Thursday, January 27

A Thin Red Line

Dissent in wartime is a sticky thing. Especially in today's conflict where the foe is not a classic standup established state with a proud tradition and standing army, but a motley crew of terrorists. Terrorism by its very nature feeds on public perception and information. So the situation is a little unusual, in that much of the media feel the war is imprudent, unjust, or wrong, but the enemy needs their cooperation in order to exist. How then might they proceed in expressing their feelings, without helping terrorists, whom presumably they do not support.

One thing they might stop doing is what we all hear and read constantly. Tonight for example, while driving NPR reported on the day's occurrences in Iraq. Several IED's exploded attacking polling places, one mortar attack killed a US Marine, and there were several gunfights with small arms. What was left out, and there is not justification for this is what the American forces and our allies accomplished. For example:
  • Several IED's (car bombings) occurred. Were any discovered prior to going off? Reports that several are being found each day. Where's the scorecard? Why doesn't ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN have a scorecard of the allies successes, counting IEDs disabled?
  • A mortar attack occurred. What was the response? Was the attack foiled? Did they fire one mortar and run? Why is that not news?
  • Several small arms gun-fights occurred, no marine casualties were indicated. How about the terrorists? How did they fare.
  • If there is not information available today, were are the follow-up reports from yesterdays actions?
Why do we get no mention of what we are doing! These are our people. Why are their stories not important?

One suspects the reason is that NPR and/or the reporters in the field are feel more kinship with the enemy than with the marines. People who remember fondly the anarchist movements from the 70's, think Castro and "Che" were "heroes" of the people want to empathize with the little guy, the underdog, the oppressed. That this is not a very good description of Zarqawi, the Baathist thugs, and al-Qaeda operatives opposing the Marines in Iraq seems not to have sunk in yet.

But we would be amiss in not giving constructive advice. After all, their dilemma is real. They (rightly or wrongly) oppose our presence in Iraq, but are American. How then should they proceed? Earlier in the past election campaign, I proposed that the Kerry campaign and the MSM in criticizing a war in progress should be aware of the tightrope they walk between aiding and abetting the enemy and honest campaign rhetoric. The campaign is now over. I would ask, that the reporters ask themselves two questions as they write their reports on the war:
  1. Who benefits from this story? Keep a tally, if the answer keeps coming up, "the terrorists", then STOP IT and even the score up, do some reporting that benefits the Marines too.
  2. Remember your are an American. You have a vested interest in seeing us do well. Our troops will come home sooner and the War will cost less at the very least. Being biased towards your own country is a good thing.