Sunday, December 09, 2012
Questions about Warriors and War Journalism
ABC journalist Jake Tapper has been out and about promoting his recent book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor. It seems to be about an extremely vulnerable American combat outpost in Afghanistan, which in 2009 was attacked by Taliban fighters.
Tapper is to be lauded for how he has worked so hard to show a side journalists have failed to relate extensively, the lost battles, the gruesome injuries, the heartbreak for families, the torn up bodies, and on and on, the vicious and atrocious realities of war.
In his media promotional interviews, he has gone out of his way to celebrate the supposed bravery of US soldiers, who it must be said also inflict carnage, since that's a part of their job. But are more important questions addressed adequately? Is the carnage justified? Is anyone forcing US soldiers to enlist and go to Afghanistan? Do the soldiers understand what they are doing? Can they not defect en masse or refuse orders? What is the big picture scenario here? For the injured and the relatives of the war dead what was the point?
The same goes for journalists who spend so much time and energy reporting about war, since they know it sells much more than peace, especially if you layer on the patriotism, and words such as valor. If they really cared, shouldn't they drop their own equipment, initial intentions and become human shields? Should they just go home? Do they believe reporting about the victims makes a difference? Has it ever?