the Republican guard is in retreat.

Our forces have done this against the backdrop of a brutal dictatorship that puts its civilians in harms way repeatedly. In Basra they used a hospital as their headquarters, they have shot their own people, tortured and killed our POWs and dressed up as coalition troops with orders to shoot any Iraqis who surrendered to them. And yet this is a quagmire?

The coalition has performed brilliantly and the accolades they deserve have been lost in the sea of dire news coverage. Take heart, the quagmire is not here.

Clemm can be reached at rclemm@campustimes.org.

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