One Veteran's Voice

12 December 2005

Shoot the messenger


"When the policy doesn't work, shoot the messenger," Halberstam says. "When the policy doesn't work or is seriously flawed, you go after the press, and certainly that happened in Vietnam. What was particularly odious is that if we were writing pessimistically, they'd say we were insulting the soldiers of an ally and insulting the U.S. military. As the people in the field were suppressed, they turned to the journalists, and we became their outlets."
The reason the press reports on car bombs, killings, assasinations, white phosphorus, phoney news stories, suicide bombers, and all the bad things is that if they didn't, the public would never hear about them. You think this administration would tell you? It's hard enough to get the truth out of them under oath. Another choice quote from the article.
"I understand there may be great pressure on many of them to tell a dramatic story," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said last week. "And while it's easy to use a bombing or a terrorist attack to support that interest, it is not always the most accurate story, or at least not the full story."
Would the Secretary of Defense tell the press to start looking on the bright side if a suicide car bomb exploded in Times Square? It's news, it's dramatic, and all the violence isn't some media creation.
Michael Ware, Time's Baghdad correspondent, calls this administration spin.

"It is so far from the truth on the ground it's almost indescribable," he says. "The defining quality of the Iraq story is the horror. It is a war, and it is awful, and bloody, and vicious, and brutal on all sides. To devote your energies to making that day's story the opening of a health clinic is almost irresponsible."
Let me just say that unless things have changed drastically in the last few months, we're really not doing that much reconstruction in Iraq. Electricity production (the number 1 bitch/gripe I heard from Iraqis, especially in the summer) is still less than under Saddam. It's been years since the invasion. We give away shitloads of money to these Iraqi and US contractors to build stuff, and sometimes it gets built. Sometimes the money gets embezzled. Sometimes there is too much fighting going on to get anything constructive done.

Rumsfeld would like nothing more than for all those stories to just go away. Ignorance is bliss.

I thought the comparison to Robert McNamara was interesting. If you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out The Fog of War. A well done cinematic look at how an otherwise sane and rational man can get sucked into flawed policy and end up looking like an ass.

2 Other Voices:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what day it was or who was at the meeting, but somewhere along the line somebody decided that facts are a liberal media bias. If enough people say it loud enough, long enough then those like Rummy who are incompetent at best and delusional at worse get a free ticket because the refs (journalists) are just reporting a biased point of view ( all the facts good, bad, whatever). In 1984 Orwell call it the eventual product of subversion of reality, the reality of the powers that be, doublespeak.
Most of the media is trying to do a good job, but the networks especially know that if they report all the unvarnished facts it turns off viewers and they lose revenue.
From what I've seen and read the boots on the ground are doing the best they can, credit where its do. Its the war managers that need to get their head out of their arse.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush said of the war in Iraq: "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

ps. if you haven't already list your blog at technorati and truth laid bare, I like your blog, but theres like millions of blogs and anything you can do to increase traffic might get you some more readers.

just started reading this one recently got it from pandagon's blog roll.
http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/

12/13/2005 08:07:23 AM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

my blog is listed, tell a friend

thanks for reading,
Brian

12/13/2005 12:45:31 PM  

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