October 01, 2005


Sometimes I just get so frustrated that I don't know why I bother caring.

I was interested in reading this blog entry dubunking the recruiting slump, but as I dove deeper into the comments section, I found we're still arguing over whether Iraq had any ties to al Qaeda. My comments section recently went through a fight over whether Iraq had any WMDs. Everywhere I look, we're still arguing over the same fundamental differences in common ground that we've been arguing over for three years.

The straw that broke my back this morning was one quote from Kersten's article:

"The more play the press gives Cindy Sheehan," [Lt. Col. James] MacVarish concludes, "the better the terrorists' chances are of ultimately succeeding here."

We've heard this before, with CPT Powell being the most famous to point out the difference between the Iraq soldiers see and the Iraq the media sees. But this is nothing new; we've been having these fights with the press since the Tet Offensive. It's extremely infuriating to know that we learned nothing from the last time around. Negative press can lose wars, even if the military is winning. The thing is, I've heard this statement made in just about every letter to the editor and article written by people in the military, yet the media keeps ramming bad news down our throats. They completely ignore the men they're interviewing and continue doing whatever they want.

I'm just tired of seeing the same things played out on the internet over and over. Tired of every discussion turing into WMDs and Bush lied. Tired of reading scores of ignored soldier complaints that the media is being too pessimistic. Tired of nothing changing.

Posted by: Sarah at 05:37 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 288 words, total size 2 kb.

1 ...and gosh, and one of the guys spewing the same old talking points has appeared in other comments sections as well... spewing the same things. Surprise, surprise. Sarah: I suspect it's part of what counts as a strategy for them. Keep spewing the same points over and over, ignore any refutations, and when people just get tired of the whole thing and don't bother meeting any or all of the same darned points they keep spewing THEN they claim victory. It's a tactic older than Usenet. Though when DejaNews came out, that tactic became a bit less useful since one could simply run a search and gosh, find all the refutations the poster claimed never happened actually were made months or years before when the poster tried it the first few times. Then post the results and watch the person making the claims that no one had refuted them sputter and try to pretend they didn't exist.

Posted by: Patrick Chester at October 01, 2005 06:41 AM (74cXW)

2 Sarah... I understand your frustration with the way the media seemingly refuses to look at issues through any other lens than the one they choose. If you spend more than 5 minutes at some of the larger milblogger sites, you know as well as I do, that there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines doing things that would make Mother Theresa smile from ear to ear. On the flip side, there are a handful of bad apples that would make her reach for the metal-edged ruler and wield it like a Jedi Knight as well. Unfortunately, the bad apples get all the ink and air time. Keep the faith...and keep up the fire. While we might not be as highly trafficked blogs as the "big guys" we are definitely making a difference. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. You, me, and all the other like-minded bloggers are doing something! MajorDad1984

Posted by: MajorDad1984 at October 01, 2005 09:34 AM (tdEnf)

3 The soldiers' perspective is certainly part of the story. At the same time, though, I don't think that line soldiers are necessarily the best observers of how the war as a whole is going. The qualities that make for a good soldier woould probably get in the way of objective assessments. It is like asking the players on a football team what their chances of winning the game are. They could be down 28-0 at halftime, but many will probably still be optimistic about their ability to come back. They're competitors, and they've got to convince themselves that they have the potential to come back. If you couldn't get yourself psyched up this way, you wouldn't be a good football player. I always want my Steelers to think they are still in the game, no matter how bad it looks for them. Still, if I'm on the outside trying to decide who is going to win, then I'm not going to take a player's opinion as the final word on the subject. I'm not saying that we are beind 28-0 in Iraq; I am just saying that there is such a thing as being too close to and involved in a situation to be able to see it as it really is. Also, I think that there is an attitude that military/ex-military people tend to take about dissent during wartime that is understandable but dangerous. When you're in the military, there is little or no role for dissent from the leadership. If you are at the lower levels, maybe it is never appropriate. Maybe higher level offices get to dissent to a point, during planning, but when they are given a legal order they are supposed to obey it. It has to be that way, and it is admirable that people in the military are able to abide by this requirement. A military unit couldn't function if people were arguing and criticizing the leadership; they tried it in the Spanish Civil War and got crushed by the fascists. Even during wartime, though, the U.S. is not a military unit. We are a democracy, and dissent and criticism are always permitted. My impression is that people who have had the importance of getting everyone on the same page and doing what they're told instilled into them sometimes find democracy a little hard to cope with. They expect the country to function as a team united behind its leadership. That isn't democracy, though. We have to choose the leadership, and in order to make informed decisions we have to be able to criticize their performance.

Posted by: Pericles at October 01, 2005 10:13 AM (EpPuP)

4 Hmm. I'm pretty sure I'm a member of ex-military democracy and I'm pretty sure that I'm behind the war in Iraq and our president because I think it's the right thing - in SPITE of the media telliing me over and over that I'm wrong. And military leaders do listen to dissent, contrary to what Pericles would like to believe. But reasoned, rational dissent used to discuss various outcomes so that a good decision can be made - we don't listen to people without solutions, just more ways of describing problems. That's not dissent, that's just the jabbering of parrots, to paraphrase that great statesman, Winston Churchill. The problem with the media is that they do not present a balanced picture of the situation. To use Pericles' football analogy, at halftime the score could be Iraqi Insurgents 3 - American Soldiers 43 and the headline would be "American Soldiers Slip Up - Iraqis Score" and that would be IT, except for interviews with anyone around who agrees with the negative assessment. Soldiers on the ground might not be able to see the big picture, but they can certainly see it better than persons at home being spoonfed every negative aspect the press can dig up. The point is whether reporters are deliberately trying to help the anti-war movement by over-emphasizing certain stories - *cough, Sheehan, cough* - and ignoring any story that would cause stateside citizens to have pride in the military and the achievements in Iraq that have helped the population and begun to build bridges with the new government. In reality, the large part of the population of the U.S.that supports our efforts in Iraq has no voice. In today's age, dissent and criticism of the President, the war or anything related are golden cows, to be coddled and presented with dinner on the nightly news (if you still watch it.) And no DISSENT from any other citizen will be allowed in there to crowd the,uh, DISSENT from our Cindy or others like her.

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 01, 2005 02:10 PM (iA6ia)

5 Sorry, Pericles, I just re-read my post and I don't mean to take you on personally, just the generalizations. (And, of course, add generalizations of my own, as one does!) I guess we're not going to change each other's opinions, but it's fun to try, isn't it?

Posted by: Oda Mae at October 01, 2005 02:38 PM (iA6ia)

6 Oda Mae---No worries. We disagree, but your post didn't close to any lines of civilized discussion, let alone cross any.

Posted by: Pericles at October 01, 2005 03:39 PM (EpPuP)

7 I've been thinking a lot about the press over the last few months. But there are a few things new out. More conservatives are on the air with Rush and Fox News. And don't forget blogs. Newspaper articles now quote them and some are a source for articles because they are so well researched. Our kids are also becoming increasingly conservative. Our press is now selling sensationalism and emotion, not news. To believe our own press we are going to hell in a hand basket, we are a country of greedy, racist wimps, etc. We have problems, and we need to keep working on them, but we are at the top of the world heap in many respects. My real problem with the press is only whiners get on TV (Hurricane Katrina). Where are the heroes, the people responsible for themselves that will rebuild without help from the government? Whiners, not heroes. Hopelessness, not hope. On the brighter side, many see us like our press reports us, not as we are. Al Queda seriously underestimated us, as do many others; including ourselves. DonÂ’t forget the silent majority. Those productive folks in the middle that work day after day, deal with what life throws at them and continue to build this country. Our wimp ratio is much lower than reported.

Posted by: Xopherman at October 02, 2005 10:18 AM (0FvF9)

8 I don't watch that much TV news, but I just turned on CNN and there was a report the troops in Iraq. They showed a Marine being presented with a silver star, talked some about what he did to earn it, talked a little about an attack in which he was wounded. He did a lot of the talking, and at the end he said quite a bit about how the troops there believe the mission is sound, are glad to be doing it, etc. Nothing the reporter did could be considered as expressing scepticism. It was exactly the kind of report that some people here seem to insist doesn't exist, and it was on the---what do right-wingers call it?---the "Comminust News Network." Makes me wonder if press negativity about the war is somewhat exaggerated. I don't doubt that the people who talk about it really believe it, but maybe their perception is a little off.

Posted by: Pericles at October 02, 2005 08:02 PM (EpPuP)

9 On the recruiting slump, by the way, this comes close to lying with numbers. It may look like goals aren't being missed by much, but the thing is that they are reducing the goals. Just in February alone, new enlistments were over 1,900 below the goal. In May, the Army fell over 1,600 below its goal. PLUS, in May the Army actually dropped its goal to 6,070 from 8,050. It missed its original goal for that month alone by about 3,000.

Posted by: Pericles at October 04, 2005 07:55 AM (EpPuP)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
50kb generated in CPU 0.0151, elapsed 0.0873 seconds.
48 queries taking 0.0762 seconds, 144 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.