Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ralph Peters on how media coverage of war necessitates a change in combat tactics

Ralph Peters starts his latest with:

"IN Iraq last month, I learned a great deal about the future of combat. By watching TV.
During the initial fighting in Fallujah, I tuned in al-Jazeera and the BBC. At the same time, I was getting insider reports from the battlefield, from a U.S. military source on the scene and through Kurdish intelligence. I saw two different battles.

The media weren't reporting. They were taking sides. With our enemies. And our enemies won. Because, under media assault, we lost our will to fight on.

During the combat operations, al-Jazeera constantly aired trumped-up footage and insisted that U.S. Marines were destroying Fallujah and purposely targeting women and children, causing hundreds of innocent casualties as part of an American crusade against Arabs.

It was entirely untrue. But the truth didn't matter. Al-Jazeera told a receptive audience what it wanted to believe. Oh, and the "Arab CNN" immediately followed the Fallujah clips with video of Israeli "atrocities." Connecting the dots was easy for those nurtured on hatred.

The Marines in Fallujah weren't beaten by the terrorists and insurgents, who were being eliminated effectively and accurately. They were beaten by al-Jazeera. By lies.

Get used to it."

In short, the media is truly attempting to create another Vietnam. It's their template, and their sticking to it, the truth be damned. Peter's solution is that we must learn to fight on the ground, in an urban setting much faster:

"Our military must rise to its responsibility to reduce the pressure on the National Command Authority — in essence, the president — by rapidly and effectively executing orders to root out enemy resistance or nests of terrorists.

To do so, we must develop the capabilities to fight within the "media cycle," before journalists sympathetic to terrorists and murderers can twist the facts and portray us as the villains. Before the combat encounter is politicized globally. Before allied leaders panic. And before such reporting exacerbates bureaucratic rivalries within our own system."

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