2006-03-22

Does US Military in Iraq Target Journalists?

Nadir has claimed that the US military has targetted journalists for lethal attacks. I am unconvinced of this; to the contrary, I find the claim perposterous. If this is occurring:

1. Why aren't more journalists getting killed, if the world's mightiest military in history is targetting them?

2. Why are the reports from Iraq so uniformly contrary to the interests of the military that is supposedly targetting the journalists?

The negative coverage certainly provides an incentive for the military to target the journalists, but this alleged targetting has been totally ineffective, both in terms of killing any journalists and in intimidating them.

6 comments:

privatechaos said...

Recall the hotel where so many journalists were housed. It was struck by an american explosive early in the war, and the military knew its exact location and who its occupants were. That is the standout, the red flag and good on the journalists for not being intimidated!

Paul Hue said...

Privatechaos: What would be the benefit of US troops attacking a journalist hotel? And to attack it so un-thoroughly? And so infrequently? If US troops are targetting journalists, it would appear that the attacks are so infrequent and ineffective as to be meaningless. Meanwhile, US troops have a well-documented history of occassionally attacking friendly targets on accident, sometimes killing their own comrades. Thus the best explanation appears to me to be one of the accidents of war.

Nadir said...

Come on, Paul. The military cannot attack journalists overtly. I cannot and have not stated that there is a "conspiracy" to kill journalists by the US military.

However, several journalists have been killed or wounded by US troops, and incidents like the hotel bombing and the shooting of Giuliana Sgrena (who survived being shot by US troops though an Italian intelligence agent with her was killed) are examples. If nothing else there has been a pattern that amounts to intimidation on behalf of the US military.

Paul Hue said...

I don't doubt that US military rounds have killed journalists. But the frequency is so low that I don't believe it rises past what you would expect from accidents committed by a powerful military that is trying not to injure civilians. If the US military is trying to "intimidate" international journalists, the reporting demonstrates that the mightiest military in the history of the earth has failed miserably in this purported objective.

Nadir said...

Well, obviously the American military is not trying to avoid civilian "collateral damage" just as they don't seem to be avoiding journalist injuries.

And what is there positive to report? You can only tell the story of "new schools in Iraq" so many times. The people still don't have electricity or potable water.

Where is the good news that your righteous invasion is generating? There isn't enough of it. But that isn't the journalists fault.

Paul Hue said...

Nadir: I think the statistics make clear that that the US military is indeed attempting to avoid civilian casualties, including journalists.

Furthermore, I think that there is plenty of good news in Iraq. But this battle of good news vs bad news might be unwinnable, since the press in just about all situations focuses on negative news. This probably reflects human nature. If a car blows up in Westland, many times more people will be instantly and intensely fascinated than they will by Andrew and Monifa patiently raising their children, or me transforming the inside of my house into a modern masterpeice.

Bush and Co. should have known that this would be the case: there would be a hardcore peacenick population combining with journalism as I just described, hammering constantly on all bad news. This is the enviornment that democratic presidents must wage wars. If they can't do so successfully, they shouldn't fight the war.