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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Jack Kelly picks up on Wolf Blitzer's ignorance 
Wolf's statement that the 14 Marines killed in a 31 ton armored vehicle by an IED would have been safer in a Humvee was so baldfacedly ignorant, such a slam-dunk example of cluelessness, such a perfect example of the media's willingness and eagertude to find fault where no fault exists, that when it didn't get picked up by the blogosphere or anyone else, I thought to myself "was I hearing things? Was I so pissed off that I didn't listen correctly? Was I, as they say, "on crack?"

Nope.

I'm not the only one, apparently, who heard it.


Says columnist Jack Kelly


It is curious to cover a war by emphasizing friendly casualties, without reporting the context in which they occur. On June 5th, 1944, our casualties in the European theater were low. The next day, June 6th, they were much higher. But what was important about June 6th, 1944, was not that our casualties rose, but that the Normandy invasion was successful.


Casualties rise when one side goes on the offensive. Typically, it is the side that is on the offensive that is winning. We currently are engaged in the biggest offensive since the fall of Fallujah, striking simultaneously at insurgent strongholds along the Tigris and Euphrates "ratlines" along which al Qaida terrorists infiltrate from Syria.


This could be the climactic campaign of the war. But while most Americans know 14 Marines were killed in a single incident last week, few have heard of Operation Quick Strike, of which they were a part.


About 1,800 U.S. soldiers and Marines, and hundreds of Iraqis are taking part in the offensive.


You've heard the expression "winning the battle but losing the war?" Well, you can also cover the battle and fail to cover the war. You do this by decontextualizing battlefield events. In the newspapers, you'd think that troops just bitch and clean weapons, write complaining letters to congressmen, then leave the gate and die. Nobody ever has a mission, nobody ever succeeds. If an American dies, it's rarely during an engagement in which we killed or captured dozens of the enemy. It never happened on a convoy that did, indeed, manage to deliver much needed food, ammunition, parts, mail, or anything else, which the enemy failed to stop. Every death is isolated, and soldiers just wander around the countryside in random patrols, waiting for a chance to get clobbered.

It ain't like that. (It might seem like that from time to time, from a private's point of view, or from the point of view of a journalist who, laboring under the handicapped of years of education, fails to grasp the tactical, operational, and strategic context of the op he's covering.

Well, in this incident, near Hadithah, the media, alas, didn't even manage to cover the battle.

Splash, out

Jason

Comments:
Wolf Blitzer has other issues as well.

In a recent interview with former President Bill Clinton, Wolf responded to one of Clinton's remarks with, "That's my job, I'm a newsman. That's what I try to do is make news and you try to avoid news."

Am I wrong or is it the media's responsibility to REPORT news and not MAKE it?
 
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When you consider the video telemetry technology available today, it is a little ironic that I have to look past that back to the written word to find the truth.
 
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