"I would have shot the insurgent too. Two shots to the head," said Sgt Nicholas Graham, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You can't trust these people. He did nothing wrong."
I would hope it wasn't a more systemic problem in Fallujah, but this is very bad PR, and it's getting a lot of play on Arab television. Perhaps it was the inevitable result, on some levels, of putting the assault on Fallujah under the world's spotlight in the first place. Either way, it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle anyway.
When I worked in IT customer support, a boss of mine had a bad habit of quoting a particularly annoying statement regularly:
"Perception is reality."
I, having to deal with the day-to-day shit of dealing with an enormous workload with inadequate resources, railed against this notion. Why? Because from a company PR standpoint, there was no way we could win. We busted our butts to do everything right, and fixed most problems very rapidly, but in many cases, there was only so much we could do.
The company I worked for outsourced their entire support department, only to find out how good a job we all did for them. Eventually, three times as many people were hired to do the job we had done.
Time has made me less bitter about "Perception is reality". Thing is, it's true in most cases, because most people focus more on what they perceive than on the reality of it all. I no doubt frustrate the hell out of many soldiers I know and care about over in Iraq, because I do discuss the perception of Iraq very heavily... and that perception tends to show the US as being stuck in a "damned if you do / damned if you don't" downward spiral... and that perception is helping create the reality in Iraq.
And frankly, this shouldn't be surprising. That's why I tend to be skeptical of those who, often with good intentions, want to get past the whole WMD thing, get past Halliburton profiteering, get past Bush's big oil connections, get past the 100,000 dead Iraqis, and still turn Iraq around. After all, that's a rational and even a humane argument. Some good can still come of this, right?!
Yes, some good, perhaps, but more good than bad? I strongly doubt it. The cancer is inoperable... and the battle for hearts and minds isn't going to get better anytime soon. Bush had about an eight month grace period to really prove himself and to save Iraq, but he made the wrong choices, and now the options are very limited, and getting worse every day.
...or so it is perceived.