There’s Something Happening Here

… what it is ain’t exactly clear. Two very different takes on the war tonight on network television. On NBC’s Dateline, a portrait of a Pentagon in disarray, stunned by the ferocity of the resistance in Iraq … “shock and awe” a complete failure … commanders on the ground begging for reinforcements that aren’t going to be there for days … not-so-subtle hints that the war could drag on for months.

But on CBS’s 60 Minutes II, a very different picture: our forces facing harsher conditions and tougher fighting than expected, yes, but holding their own and beginning to distribute humanitarian aid in Umm Qasr … footage of civilians in that town (mostly children: beautiful, hopeless, struggling, heartbreaking children) crowding around military water trucks, carrying away the first potable water available there in more than a week, flashing the thumbs-up sign to the camera.

What to believe? (And am I the only one who thinks of Homer Simpson every time I hear the name “Umm Qasr”? <homer>”Mmmmm, qasr!”</homer>)