Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Press, the Wars, and the Obama Administration

Very sorry for not having a Free for All Friday; just totally slipped my mind, plus the Hedge Fund Manager posting was rattling around my head, and it pushed everything else out.

Frequent contributor Dan offered the following via email in lieu of FFAF...

"Something a couple of us have discussed, especially as folks prep to deploy next year. It concerns media coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. How will the media treat the war in Iraq and Afghanistan under an Obama administration?
Media coverage of the Iraq and Afghan wars has been hopelessly biased against reporting anything positive. As Dana Priest told us at the National War College (when asked about why the media refused to give equal coverage to reconstruction and other positive activities ongoing in Iraq), her answer was words to the effect of, "We're not out there looking to report the positive, because the war is not a positive experience due to the administration's handling of it." Bottom line -- Bush started the war, the media hates Bush, therefore the media would grant no credit to Bush for anything positive gained in Iraq or Afghanistan. Think about it -- how many pictures, sound bites, or interviews did you see of folks who were putting in power grids, building schools, or starting businesses back-up? Not many. Shoot, the media even denigrated the elections -- one of the most positive outcomes.
Fast forward to now. As President Obama begins to implement his Iraq and Afghanistan strategy, how will the media treat it? Real progress is being made. Read Barry McCaffrey's latest report -- it details that we have set the stage to start withdrawing and handing over more responsibility to the Iraqis. But this is progress made under the current administration, using a surge that Obama was against.
Fast forward 16 months. President Obama will schedule a withdrawal, which will go relatively peacefully (heck, the bad guys will be more than happy to see us go away, so why make waves?), and President Obama will be hailed in the media and later awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize. And the Army and USMC? We'll still be over there, with a much reduced presence, conducting Training Team missions with our 12-man teams, but with no real combat power to keep beating back the bad guys. So our 12-man teams will start to get pounded. Could set the stage for a repeat of scenario similar to Les Aspin's denial of heavy armor in Somalia. But because Obama will have so masterfully orchestrated a withdrawal of forces, the media will find fault with the military for the follow-on failures, not of Obama's strategy.
I hope I am wrong."


Goldwater's Ghost said...

I posited a similar question in a previous FFAF, but more along the lines of how Hollywood will treat the military in an Obama Administration. I definitely think we'll see a softening of how the military is portrayed onscreen; and I think this extend to news media as well.

As for the long term implications of a post-withdrawal Iraq on the Army and Marines, Dan's vision is chilling and sadly familiar.

Smoothfur said...

As any Vietnam veteran will tell you;
"Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media for they will steal your honor."

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