My Atlantic colleague, Bob Kaplan, had a piece in the WSJ yesterday, which I missed till now. Money quote:
The media struggles in good faith to respect our troops, but too often it merely pities them. I am generalizing, of course. Indeed, there are regular, stellar exceptions, quite often in the most prominent liberal publications, from our best military correspondents. But exceptions don't quite cut it amidst the barrage of "news," which too often descends into therapy for those who are not fighting, rather than matter-of-fact stories related by those who are.
As one battalion commander complained to me, in words repeated by other soldiers and marines: "Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I'm a warrior. It's my job to fight." Every journalist has a different network of military contacts. Mine come at me with the following theme: We want to be admired for our technical proficiency--for what we do, not for what we suffer. We are not victims. We are privileged.
Bob's worry is that many of his media peers are no longer part of nationhood, and so cannot warm to stories of derring-do. I don't see that myself. In fact, what's striking about this war is how popular the troops are in a very divisive conflict. And remember the coverage during the actual liberation of Iraq? The trouble is: Leveraging Sunni tribes against al Qaeda is not the stuff of which war-stories are easily made. And that's what most are now doing.
(Photo: David Furst/Getty.)
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