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July 25, 2011

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Murphy's Law

Ted Rall: The Hanoi Jane of today's generation. I guess in his mind, being "objective" means using his pen to attack our troops and undermine their mission. I suspect that the real reason that Ted Rall cannot embed with US troops is that he's afraid that he'd soon run into some who've seen his treasonous slander pieces. Since Ted thinks that maimed and dead US troops are funny, I'm sure that there are more than a few of us willing to give him something to really laugh about.

Anonymous Douchebag

"Murphy's Law": The armchair general of our generation. A man who does not care for the truth or for the wasted lives of our soldiers fighting for a cause that we may never know the justness of, because not enough people like Ted Rall are covering the other side of the coin. A man who loves to make veiled threats of violence upon personal encounter, yet probably is just someone who could "get a gun if he wanted to" and has a frustrating sex life.

Zillah

I really don't see how trying to be objective when reporting on a war would be at all hurtful to US troops. A clear and unbiased account of events (the truth) is the best way to use those events to determine the best course of action for the future. BS hurts the troops. BS makes decision making extremely difficult. In a war where the opinion of the locals is extremely crucial to the warmaking ability of the enemy, accounts from people other than US military officers (who usually aren't even in the firefights) is a very useful tool. Seriously, Captains and above hear about what's going on over a radio. They often have a more complete picture of the battle space than a SPC or Marine CPL who see the battle space from one position, but officers rarely have a first hand account of critical events. Obviously this is not always the case but, when things go right, this is the case.

ralph s.

My government is unconstitutional. Let's start with that. But when my country is attacked as is was 11 years ago, even I feel a need to defend it. Yet sometimes I wonder why?

Spacious Specious

Yes, Murphy's Law, I can't help but see that this article makes an excellent point about the disservice "embedded" journalism does to the American people and our troops. But since you find the messenger to be objectionable, I will ignore the message. Let the cynical use of American loyalty continue uninterrupted.

By the way, the unironic use of the phrase "Hanoi Jane" makes you much older than me. How's retirement treating you? You must be deeply concerned about your Medicare.

marv

Great and factual articles by Ted.Ur "Censorship of war casualties in the US" Well written and a favorite of many is a keeper.
My BS detector is quiet.
Marvin Shumates Guntersville Ala (4generations)

Jimmy

I really enjoyed reading the two contrasting pieces and found both arguments to be well reasoned. I think Mr Rall is right when he talks about the importance of looking at the effects of military conflict on those that it is inflicted on rather than just our troops (I'm a kiwi but I think we can paint western media with a fairly broad brush).

And here comes the but. For all those interventions and invasions that have occurred since, lets go with WWI, when have journalists managed to a) get an accurate portrayal of life on the 'other side' and then b) convince the editors back home that it should be published. Your identifying of Robert Fisk is key here, a man who has gotten to the crux of issues like human rights abuses during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon only to be refused column inches by his paper. Isn't both embedding, and reporting only from 'our' side, a norm that is only now being tested.

The internet has really been a god-sent in this regard, removing the difficulties of getting information to a large audience. So, rather than being in an age of domination by embedding, aren't we really looking at the beginning of a time when we can finally move past it?

Tim

Ted - I think your statement regarding Robert Fisk is in error; in his memoir 'The Great War for Civilisation' (which contains similar outrage about the practice of embedding) Fisk states that whilst he held the gun, he didn't fire it. Nonetheless the incident caused him a great deal of regret and a reprimand from his employer...The Times!! Perhaps a better example would have been the experiences of journos like Michael Herr and Tim Page in Vietnam, who actually did fire back on occasion.. Singling out Fisk, who has done more than most (3 interviews with bin Laden, his reporting from all sides in Lebanon and Syria) to get the story from all sides, and in fact shares your view of embedded journalism, detracts from your argument.

Nonetheless, point well taken. Not that some journalists shouldn't travel with 'their' troops (the grunt's-eye view being radically different from that of their commanders), but as you say, the ratio of embedding to independent reporting is disastrous to the public's perspective on war. I live in Australia where military censorship of journalists embedded with our token Afghan force is near-complete...disturbingly, Australian journalists regard the US military as open by comparison!

MBT Online

I just realized I'll still be typing next week if I keep talking about the great stuff we've gotten, so I'm going to list it!

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