A WRITER IN NEED OF SYNDICATION
The Chicago Tribune
has recently been running a free-lancer - Colonel E.W. Chamberlain III.
- in their Perspective section of their Sunday edition whose analytical pieces have been excellent. In the last two weeks he has taken the Bush administration to task for its impossible troop to mission ratio and last Sunday he dismantled the media's reporting of troop morale as not a result of bias so much as a general ignorance of military life in a combat zone. Here's a few samples:
"...Reuters news agency reported Oct. 20 that Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had complained that he is only allowed to see "all the happy folks" when he visits a unit, which is an incredibly disingenuous remark by the man who can see whatever he wants whenever he wants as the most senior military official in the land. ("Hey, I want to go over there and talk to that soldier. Make it happen." Simple.) "
" How did Stars and Stripes get such bad information? The first hint of it is in the statement that reporters went to 50 camps and asked questions about morale. First of all, you don't go to camps and ask the folks who are sitting around pulling guard duty or emptying trash, or burning half-barrels of feces or any of the other housekeeping chores required in a camp of deployed soldiers how their morale is...they don't want to be in camp pulling duty because it's incredibly boring and makes the time drag out interminably. They don't want to be away from home stirring the latrine buckets as they burn......No, the Stripes reporters needed to ask soldiers on patrol how their morale was, or soldiers who have just defeated an ambush how their morale is or soldiers who have just helped an Iraqi village get running water for the first time in 50 years (or ever) how their morale is. If you ask the wrong people the wrong questions at the wrong time, you're guaranteed to come up with whatever response you were looking for."