Neoconservative Columnist Calls on Millitary Attacks Against Members of the Media

In Chattering classes/punditry, Commentary, Foreign Affairs, Iraq War, neoconservatives, stupidity, war on terror, War on the rational/ logic on May 28, 2009 by Editor Z

Neoconservative writers and academics often seem to be those all too willing to send other people’s children to war, but when they were called to serve their country they shrinked and did everything they could to avoid stepping up to fight (yeah I am talking to you Dick Cheney and Bill Kristol).

Retired Army officer LT Col. Ralph Peters who is a columnist for the New York Post is an exception to that rule, and one has to commend him for at least going to war instead of just rooting for war. Nonetheless his zeal for the neoconservative cause, jingoism, and the idea that America basically needs to commit national suicide to prevent becoming the victim of murder remain as intact as many of those neocons who have never even been in a bar fight.

In a lengthy essay in the international affairs publication called the Journal of International Security Affairs, Peters rails against radical Islamic terrorism and what he sees as an erosion of fighting capabilities on the part of the United States in terms of military and civilian. Fair points. He bemoans what he sees as a loss of familiarity and education in the field of history that causes many to have little if no frame of reference for the Majesty of our country. Fair point. And here as he lists some of those shortcomings of our nation in fighting war, he brings up this point that seems pretty spot on.

Fourth, an unholy alliance between the defense industry and academic theorists seduced decisionmakers with a false-messiah catechism of bloodless war. In pursuit of billions in profits, defense contractors made promises impossible to fulfill, while think tank scholars sought acclaim by designing warfare models that excited political leaders anxious to get off cheaply, but which left out factors such as the enemy, human psychology, and 5,000 years of precedents.

But what little sense Peters may have made is eclipsed by his anger and disdain, if not violent rage towards the media and an ends justify the means mentality. In his diatribe Peters engages in such cartoonish hyperbole in referring to the media as “neo-pagans” and “lackeys at the terrorists bloody alter”. And we’re supposed to take this guy seriously? Later he even goes on to speak of the possibility of “military attacks on the partisan media”. Now whether he means that the military should begin systematically executing journalists like they have in totalitarian nations or engaging in a war of words with the media is debatable. However in light of his recent column that suggests that we merely execute the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, it may not be too much of a leap to say he means the former rather then the latter.

While this brief essay cannot undertake to analyze the psychological dysfunctions that lead many among the most privileged Westerners to attack their own civilization and those who defend it, we can acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that, to most media practitioners, our troops are always guilty (even if proven innocent), while our barbaric enemies are innocent (even if proven guilty). The phenomenon of Western and world journalists championing the “rights” and causes of blood-drenched butchers who, given the opportunity, would torture and slaughter them, disproves the notion—were any additional proof required—that human beings are rational creatures. Indeed, the passionate belief of so much of the intelligentsia that our civilization is evil and only the savage is noble looks rather like an anemic version of the self-delusions of the terrorists themselves. And, of course, there is a penalty for the intellectual’s dismissal of religion: humans need to believe in something greater than themselves, even if they have a degree from Harvard. Rejecting the god of their fathers, the neo-pagans who dominate the media serve as lackeys at the terrorists’ bloody altar.

Of course, the media have shaped the outcome of conflicts for centuries, from the European wars of religion through Vietnam. More recently, though, the media have determined the outcomes of conflicts. While journalists and editors ultimately failed to defeat the U.S. government in Iraq, video cameras and biased reporting guaranteed that Hezbollah would survive the 2006 war with Israel and, as of this writing, they appear to have saved Hamas from destruction in Gaza.

Pretending to be impartial, the self-segregating personalities drawn to media careers overwhelmingly take a side, and that side is rarely ours. Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. Perceiving themselves as superior beings, journalists have positioned themselves as protected-species combatants. But freedom of the press stops when its abuse kills our soldiers and strengthens our enemies. Such a view arouses disdain today, but a media establishment that has forgotten any sense of sober patriotism may find that it has become tomorrow’s conventional wisdom.

Peters appears to take the view that somehow our ideals and the institution of a media free from the restraints of government or military control, which is absolutely crucial to a functioning vibrant democracy has like many argue a number of other rights that make the U.S great are somehow have become too cumbersome or as Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said of the Bush/Cheney officials who advocated for “enhanced interrogation” ” a legal nicety that we could not afford”. They are wrong. A Free press, the rule of law, and other such human rights and freedoms have been fought for a forged in the blood, time, and toil of too many men for too long and have faced far greater threats to just be dispensed with or scoffed at.

Is the media imperfect and sometimes frustrating? yes. But to equate all with the enemies of our nation is not only profoundly stupid, but outrageous. According to Reporters without Borders, as many as 225 Journalists have been killed in Iraq, since the invasion and occupation began in March 2003. They two, while maybe not being as valiant as our military have certainly made sacrifice and have in some instances paid with their lives to inform the American people. And simply because your views, or your rigid ideology isn’t reinforced by the reporting does not diminish their work or sacrifice in the eyes of their families or colleagues.

But Peters elaborates on this become the enemy to kill the enemy, win at any price, if you criticize the mission or aspects of it you are a terrorist puppet, by basically saying the ends of victory justify any and all means and later scoffs at the idea that if we sacrifice our ideals that we will be sacrificing what makes our existence worth continuing.

The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters. If you cannot win clean, win dirty. But win. Our victories are ultimately in humanity’s interests, while our failures nourish monsters.

Isn’t that the kind of irrational violent sentiment that we are trying to combat Colonel? Can’t one as Albert Camus once wrote “love my country and still love justice”?



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