Reports of War | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Reports of War
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PRESSING ONE’S LUCK
Re: George Neumayr’s Embedded Patsies:

Isn’t it amazing that liberalism doesn’t pose a threat to journalists’
objectivity, but being close to the military does?
Mary McLemore
Pike Road, AL

Thanks to George Neumayr for another outstanding article. This one got my blood boiling, but I’m predisposed to having articles on this subject get it boiling.
— unsigned

I flew F-100s in Vietnam in ’67 and ’68 and was there during the Tet offensive. Although the initial stages of that offensive were a surprise (we had “stood down” in respect to the Vietnamese holiday), it took only a few days to gain a remarkable advantage over enemy forces that heretofore had remained dispersed and covert. We flew close air support for our and South Vietnamese forces that rounded up and wiped out formations of North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong. In what appeared to be a major miscalculation by the communists, the local populace did not rise up in their support. Many of my squadron mates and I thought that this was a major turning point in the war and that it would soon be over.

While I felt that the war was a correct response to communist aggression (and still do), it would be disingenuous of me to say that I supported the way that our political leaders and top military leaders conducted that war. The objective of something less than victory led to an acceptance of sanctuaries and a focus on body counts to assess progress. Regardless, the one memory that still gnaws at me is the conduct of the news media. In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the editorialists, TV news performers, and headline writers treated the Tet offensive as a victory for the communists. In spite of strategic and tactical miscalculation on the part of the North Vietnamese, the leadership of the news media treated the North Vietnamese as master warriors who would prevail in any conflict, feeding doubt to the portions of the American citizenry.

Here we go again! The recent media focus on casualties, which remain low, and on the media’s own inference that our progress is less than planned, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand. In the run-up to the start of military operations in Iraq, the news media covered the so-called peace protests in ways that have ignored the odious nature of organizations, such as World Workers Party and ANSWER, that have been instrumental in coordinating these protests. It may be unfair and uncharitable to suspect the motives of our media elite, but the media elite occupy last place on my list of American political groups. They are not to be trusted.
Pat Birmingham
Hilton Head Island, SC

What a great article. This is an extension of the loss of control of the news by the few and their complaining about it. Been happening since 1990 and will continue to erode their “mind control.”
Bruce Peek

All the home-bound journalists who complain about the embedded reporters speaking well of those who would keep them alive fail to realize those same military people are also keeping them alive, albeit a little later.
Allan Thompson
Woburn, MA

BRAVE MAN
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Searching for Ernie Pyle:

Mr. Tyrrell’s comments about Ernie Pyle are a welcome reminder that high-tech video and fancy non-words like “embed” are no substitute for good writing. I was first turned on to Ernie Pyle as a young boy reading a 25-cent used collection of his columns called Brave Men. It remains one of the best books I’ve read, better than all the Gulf Wars reporting I’ve seen. Mr. Pyle was an extraordinarily gifted artist.

Today we generally have newsreaders dressed in the latest combat fashion, with no perspective beyond their location, saying absolutely nothing on video phone connections. How does David Bloom get his hair to do that? What will Geraldo find in Saddam’s crypt? Do I dare eat a peach?
Robert Martins
Alexandria, VA

After seeing the movie We Were Soldiers Iknew that Karl Rove would note the effect on the journalist who was under fire with the troops. It does change your “outlook.”

I remember Ernie Pyle. I think Ernie is back.
Annette Cwik

CORNERED
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski’s Some Instant Analysis (scroll down):

I ask, I receive. Thanks for the explanation, however brief. I concur, for what it’s worth, on how the war effort is going versus being reported. It is far better to not be glued to the tube or any instantaneous reporting medium. The tenor can be understood by “checking in” just a few times a day and trusting in our soldiers to do their job. How refreshing to have complete trust in the integrity and honor of the man who is President.
Roger Ross
Tomahawk, WI

TICK TALK
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Conservatives Get Liberal Talk Radio Wrong:

We received a call recently from our local public radio/TV outlet inquiring why we had not renewed our membership. I responded: “Two reasons — Bill Moyers and Daniel Schorr.” The volunteer who called dropped her voice and replied, “I understand.”
J. Shenk
Harrisburg, PA

Are you neglecting all the really interesting local talk radio stations such as KSFO? The national talk show hosts such as Rush, Michael Savage, etc.? Many of the local talk stations use national hosts such as Michael Reagan, Brian Wilson, Gordon Liddy and others who are fascinating. Even liberals like Bernie Ward and Ronn Owens can be interesting. Don’t like Ray Taliaferro? Sure he’s annoying like Noam Chomsky but it’s much more interesting than NPR. He doesn’t make believe he is giving news like NPR. He just tells it as he sees it. And he doesn’t beg for money.
— unsigned

THE DEATH DISEASE
Re: W. James Antle III’s The Abortion Debate’s Future:

I believe the abortion debate, and continuing cultural decline (i.e., assisted suicide, biotechnology, violence in our schools, political correctness, etc.) has served to clarify that these are symptoms and not the disease. Granted, symptoms must be treated, but we must also diagnose and treat the underlying disease.

An excellent, in-depth analysis of that disease and its cure is covered in a remarkable book published in October of 2000 entitled, Healing The Culture: A Commonsense Philosophy of Happiness, Freedom and the Life Issues, Ignatius Press, written by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., the President of Gonzaga University. It is the foundation for an educational project called, The Life Principles (website www.lifeprinciples.net),which is gaining remarkable success within a secular, and skeptical culture. In fact, we have been overwhelmed with request for materials and presentation, not only within the United States, but also from several countries on different continents.

Our cultural decline did not occur overnight, and will not be cured by the overturning of Roe v. Wade and its progeny. Those events would certainly help mitigate the symptoms however. But ideas do indeed have consequences, and it is upon the battlefield of the individual’s worldview that this will be won or lost. The continuing polarization of our culture serves to highlight how urgent the need is.
Dan L Kennedy, C.E.O.
Human Life of Washington
Center for Life Principles

BEN HUR, DONE THAT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s In the Middle of a Tremendous Fight:

In Secret of the Incas, Charlton Heston scares a hapless bar hound away from Nicole Maurey, telling him “I’m bigger than you.” Heston is bigger than the execrable Michael Moore in every sense but one — his fat rump. From most accounts you only have to know Moore to hate him, which I suppose tells everything about the no-talents now ruling films. A few years ago, the Detroit Free-Press couldn’t find room for Heston in its 100 famous Michiganians. If you know the Free-Press, you will accurately imagine how deep it had to go into the flotsam and jetsam washed up on our Great Lakes’ shores to accommodate its politically correct precepts.
J. R. Wheatley

BEST LAID PLANS
Re: Reid Collins’ Awe, Shocks:

I agree with Reid Collins about the initial stumbling in the war with Iraq. All the bragging about what we are going to do made me very nervous as it fell into the trap of telling the enemy just what our plans are. Better to have used Ike’s way of planning the Normandy invasion — shut the hell up and just do it. The attempt to nail Sodamn Insane just prior to the invasion gave support to the charge that the war is a personal thing between the Bush family and the Butcher of Baghdad. This gives ammo to the protestors who can now scribble up a whole new bunch of nasty signs to wave in front of the television cameras. It smacks of the same mistakes that are made when the politicians thousands of miles away make the tactical decisions when what should happen is that once the overall objective is established, leave it up to the military to carry out the plan. Huffing and puffing in front of the press looks foolish, especially when things don’t go as advertised.

Since some of our support element troops have been captured and taken hostage — no way are they POWs — and our ground forces are temporarily stalled up against increased resistance, there are mutterings that the war is not going well. Wars never go as planned on paper because there is always the element of surprise and the military leadership of the Iraqis is not made up of fools. I understand that there are still some 6 divisions of hard-core and dedicated Iraqi troops yet to be engaged. They knew we were coming and have had time to plan specific and clever ways to stall us. Plus, they are fighting in their homeland while we have to transport ever bullet, biscuit and bomb thousands of miles just to get into the neighborhood. With our recon and armored divisions moving at a 100 mile per day pace, the supply and maintenance lines are stretched thin and the personnel involved do not have the training or firepower of our front line assault soldiers. The Iraqi stealth fighters hunker down as the bombs fall and our best troops pass through on toward Baghdad. It is after they have cleared that the Iraqis come out of their holes and do their dirty deeds. We need to provide cover and protection of our support troops and attach rat hunting units to root out the enemy tucked away. Otherwise, we may very well repeat the mistakes the Russians made in Afghanistan and end up bloody and beaten by a ragged native enemy.
Al Martin
Depoe Bay, OR

I believe we have Torie Clarke to thank for this war’s plan. Is it possible that she’s the real Sec. of Defense and Rumsfeld is only the titular head? .
D. Sevakis
Bloomfield, MI

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