2004-12-10

A Journalist by any other name ...


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On had to wonder when embedded reporters would return to being "journalists," i.e. those who distort and manipulate in order to advance a, in most cases, liberal agenda. Last month we had the mosque shooting. Now WaPo reports that an embedded journalist prompted a soldier's recent question to Sec of Defense Rumsfeld.

Now, let's be clear. I'm not suggesting that the question wasn't valid. It was. The discussion should be had, and the problem fixed. However, when raising the issue becomes secondary to stirring up division and undermining the cohesiveness of our fighting force, you belong behind a desk in New York, not on the front line.

A military member would never address a superior in the manner that this soldier addressed the #2 man in his chain of command without prompting. I've reconciled myself to general media bias but this continued abuse of our military and military protocol sickens me.

The difference between a military man and a journalist: journalists are beginning to seize upon opportunities to betray their host units, but if things get dicey and the unit comes under attack those same fighting men will walk through fire to preserve the life of the journalist.

Send the reporters home. You can malign and deceive just as well from the US, and do so without further complicating the job our soldiers are doing.

That said, it's a shame that the core issue in the soldier's question is being lost amid the firestorm surrounding the reporter's involvement.

When you send someone to do a job, you equip them for that job, period.

Part of the problem was our military not anticipating the nature of the war that would unfold. I don't fault leadership for this. Some things you just can't know until they happen. At this point however, we should have plenty of information as to the challenges we are facing and the equipment that will most effictively counterract them.

This brings us to the second part of the problem: our military's supply system is archaic. Because our military's mission in war or peace-time is hyper-critical, there is a reluctance to trust relatively new technology and logistic procedures. I was in nuclear power where a dose of caution is healthy. When it comes to supply however, there is so much efficiency to be gained from an agressive overhaul of policies and procedures.

Which brings us to the final, and most deeply entrenched part of the problem. Congress has too much say in the military procurement process. One would think that military leaders should be deciding what systems are needed to fight and defend in the 21st century ... and one would be wrong. Such decisions are made by horse-trading on Capitol Hill. Effectiveness is secondary. Which Congressional districts should receive or lose jobs is the primary consideration.

So, an issue has been raised, albeit in a somewhat inappropriate manner. Let's see if the MSM can move beyond their "sky is falling in Iraq" story and get at the roots of the problem. I'm not holding my breath.

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