Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Thoughts on the war

Every once in a while, Fred On Everything writes about something I can actually quote.. not that he's wrong, mind you, but a steady diet of Fred would unravel the minds of the media elite and those who accept the 500 channels of video pablum delivered from the the White House Press Office and the poverty industry via Comcast-ABC/Disney-DirecTV-CBS-Dish-NBC-TimeWarner.

I like to keep him prominently on my virtual shelf because he will challenge his own assumptions as ruthlessly as anyone else's. That needs doing, a lot.

Well, he's provided a cogent and concise comparison of the working stiffs in the press (not the suits who decide what gets covered, but the actual foot soldiers of the Fifth Estate), their motivations, and how those are bound to collide with those of our military. Here's a snippet:

For example, many in Washington who actually know how the press works (the military actually doesn’t) believe that the press supports the war in Iraq, has until recently given the White House a free ride, and has been adroitly controlled by the government. I agree. If newspapers had been against the war, they would have published countless photos of gut-shot soldiers who will never get a date, paraplegics doomed to a life on a slab, and more Abu Ghraib photos (which they have.) Soldiers don’t know this. In any event, anything but unqualified support is treason.

The military usually regards journalists as cowards. (“Coward” and “traitor” are their gravest pejoratives.) This is questionable. When the 2000th US soldier died in Iraq, I checked the site of Reporters Without Borders and found that 72 reporters had been killed there (with two more missing), or 3.6 percent of the military total. I don’t know how many troops have served in Iraq. Just now it is about 160,000. To be conservative, let’s call it 130,000 on average, making 347,100 for two and two-thirds years of war. By the equation 2,000/347,000 = 72/x, one finds that there would have to have been 12,500 reporters in Iraq to have equal rates of death between reporters and soldiers. Otherwise, the press is taking casualties at a higher rate than the military. The calculation is rough, but makes the point.

When I was a child back there in Journalism School (with an odd curriculum, very out of fashion, where Journalism was under the School of Business and there was a strong expectation you'd have to be able to calculate and read a balance sheet to cover a story), I went to school with Iranian and Iraqi students, and my senior paper was on the Islamic Press. Folks, brace yourself: They don't think like we do.

It's kinda clear to me that our overseas press, brave as they are, miss the boat, and fail to engage the Islamofascists with the same degree of skepticism they've used for two centuries to keep our government occasionally honest. Sure would be nice if they considered this advice from a guy who knows what's going on:

Here's something that needs to be emphasized. The leaders and media of the western world continually refer to 'mujahadeen' (holy warriors) and 'jihad' (holy war) in their references to Islamic terrorists. By the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (Allah bless he and his progeny) and Islamic law, the terrorists should properly be called 'mufsidoon' (evildoers) who engage in al-Hiraba (unholy war against society - that which destroys, rather than supports, betterment of humanity). These words make considerable difference when speaking to and of Muslims. The connotations of all are extremely important. Can you imagine trying to recruit a young Muslim for a suicide murder mission if he is going to be participating in al-Hiraba and thus condemned to 'jahanam' (hell)?

I routinely espoused the concepts of 'musfidoon' and 'hiraba' to the people and leaders in my province in Iraq - they began to use the words! This even spilled into some of the rhetoric of people from other provinces! We must continue to use the proper words of Islam to describe the despicable acts committed by those who pervert the teachings of the Prophet (Allah bless he and his progeny).

More discussion follows here, in the First Blog.

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