There seems to be at the very least, 5 types of Western style journalists covering the war.
1) There are the “Imbedded” journalists who are attached to military groups, very often at the front lines, and within the thick of the battles. And with them, I will include the non imbedded, but equally front line “Independent” journalists.
2) There are “Press Room” journalists who attend the many press conferences, where they hear the daily battle reports and pepper the military officer who is delivering the briefing with as many questions as they can conceive.
3) There are “Network News” commentators such as Jennings, Rather and Brokaw. As well as their “Cable News” counterparts.
4) There are the television “Talking Heads” who “explain” to their audience what is happening as “they” see it.
5) And then there are the “Radio Talk Show” hosts who get a chance to rant, and let their audiences rant right along with them.
I like the Talk Show Hosts and the Front Line Journalists.
However; the only journalists of any consequence in my mind, are the front line Imbedded and Independent journalists. These men and women know from what they speak. They are feeling the senses associated with war. They smell the fear, feel the adrenalin and see first hand what the rest of us can hardly imagine.
All the others are nothing more than a side show.
If you listen to the front line journalists; you will hear how brave, organized, humane, well trained, patriotic, intelligent and disciplined the coalition troops are. You will also hear how savage the enemy is. And how the enemy is CREAMED during each encounter with coalition forces. Even when they get the drop on the coalition forces.
BUT – When you listen to the other journalists, all you hear is how badly the coalition is doing:
1) The supply lines are too long.
2) There aren’t enough coalition troops to do the job.
3) We’re NOT in Bagdad yet.
4) The Iraqis are moving the Republican Guards in a counter attack. Woe-be-us.
5) We’re not delivering enough humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people.
6) We’ve bombed civilians – 15 died in Bagdad.
7) We haven’t found WMD.
8) Why haven’t we taken Basra?
9) Why aren’t the military press corps more forthcoming?
To hear these characters, you’d think the coalition forces are taking a pounding. Yet; as of this writing:
1) The coalition has NOT lost one battle.
2) The coalition is knocking on the door to Bagdad.
3) The coalition owns the skies.
4) Fewer than 50 coalition soldiers have been killed in battle.
5) More FRESH coalition troops are entering the battle everyday.
6) There is now a coalition front on all sides against the Iraqis. Including from the North.
I have watched and read the extraordinary coverage given to the destruction in the Bagdad market, that perhaps killed 15 civilians. And to listen to the NON front line journalists, it’s almost as if the coalition forces have committed a serial crime against humanity.
The coalition leadership says that they seriously doubt if it was one of their weapons which blew up that part of the market. And they strongly suggest that it was done by the Iraqis who are firing their missiles blind. But that isn’t good enough for the media. As far as they’re concerned, it’s the fault of the coalition until proven otherwise.
I wish these same media would have been just as concerned about Jewish Israeli lives which have been shattered for years, every time a Palestinian suicide murderer, or sniper, or bomber wiped out totally innocent and unarmed Israeli and Jewish civilians in deliberate acts of murder, very often financed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
The fact that ONLY perhaps 15 people have been killed in Bagdad to this date, is a testament to the care that the coalition is taking to prevent collateral and civilian damage. More interestingly, this fact seems to be entirely lost on the non front line media.
The fact that Saddam’s henchmen, who are murdering civilians, wearing civilian clothing during battle, surrendering under a white flag, then opening fire on coalition forces, also seems to be lost on the non front line journalists.
As I see it; there are several enemies lined up against the coalition forces. There are the Iraqis, the uninspired UN led by France, and the non front line journalists.
The coalition is doing GREAT. The soldiers are doing GREAT. And Iraq troops are proving to be a joke, in spite of how the non front line journalists are portraying them.
The Republican Guards are only tough when it comes to fighting unarmed civilians. And when the big fights erupt, the Guards and their terrorist Gestapo-like buddies get the crap kicked out of them. But all of that seems not to matter to the non front line journalists.
I still contend that this war will be over in a matter of days. Not weeks. And certainly not months. The mopping up might take a considerable amount of time. But not the overall victory.
I have enormous faith in the brilliance, equipment, technology and professionalism of the coalition military, especially the Americans; from the very top of their command to the grunts in the field.
This is an exceptional all volunteer army of dedicated and skilled individuals. And when they’re ready to lower the boom on Saddam and his thugs, that will be the moment it will all be over. And the boom is on the horizon in spite of what the non front line journalists have to say.
If you listen to the non front line journalists, the coalition is in trouble. If you listen to the Journalists in the thick of it, the coalition is kicking ass. Guess which type of journalist I intend to listen to?