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Treacherous journalism

By Alan Caruba
web posted October 31, 2005

My first response to the huge article that began under the newspaper's banner, four columns wide, ten and a half inches deep, was one of revulsion. It was Saturday, October 22, and, above the main headline was a paragraph in large, boldface typeface that read, "Insurgent attacks kill four more American troops, pushing the total number of U.S. military deaths near 2,000 since the start of the Iraq war. Page 8"

Below that was the headline. "Jersey's share of a somber toll: 53 who won't see home again." The message was that, even if it had been worth it to end the rule of Saddam Hussein, there didn't seem to be a good reason why troops remain to secure a democratic Iraq. The subtler message was that their lives had been wasted. The article was accompanied by a sidebar of "Somber statistics from Iraq."

Imagine now if the coverage of World War II included headlines such as "Small Pacific Island Captured. Iwo Jima provides an airfield at the cost of 6,000 American dead." Or "Allies land on French coast of Normandy. Huge casualties. Nazis have not yet surrendered."

The US fought World War II knowing that its own and the fate of Western civilization was at stake. Congress formally declared war against both Germany and Japan. No war since then has been declared as required by the Constitution. They have been "police actions" or some other name, none of which unleashed the full powers of the presidency to pursue them to victory. A truce was declared for the Korean "conflict" and, Vietnam, for lack of a competent indigenous ally, ended in failure.

One got the feeling that the nation's press was virtually salivating as it waited to report the two thousandth US casualty of the Iraq war, but consider that, in 2004, there were 16,137 murders in the United States. And on 9-11, more than 3,000 Americans died in a sneak attack.

On Oct 26, the newspaper ran a banner headline at the top of the front page, "U.S. hits grim milestone in Iraq War" with a sub-headline, "Military's toll in 2 1/2 –year-old conflict reaches 2,000 with deaths of three more troops."

Thanks to Tony Blankley's excellent new book, The West's Last Chance, consider the National Association of Broadcasters' wartime guide to reporting, issued on December 18, 1941, within weeks of Pearl Harbor. "Do not broadcast any long list of casualties. This has been specifically forbidden." Or the Press Codes issued by the federal Office of Censorship on February 20, 1942. "Criticism of equipment, appearance, physical condition or more of the armed forces of the United States or any of its allies" was forbidden, with a special warning that "Equal caution should be used in handling so-called atrocity stories."

Compare that with "War's toll on U.S. troops nears 2,000" an accompanying story to the one that jumped from page one to page eight. Across the top of page eight ran a banner graphic of "Tragic milestone in Iraq fighting" which literally showed a line of bars indicating by month the "number of deaths weekly." Other daily newspapers insist on printing the photos and names of casualties.

I suggest this is nothing more than treacherous journalism whose purpose is to undermine support for our armed forces and for the war they are fighting to defeat America's enemies in the Middle East before they bring that war—again—to our shores.

Since the US invasion to liberate Iraq, the liberal elites who control the content of most of our daily newspapers have inveighed against almost any effort the government took to as Iraqis turned out in large numbers to vote for their new leaders and a constitution. By any measure, we have brought about change for the better for Iraqis and, in doing so, will influence change throughout the Middle East.

The media is indifferent to our need to identify and stop the Muslim perpetrators of the "asymmetrical war" being waged against us and in nations that include Spain, Great Britain, Indonesia, and India. While they applauded the swift action to drive the Taliban out of Afghanistan and introduce democracy to that nation, they were and remain skeptics on the subject of Iraq.

A 600-plus page book, Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11, is chocked full of one admission after another by leading journalists that they regard Iraq as a mistake. In one case, Helen Thomas, the famed White House reporter is compared to the late I.F. Stone, without the interviewer being aware that Stone had long ago been exposed as a Soviet agent of influence. Thomas has long opposed the war to overthrow the vicious tyrant, Saddam Hussein, at one point asking then White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, why Bush wanted to "bomb and kill thousands of Iraqis, including women and children?"

This is the kind of journalism that, in World War II, would have put its perpetrators behind bars and put newspapers out of business.

The destructive power of the terrorists we face put them on a par with any traditional nation-state and the war they are waging is worldwide, but ultimately aimed at the destruction of America, Israel, and the West. Until an arrogant and often ignorant press joins our war against the Islamofascists, they will continue to lend aid and comfort to our enemies.

Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © Alan Caruba, 2005

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