Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Loose Lips Sink Ships" The military must certainly be deceptive

With all due respect to the American media, which I've been part of since I was 14, 52 years ago., I can't readily understand the critique of the American military these days for fashioning deceptive announcements about its war operations and plans.

Would anyone in his right mind suggest that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower should have announced in advance his plan to invade Europe by sending troops ashore in Normandy? Or Gen. Douglas MacArthur should have announced in advance the Inchon landings?

War cannot easily be waged successfully without deception. And the press covering a war either has to be completely reliable in its agreement not to reveal future operations, thereby accepting censorship, or resign itself to be deceived quite a bit of the time. I think the latter may actually be preferable. It's foolhardy for officials to pass out sensitive information and put it off the record, unless they actually want it to get out, and this is true not only in war. Wasn't it John F. Kennedy who once observed that if he wanted to get something out everywhere in the press, he would call up a few reporters and put it deepest darkest off the record. He could be assured it would be out within hours. The number of reporters who adhere to a pledge to truly keep it off the record is severely limited. They tell their editors, their friends, their wives and lovers, and then, presto, it's out!

The embedding of reporters with military units in Iraq has frequently worked out well enough, and probably should continue. But I remember when I asked one Times reporter who had been embedded in a unit in the 2003 Iraq invasion, whether he was impressed with American officers, he replied, "They are very efficient killers." At least, I thought he was being honest.

There's always going to be a strained relationship between the media and the military. They have different missions to perform. The media must do its best to follow the war, but the military's job is to win the war, and the two missions are not particularly compatible.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: Why the news media wants the United States military to fail.

Because the news media is made up of failures who hate--HATE--success. And if a few military personnel get killed, so much the better. The news media is made up of draft dodgers and traitors to the United States of America.

12/18/2004 5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with deceptive news releases from the military to an unquestioning media, is that once a trend starts, the act of deceiving will continue until a major event that cannot be concealed will unravel the deception. How many times did we kill "Chemical" Ali in Iraq before we captured him? How many times in the last month has the media reported the stunning success of our military invasion of Fallujah, then again in mid-December I hear of more battles in Fallujah. How much bullshit do you in the media have to be fed by the military before you actually ask a question to the military about the accuracy of their information? Why don't you idiots ask the military why they attacked hospitals in Fallujah first in the assault? The military did not want casualty information from the hospitals to be released by hospital staff. At the present time the military is blaming the violence in Iraq on the upcoming elections. What a pile of crap, this violence will continue after the elections because it's not the elections, it's the occupation stupid.

12/18/2004 9:29 PM  
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