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May 20, 2004

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Comments

chap

Man, that was fast! You got Instalanched, pal!

Good points. I commented a little, too, over at my place. Maybe what we need is a 45th Civilian Truth Battalion or something...

Anon421

I think the military and the Administration is HORRIBLE at PR. Hell, AQ seems to have better PR than us.

Seriously, how about some photos from the ground, guys? Soldiers doing good stuff? Rebuilding efforts? Handing out toys? Bad guys shooting from mosques or from behind women/children?

*SIGH*

Oh and while I usually love R.Peters comments, I agree with you on them. Speed also breeds sloppiness. It's better to do it right than do it fast.

JosephMendiola

It is illogical to to categorize a sector of American journalism as "LeftMedia" or "Liberal Media" but NOT believe those under these labels are non-partisan, even if only benign. For me Peters is being logical, pragmatic, and realistic in this instance, as many soldiers will try to be, as based on their level of combat and general military experience - field soldiers in 'kill or be killed", "life or death", "honor or cowardice" combat situations will perceive their personal, survivor-oriented views as being more honest and realistic than anything they read or hear from their families or the regular medias. He is hearing in the news that his President and the duly elected Party in power is "wrong", "deceitful" and "cannot be trusted" - ditto for his country America, and exclusive of his President and his country also being labeled as "arrogant" and "imperialist". The modern American warrior is taught that, amongst other things, he or she is America's representative oversea, ergo what is criticized about America, and the American way of doing things, WILL BE INTERPRETED BY MOST SOLDIERS AS A DIRECT CRITICISM OF THEM PERSONALLY, AS MEN-WOMEN, WARRIORS, SOLDIERS, AMERICANS AND HUMAN BEINGS, NO MATTER THE POLITICIZED WHITEWASH! Iff the American press or related information mediums are to exclaim their non-partisanship in all things, LET THEM PROVE IT, AND PROVE IT WITHOUT THE AMERICAN VOTER OR AMERICAN WARRIOR HAVING TO GUESS AT WHAT IS BEING SAID - TRUTH, RIGHT, AND HONOR CAN TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES NO MATTER THE LEVEL OF SPECUALTIVE OR OBJECTIVE RESISTANCE!

Analog Roam

You are wrong. The media needs to be targeted. They are TRAITORS. I'm not suggesting anything too overt, just an accident here and there.

-AR

Diggs

Joseph and Analog, I will agree that a lot of what the media is printing, is, or borders on, traitorous. I tried to make the point that I agree with Peters on that part of his article. And it may make soldiers feel as though they aren't being well represented by their own country's media, which I believe is also true. But I can't agree that there is some way we can alter our mission(s), tactical or strategic, to accomodate for this bias.
It is clearly out of line with the military's mission (for the Army, that is to fight and win decisively, America's ground wars).

Dave

Agree on Peters' prescription being wrong, and wanted to make a note of some attitudes of his that bug me:

1) Apparently, anything less that overwhelming, immediate use of force in (insert trouble spot here) means we've lost. Especially if the media reports it wrong - there's no possibility, in Ralph Peters' worldview, that, oh, say, the Iraqi civilians have already learned long ago to take Al-Jazeera with a HUGE lump of salt.

2) Anything that goes wrong is, according to Ralph Peters, the direct and immediate fault of Donald Rumsfeld. For reasons beyond my ken, Peters absolutely loathes Rumsfeld, and can find no good in anything he does. And this is a clear bias, apparently grounded in emotion, in just about everything he writes... and apparently Peters has no problem with never checking his biases when he does analysis.

Carol in California

Ralph Peters is a diehard McCainiac. He's been on Rumsfeld's case because Rumsfeld has been very efficient. And, the kinds of things Peters wants from the military is much more beaurucratic. In other words, Peters isn't a Bush man; and isn't too concerned with the Kerry/Clinton world's eye view of things. As long as the people who get into power are friends of his. And, then he can boast of his prowess. Pretty Lame.

Dave

May I quote you, Carol, in an upcoming post on my blog?

holdfast

Ralph Peters is pretty smart, though not always right. He also watches / reads a lot more foreign press than even most well-informed Americans. This colours his viewpoint, because he sees a lot of the outright agitprop that is disseminated in EURabia. Most "mainstream" American press is at least somewhat subtle and restrained; not so the BBC, AFp, Al Jazeera et al. I think his point is that if 90% of the people (not governments)on this planet come to believe that Americans are a bunch of baby-bayoneting psychos, then we'll soon be completely isolated, and totally unable to win the WOT. I'm not sure that he's right, but it sure looks like a possibility.

One has to remember that the American press is trying to demoralize Americans and cause the downfall of Bush, but that they are aware that they cannot go "too far" - they can't look like they really favour the enemy and they have to pretend to care about the welfare of the troops (even as they try to portray them as victims). The foreign media has no such constraints - and is free to lie, spin, demonize whatever. And they do. And they are.

Unfortunately, the military plays their game. To my knowledge, nothing in the US Constitution requires a US General to answer questions from some Al Jazeera scumbag who was probably on Saddam's payroll, and certainly is encouraging the terrorists in Iraq. There's no point play that game, because it's rigged. I want to hear Gen Kimmit respond to one of these questions by saying "Sir, every word of you so-called question was a lie, including and and the. As far as I'm concerned, you're nothing but a shcill for the enemy - now take your question, cram it up your ass sideways and get the hell out of my tent - you can come back when you decide to act like a real journalist."

dubai1950

the western media has assumed the role of "toyko rose". however in these early days of the WOT the impact is not only on soldiers but all of us, at home and abroad.

one lucianne poster said it best in the may sweeps of the abu graib crisis..."if you feel rotten, cheer up...that's what the n.y. times wants you to feel...it's their number one objective."

i live and work in the gulf. i have had a business here for 15 years. these news organizations are supplying every arab critic, every islamofacist with one hell of a lot of talking point. and yes, i'm pissed because now it is impacting my business. i'm american...my services suck.

hey thats' life but i seem to remember that we once beat our collective chests, at the appointment of gen. john abuzaid...first arab-american commander. he was poised to win hearts and minds being bi-lingual (arab-english) and an american second generation success story.

well, were's john these days. couldn't he just suit up in commander gear and speak to the iraqi people weekly. couldn't he talk about the promise of the future (like fdr).

guess what, the iraqis really want to hear more from the americans than from their own slime filled media. i've been in iraq over 12 times and this is a fact.

war provides news projected against a dream of a just cause. why not fill in the blanks.

hey john, like start dreaming with the people your forces are now occupying!!!!! they need the dreams more than the high fives from the troops!!!!!

Duane

The big error in Diggs' post is the implicit assumption in paragraph 8 or so that the State Department is on the side of America in the WOT. Powell is a good soldier, and Bolton is a warrior, but if you look at ME policies, you get William Burns, Tom Friedman's in-house flack- and that is all anti-Israel, defer to France, surrender to Kofi, and fake the evidence where necessary.

Louis Wheeler

Mr. Peters is wrong here. Propaganda and disinformation are often used in war, but we can't fight the propaganda war like a regular war. The proper antidote for falsehood is truth. The proper remedy for false Media are reformed Media; one dedicated to telling us facts, not opinions. One that informs us of its biases rather than pretending to be unbiased.

The War on Terror is an infant. It, like any other war, will have its ups and downs. It will last for decades and most of our institutions, such as the State Department, are unprepared for it. They are still aimed at the last war-- the Cold War. The WOT will upset many institutions in its wake; the Media are just one.

The Media has a leftist bias, but it is wrong to think of it as a monolith. Some people in the Media exaggerate the truth because, to them, it makes a better story. Some exaggerate because it confirms their prejudices. But, there is a danger here: the Media are a brand, and are important only to the extent that they are believed. They can succeed in distorting the truth only if their message is received uncritically. The WOT has cost the Media enormous credibility; people are going around them to get at the news. Soon, if they don't wise up, only fools and fellow travelers will listen to them.

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