Monday, March 24, 2003

Update On The War

Although it isn't unsual for this blog, Integrity has been quite for some time now. I'm sure a few of you -- maybe -- are wondering about my thoughts on the war. Well, it's what I think about most these days, so I figured I would offer an update.

As many of you are aware, I was not convinced by the available evidence that this invasion met the just war criteria. I still haven't been convinced. But that's a bit of a moot point now. I am satisfied, though, that the U.S. and the other members of the coalition have been conducting this war properly: avoiding civilian casualties and using only as much force as is necessary. The fact that the majority of Marines lost in combat so far were lost because Iraqi forces faked that they were surrendering to the Marines, only to ambush them, speaks volumes about the differences in how our two countries approach war. As disgusting as it was, it came as no surprise that Iraq would violate the Geneva Convention regarding prisoners of war less then twenty-four hours after having pledged to abide by it.

This is a time for prayer. I must admit being too riveted at times to pray as much as I should. My brother is a 2nd Lt. in the Marine Corps. I am thankful beyond belief that he is not in the Middle East and is unlikely to be deployed. Because my brother is a Marine, I feel a certain kinship to all Marines and cannot turn away when I hear news of them or, in this surreal world that we live in, see with the rest of the world a live feed of one of their battles.

A few words need to be said about a lot of the news coverage. First, I have seen some pro-war types talk about how anti-war folks should admit that they were wrong given how the war has proceeded. Well, some anti-war folks should admit they don't have a brain, but the rest of us never doubted our military superiority and ability to win victory on the battlefield. Our concerns are more long-term than that. And I hate to remind people, but I must: we've only had about 100 hours of war and seen the "easy" part.

The other item that needs mentioning is the silly expectations of the news media. After reports of casualties started coming in, numerous members of the news media began to ask military strategists if we were too optimistic and overconfident about how the war would go and whether we were experiencing significant setbacks. Why, oh, why are we tortured by having to listen to these highly-paid teleprompter readers? Although the loss of any life is to be mourned, casualties have been incredibly low, at least in terms of killed in action and probably also in terms of wounded in action. And the only people who seemed to have the false expectations about what war would be like is the media! I just wish they would have the guts to admit that the media reported things as if this was a video game and not shift the blame for being too optimistic on to others when they were wrong. The media also doesn't have any sense of scale. They call small skirmishes battles. They react to news of 10 dead as if that ripped the heart out of a column of some tens of thousands of troops.

At least the media is doing one thing right: foregoing (for the most part) the political talking heads. These people have no expertise whatsoever, but they feel free to give wild and speculative answers on anything. Give me a good military man's "I don't know, Sir," anyday to that garbage. Last thing I need is Bill Kristol or others like him giving me analysis of military battles.

Update: Bleh. The Fox News celebrities must have been complaining about the preemption of their shows. So now we get the regular lineup, such as Hannity and Colmes -- has there ever been a show format that was so devoid of content? --, and the talking heads giving us war coverage. What garbage. Not to mention talking heads speculating and prognosticating on what they read in the latest Reuters newsire. Congrats, Fox News! Just lost me as a viewer.

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