Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Proof that we are fundamentally unserious.

Would Ernie Pyle have interviewed Rommel at a secret, undisclosed location?

Hey, Mr. Obama; if you waterboard Nic Robertson, he could give you the address of a Taliban safehouse...


perlhaqr said...

Meh. CNN reports our troop movements to the enemy all the time. It's about time we use them in reverse. I think it's likely way smarter to not force Nic to give up this safehouse, and instead to hopefully dangle him as publicity bait for the tangos, and net us more of their strategy.

Anonymous said...

Screw this politically motivated waste of time.

Tam said...

Yup. Fundamentally unserious.

JohnRJ08 said...

Hogwash. Dan Rather interviewed Saddam Hussein when he was holding American workers as virtual hostages. The press attended and reported on news conferences held by the Taliban prior to our invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Peter Bergin interviewed Osama Bin Laden, as did other reporters in the 1990's. Mike Wallace interviewed Ayatollah Khomeini after his take over of Iran. To say that reporters should just interview our friends and allies is rubbish. By the way, if CNN knows our troop movements, don't you think everybody else knows them, too?

Tam said...

Hogwash yourself. And next time, look for a comparison that makes sense.

Primus: In none of those cases did we actually have troops in the field engaging the foe. We had reporters in Berlin in 1941, too, if you feel like stretching comparisons.

Secundus: Nowhere did I say that reporters should only interview our allies. They should not, however, be giving aid and comfort to people with whom we are actively trading shots, nor promising to keep secret the location of wanted fugitives. Suppose Nic was interviewing the man who was holding your wife hostage, on the condition that his location be kept "off-the-record"? Would he just be doing his reporterly duties then?

Tam said...

Further, when I say that we are fundamentally unserious about this, don't mistake it for a statement from your narrow background of "Obama vs. The Party of No".

We haven't been serious about war since the 1950s.

OperationNorthwoods said...

The CFR and financier types are pretty serious about using war to turn the US into the USSA, or at least a big banana republic. It's just hard for the average person or newsman to treat some of our forever wars seriously. Are we still looking for bin Ladin? Is the military announcing that they've captured somebody that we supposedly killed or captured several times before?

atlharp said...

I think we fail to remember concerning either the Taliban or Al Qaeda; that they do what they do for the journalists. These guys use journalists for their own agendas. That is why CNN was running news copy through Saddam's Ministry of Information. That is the cost of them doing business in Iraq (and if you ask me: Cuba).

Giving aid and comfort? Hell these guys would buy them a round drinks and offer up their sisters for chance for an exclusive!

JohnRJ08 said...

Hogwash back. Next time, write a blog that makes some sense. How does having a reporter interview a terrorist make anybody "unserious" about the Taliban? Post hoc fallacy. More comparisons that you probably think don't make sense are that leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, Cuba, Libya, and, more recently, Iran have all been interviewed by the press. Does this mean that we were "unserious" about all of them, or just those that you think we're "unserious" about? Terrorists and leaders of rogue states will always give self-serving statements to the press. Or do you think that's a new phenomenon? The suggestion that reputable journalists would "aid and comfort" to terrorists is just ideologically-driven drivel. The Taliban is going to get its ass kicked, regardless of who Nic Robertson interviews and the clown that he just wrote about probably won't even be alive in six months. Despite his bravado, I think this Taliban spokesman sounded incredibly desperate and scared to death, wearing body armor to a press interview. He's gonna need it.

alath said...

Rommel would have jumped at the chance to be interviewed by Pyle. He was very conscious of his coverage in the enemy press and cultivating his invicibility myth.

As you suggest, Tam, I think Pyle would have been at least somewhat aware of that and would have said, "I'd like to avoid, as much as possible, becoming a propaganda mouthpiece for a Nazi General."

I don't think the present-day media has that level of self-awareness, let alone understands the scope of what they're covering.

T.Stahl said...

Should we give the bad buys of this world another platform to spread their propaganda?

Of course, freedom of speech and such.

No, they have been identified as enemies. When it's ok to kill them, it's ok to deny them a communications platform.

The press is interested in either selling copies of their newspapers or higher viewing figures (so they can charge more for commercials). They can achieve these goals by writing or airing what the consumers want to read or hear about.

But I don't give a damn what a member of the Taleban or Al-Qaeda or a mass murderer has to say. I want to read or hear about those hunting them.

Giving criminals publicity has done more bad than good. That applies to school shooters as well as international terrorists.

Anonymous said...

The interview is significant in that the Taliban spokesperson 1) denied affiliation with Al Qeada, and 2) made reference to the failures of the Vietnam Era.

Denying affiliation with Al Qeada illustrates a fundamental shift in politics. The Taliban now regards Al Qeada as a foreign influence. More welcome than Americans but still a foreign influence. By denying Al Qeada affiliation the Taliban galvanize support from groups that are now disillusioned with Bin Laden and Saudis in general. It also reinforces local belief that the Taliban is not a true enemy of the United States, but only reacting defensively to foreign interference.

The reference to the Vietnam Era is significant because it communicates an understanding of American military policy and that it communicates a strategy for victory.

In referencing Vietnam the Taliban show an understanding of the differences between the Powell Doctrine and the Petraeus Doctrine. They know that Petraeus is not interested in real victory. They know he supports the Bush Doctrine. Never ending continuos conflict with the military in a constant counterinsurgency or constabulary role. (As opposed to the Powell Doctrine of infrequent use of quick, strong and overwhelming force.)

Through their knowledge of our policy and their understanding of history they have put together a sensible strategy for victory. Bait us, bog us down in a never ending conflict and the American Public will do their fighting for them, eventually. We're running out of money. We're running out of soldiers. We're running out of resolve. Petraeus will eventually be forced to do what Democrats do best, bomb the shit out of anything that moves. This will further insure our demonization in the international community, giving credence to their claims that the West is amoral, hypocritical and fundamentally weak.

I think Ernie Pyle would have jumped at the chance to get that interview. Pyle, though, would have acted like a journalist, not a MTV reality show junkie pundit sitting down with Charlie Manson.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Fundamentally unserious? I like that!