America's Free But Careless Press
By Daryl L. Hunter
12-20-01

As a news junkie, political wonk, and patriot I have been amazed and outraged at the indiscretion, thoughtlessness or stupidity that our reporters have been exhibiting in their questioning of our policy makers and tacticians conducting our war on terror.

As a news junkie I empathize with a journalist's want to know "anything," but as a patriot I am angered when a journalist on live TV puts our Cabinet members and tacticians in a spot that even as they prudently evade a line of questioning, their evasiveness answers a tactical question.

America needs to help Afghanistan's Northern Alliance because their enemy is our enemy, the Taliban. But the Northern Alliance is also Pakistan's enemy so we shouldn't ask Donald Rumsfeld if we are helping Pakistan's enemy as we could lose a valuable ally. It is not worth one American life for me to know whether we are helping the Northern Alliance or not.

We have allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt that for domestic reasons can't reveal the help they do convey. There is help that they would like to give and can't for the same domestic reasons. Our tacticians know what a government can deliver to the war on terrorism; they also know not to ask for aid that could risk domestic unrest in that country. A lesson we learned from our great ally the former Shaw of Iran is don't irritate domestic dissension of friendly countries. Our journalists must also understand this. Empathy for friendly countries with large populations of misinformed Islamic fundamentalists or gullible poverty stricken youth will benefit our strategy more than weakening our allies by exposure of their covert aid to the western world or media criticism for the lack of visible aid.

Prudently, our long-range war plan on terror is to have one battle at a time. In so doing we can form effective national alliances while concurrently reassuring the Moslem world that this is not a war against them. This would be an impossible sell if we were publicly revealing future strategy against other countries that aid, sponsor and export terror.

If it is the plan of the western world to end state sponsored terrorism in Afghanistan this year then in Libya next year, then Syria the following year and Iraq the following year it would be imbecilic for us to notify them of that through a thoughtless free press. The western world is not the only part of the world that can form effective alliances.

It is important for our press to factor while fabricating their questioning of our tacticians our overall goal, an end to state sponsored terrorism over an egocentric desire to break news that may aid the enemy for tomorrow's headline or worse yet their live broadcast .

America is walking a tightrope that could end terrorism as we know it, or it could unite the worlds 1.2 Billion Muslims in a world war against the west. Lets use our heads and quit asking questions that could push America's tacticians off the wrong side of this very difficult tightrope.


 
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