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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Ray Robison

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Ray Robison





Last Build Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2007 22:30:44 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2007
 



Media Lynch Mob

Thu, 26 Apr 2007 22:30:44 -0600

b) the story of her shoot-out with Iraqi forces was not a product of the US military but of the US media. The US media created this recounting of her exploits from vague, unofficial statements by "undisclosed officials" and having been revealed as rumor mongers started looking for someone to blame. Who else would they pin it on but the US military? We all know it is hard to prove a negative, in this case that the US military did not create the shoot-out scenario reported by the media. So we have to instead ask questions. If the US military did so, who specifically did it? Do we have a name in all this media hype about the misleading Pentagon reporting? Where was the claim first made? Who was the source? This USA Today article from July of 2003 is a hint. It states: Lynch had been mythicized during the war. An initial report in The Washington Post said Lynch had killed several Iraqis. Later, government officials said she had killed no one. The fact is it wasn't "later" that the government warned against this fight-to-the-death story line, it was at the time of the initial reporting by the media. And as the USA Today article has correctly identified, The Washington Post did run the story first: 'She Was Fighting to the Death' Details Emerging of W. Va. Soldier's Capture and Rescue By Susan Schmidt and Vernon Loeb Washington Post Staff Writers Thursday, April 3, 2003; Page A01 Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said yesterday. Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting March 23, one official said. The ambush took place after a 507th convoy, supporting the advancing 3rd Infantry Division, took a wrong turn near the southern city of Nasiriyah. "She was fighting to the death," the official said. "She did not want to be taken alive." Lynch was also stabbed when Iraqi forces closed in on her position, the official said, noting that initial intelligence reports indicated that she had been stabbed to death. No official gave any indication yesterday, however, that Lynch's wounds had been life-threatening Several officials cautioned that the precise sequence of events is still being determined, and that further information will emerge as Lynch is debriefed. Reports thus far are based on battlefield intelligence, they said, which comes from monitored communications and from Iraqi sources in Nasiriyah whose reliability has yet to be assessed. Pentagon officials said they had heard "rumors" of Lynch's heroics but had no confirmation. [emphasis added] So let's get this straight, The Washington Post single-sourced this story from one official that they couldn't even identify. Ask yourself why they couldn't identify a military official praising a soldier. Is that really a secret? This isn't a whistle blower or Bush Administration insider. It would more than likely be an officer or NCO at the tactical operations center if this person existed. So why couldn't The Washington Post name the source? The answer is obvious; because the reporters don't even know who it was, or if the incident even occurred. It sounds very much like one person's ruminations in passing, chatting about rumors from unofficial sources. Then The Washington Post ran with the information despite army officials warning them about the veracity of such rumors. And this is the military's fault? Are you kidding me? Isn't the media supposed to be superior to citizen journalists because of all the editorial safeguards and fact checking? But yet in this reporting, one unidentified source who may indeed be a fiction - a literary device to whom to attribute overheard conversation - trumped the military spokesperson. I challenge The Washington Post to identify this source [...]



America's Broken-Down Media

Sat, 07 Apr 2007 10:30:21 -0600

Mr. Thompson finds confirmation from Congressman Murtha: The truncated training-the rush to get underprepared troops to the war zone-"is absolutely unacceptable," says Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and opponent of the war who chairs the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. A decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam, Murtha is experiencing a sense of déjà vu. "The readiness of the Army's ground forces is as bad as it was right after Vietnam." Sounds like a pretty solid case doesn't it? But something just didn't sit right with me. I immediately knew this wasn't the full story. So I used a journalistic research tool, possibly unavailable to Time, called Google. You see, this article makes the brave young Matthew Zeimer sound like an infantry soldier. Infantry soldiers go to the Infantry Training Brigade for 14 weeks of intense training after completing basic training. How can it be he didn't go? Is the army so bad off infantry soldiers don't go to Advanced Infantry Training anymore? In my research, I found this article "Soldier's last days at home memorable" at the Billings Gazette. The article tells the story of the brave Private's short military career as told by his family and friends. Matthew had come home on leave Nov. 8, after more than five months of basic training Five months of basic training? What this article means is that he did nine weeks of Basic Training, which every soldier does, and then went for three more months of Advanced Individual Training in which a soldier trains on their MOS (Military Occupational Skill). About.com explains the process well: Individuals who enlist under the 13X Infantry option attend Field Artillery OSUT (One Station Unit Training), which combines Army Basic Training and Field Artillery AIT (Advanced Individual Training), all in one course. But most civilians just think of it all as basic training. The point being, this is three more months of a 24 hour a day resident course, tough as nails training that Mr. Thompson has neglected to mention. Three months is a significant amount of training. And it doesn't stop there. According to the Billings Gazette: Staff Sgt. Thad Rule, with the U.S. Army Recruiting Office in Glendive, said Matt joined the Future Soldier Program at the start of his senior year of high school, shortly after he turned 17. He spent nearly 10 months learning some of the basics about the Army, preparing him for his training. Rule said Matt "wanted to do a combat job" and couldn't wait to join the Army. To speed things up, he opted to undergo artillery support training rather than going into the infantry, a move that got him into the Army a month earlier. Not only did PVT Zeimer do three more months of training than Thompson lets on, he spent ten months of training before he even went in the army. While this certainly does not equate to training in an active duty setting, it is a training opportunity that most soldiers don't get. In real terms, this brave young man was ahead of the training that a typical artillery junior enlisted soldier received when I was an artillery officer in the mid-90s under President Clinton. So was this truncated training as Murtha called it effective? Was he really ready? The Gazette goes on: Matt was 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighed maybe 175 pounds when he went in for basic training. "The kid came back and he was fit," Rule said. "I'd say his confidence was the big thing." Tessa Hopper, Matt's former girlfriend, noted the same thing when she spoke Sunday evening during a wake service for Matt. "He was proud as a peacock when he came home for the holidays," she said. Damon noticed it, too. Matt had always liked to exercise, he said, but he got in excellent shape during basic training. "He loved the way he looked when he came home from basic," Damon said. So according to PVT Zeimer's loved ones, he was fit, proud, motivated and anything but broken-down. He was a soldier damn it! Not a victim. Not a political talking point. M[...]