Michael's Dispatches

Blame the military, not the media

In wake of new Afghanistan corpse photo scandal, be sure to put responsibility where it belongs

Abu-Ghraib-Prison-Photos-1000One of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison photos from Iraq in 2004.

21 April 2012

After Abu Ghraib and a steady drip of other outrages, the latest photo scandal with U.S. troops is upon us: A soldier gave the L.A. Times photos of troops with Taliban corpses and body parts, and the newspaper published them — despite direct pleas from the Defense Department that doing so would do more harm than good.

As someone who hears a lot of chatter in the military, I’ve caught wind of lots of complaints essentially trying to blame the media for their decision, and for whatever fallout results.

I’ve spent about three years with combat troops at war and care deeply about them. But let’s be clear. The reality is that in most cases, the bad deeds are done by service members, and captured on camera by their buddies.

Then they distribute the images, often via social media like YouTube, or directly to media such as the Los Angeles Times.

There is no chicken-egg argument here.

The military chicken pops out a bad egg, then hatches that egg and parades the little monster to the press, who then says, “Look at the monster that the military hatched!”

And then we say, “Bad, bad media for creating a monster!”

Incorrect. The media didn’t make the monster. The media just made the monster famous.

Let’s look at three cases:

Abu Ghraib:

1. Military did the deeds

2. Military made the images

3. Military released the images

4. Media made them famous

Marines urinating on Taliban:

1. Military did the deeds

2. Military made the images

3. Military released the images

4. Media made them famous

Soldiers posing with dead Taliban:

1. Military did the deeds

2. Military made the images

3. Military released the images

4. Media made them famous

This is not complicated. We need not deflect responsibility from where it belongs. Our soldiers are grown men and women and should be accountable for their actions.

Whining about media overreach is starting to claw on peoples’ ears. People may not say that they are sick of it because they prefer not to say something “anti-military.” But it’s becoming pretty damn clear who is causing these monsters to hatch. It’s the military.

Here’s the solution:

1. Don’t do the deed.

2. Nothing follows.

Add comment

Due to the large amount of spam, all comments will be moderated before publication. Please be patient if you do not see your comment right away. Registered users who login first will have their comments posted immediately.


Reader support is crucial to this mission. Weekly or monthly recurring ‘subscription’ based support is the best, though all are greatly appreciated.  Recurring and one-time donations are available through PayPal or Authorize.net.

supp

supp

subscribe

You can now help support the next dispatch with bitcoins:

Donate Bitcoins

My BitCoin QR Code

This is for use with BitCoin apps:

189