Wednesday, June 06, 2007

FRAGGING. Like the boys in the Fuhrerbunker during the Fall of Berlin, some of our war fans continue to draft grand schemes for the post-war world even as the buildings topple overhead. At TCS Daily, Robert Haddick revives the rightwing demand that war journalists stop telling treasonous truths, and even adds an interesting twist: if the journos won't serve Uncle Sam out of patriotism, they should serve him out of fear --
According to [Reporters Without Borders'] website, eleven journalists were killed in Iraq in May alone. Since March 2003, total journalist casualties in Iraq are 181 dead, 14 kidnapped, and 2 missing.

The targeting of these journalists, the vast majority of them local Iraqis, indicates that the various factions in Iraq place a high value on controlling the flow of information, and denying that flow to the enemy. What journalists are learning from these chilling facts are that they must only live and travel under the heavily armed protection of a particular faction; there is simply no other way to survive for long in the country as an active reporter of the war.

Naturally that protection will come at a price to be determined by the faction providing the protection...
Cut to Haddick ominously tapping his palm with a baseball bat. He acknowledges that, currently, embedded American reporters are protected by the soldiers among whom they are embedded, but that sort of relationship can't last because "in the future those American conventional combat formations will not spend much if any time fighting in long, drawn-out and controversial counterinsurgency campaigns. Reporters can embed with these units, but they won't leave the barracks very often."

See, we'll be in a new kind of war -- as we always are, in the reckoning of rightwing cranks -- and it will have to do with information and "short, high-speed, and high-intensity combat operations" where no one will get killed, except perhaps that dinosaur of the pre-new-type-o'-war era, the independent journalist, who will have to dig for actual combat stories among "local proxy and militia allies of the U.S.," which folks "are unlikely to have much sympathy for the needs and traditions of Fourth Estate." Haddick does not overtly state the expected fate of this sort of journalist, but he tips it heavily in the closing:
The only journalists that will survive will be those that choose a side. The classic independent war correspondent who once floated across a war will be, literally, dead.
To be fair, Haddick's article is such a mishmash that it is hard to isolate the argument, but his attitude toward journalists who don't toe the line is, literally, palpable.

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