- Sir Winston Churchill
Battlefield of the Media
In his letter dated July 9, 2005, senior al Qa'ida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri waxed to his boy in Iraq, the very late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:
“I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.”
On this point, we – the Islamaniacs, the Right, and the Lefties – are all in agreement, and thus all seek to exploit that media to achieve our respective goals.
The goal of the Islamaniacs, is a world obedient to no law but Islam.
The goal of the Right is the preservation of Western Civilization through the eradication of threats – both external and internal – to its foundations (for Lefties those foundations would include the principles of freedom and the rights of man “which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence” as Sir Winston pointed out in 1946.)
The goal of the Lefties is, at best, to humiliate Bushie and settle once and for all who among them is the most Hippy Dippy, Anti-Establishment, Working-Class-Hero, 60’s Throwback, Hollywood Darling of all. At worst, the Lefties – euphemistically referred to as “Liberals” or the even-more hilarious “Progressives” - seek the destruction of free market capitalism and all that supports it.
The Islamaniacs are well aware that in order to achieve their goal, they must employ tactics beyond the military. As al-Zawahiri puts it in the above letter,“However far our capabilities reach, they will never be equal to one thousandth of the capabilities of the kingdom of Satan that is waging war on us.” What’s a jihadi to do? Here, as we have pointed out before, Islamaniacs take heart in certain black marks in American history, namely, Vietnam.
“The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam -- and how they ran and left their agents -- is noteworthy, " Zawahiri further counsels Zarqawi.
For in Vietnam they rightly see a flaming example of American military policy being dictated by public sentiment, which in turn was being dictated by mass media, which in turn was being dictated by enemy propaganda. Allow me to elucidate.
On the evening of February 27, 1968 the most trusted man in America felt compelled to express his feelings about the recent Tet Offensive in which approximately 35,000 Viet Cong were killed, 60,000 wounded, and 6,000 taken prisoner for no military success. By contrast, American and South Vietnamese dead totaled 3,900 combined; a tragic bloodbath to be sure, but in military terms, a clear and decisive victory for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. And yet, Mr. Cronkite opined:
“To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy’s intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could. This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.”
Amongst the current generation’s parents and grandparents, it was commonly understood that loose lips sink ships. The essence of this maxim was that words matter and can be of consequence, thus those using them ought be mindful of what they say and to whom, particularly where lives are at stake. (Lefties – this is, incidentally, NOT censorship but rather a call for citizens to employ a long lost art known as “self-control.”)
Everyone, including the media of the day, took this all quite seriously. But suppose they didn’t. Suppose the media of the Greatest Generation had somehow been enlightened by the Age of Aquarius in 1942 and thus produced headlines such as these:
- VICTIMS' FAMILIES: PEARL RESCUE EFFORTS "DISGRACEFUL"
- CRITICS CHARGE "STUNT" TO HELP DEMS IN '42 ELECTIONS
- FDR DUMPS MACARTHUR FOR CHURCHILL
- "NO DEFENSE" AGAINST KAMIKAZES
- IWO JIMA FLAG RAISING "STAGED"
- ATOM BOMB DROPPED TO COW SOVIETS
Despair not my compatriot patriots, for we exist in a new era. Gone are the days where by mere shrewdly-timed editorial or clever juxtaposition of image and sound bite can the mainstream media alter the course of public sentiment, and ultimately history.
Troop blogs: Web logs by soldiers active and inactive and their immediate family members. Some fascinating; some mundane; most pro-war, some anti-war, some bloody strange; all providing perspective direct from the men and women putting their all on the line. http://www.milblogging.net/
Troop talk radio and Troop talk radio blog: Vehicles for the voices of our men and women in uniform to be heard and appreciated. http://www.trooptalkradio.com/, http://trooptalkradioblog.com/
STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES
STORIES FROM INDEPENDENT WEBSITES
Black Five: Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, Matthew Currier Burden started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of his friend which was subsequently NOT reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Need we say more? http://www.blackfive.net/
Home of Heroes: Thorough listing of stories and awards for extraordinary valor in the War of Terror. http://www.homeofheroes.com/valor/02_wot/index.html
Project Hero: An ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.qando.net/Details.aspx?Entry=3448
Patriot Man: Saluting the brave. Remembering the sacrifice. http://www.patriotman.com/?WSCam=enhanced+patriotman&WSEvt=enhanced+patriotman
STORIES FROM NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY WEBSITES
Counter Terrorism Blog: a unique, multi-expert blog dedicated to providing a one-stop gateway to the counterterrorism community.
Media Research Center: On October 1, 1987, a group of young determined conservatives set out to not only prove — through sound scientific research — that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values, but also to neutralize its impact on the American political scene. What they launched that fall is the now acclaimed Media Research Center (MRC). http://www.mrc.org/
Snopes: Excellent B.S. detector for strange news stories, misinformation, fallacies, rumors, urban legends, old wives' tales, celebrity gossip… in other words, the mainstream media. http://www.snopes.com/
ACCESS TO MAINSTREAM MEDIA DECISION MAKERS
Media Contacts and Addresses: http://www.mrc.org/MediaAddresses/mediaaddresses.asp
ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
The Troops Need You, America! http://www.troopsneedyou.com/
Fighting the War of Ideas Like a Real War http://jmw.typepad.com/political_warfare/2007/04/war_of_ideas_st.html
The Media vs. The War on Terror: How ABC, CBS, and NBC Attack America’s Terror-Fighting Tactics as Dangerous, Abusive and Illegal http://www.mrc.org/SpecialReports/2006/sum/sum090806.asp
If the story concerns soldiers or events from your home state or town, be sure to communicate it to your local media outlets , ever ravenous for that “local angle.”
In his brilliant analysis of the media delivered before Reuters, 12, June 2007, outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair observed,
Military Public Affairs Officers are doing all they can. But legal parameters, protocols, and presumptions of propagandism have rendered their efforts largely ineffective in the face of chronic anti-militarism running rampant through the post-Vietnam media.
It remains for us then – the Information Warriors – to remind the free world that our soldier’s in the Middle East do more than just die; much more. And for this we owe them far more than most of us will ever know; at the very least, a fair telling of their work, successes, and very genuine hopes for a better world.