Monday, May 18, 2015

News or Spies?

"Shia militias are assembling east of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to prepare for a counter-attack against Islamic State militants who captured it on Sunday."

I've already had my say about this city of Ramadi being the one that was attacked by U.S. forces including sniper Chris Kyle, who killed all the opposition that the city now needs to defend itself. It's likely I'm missing some details to simplify the narrative; maybe the forces were building roads...while evacuating hospitals...and they needed sniper coverage because the locals were shooting at them. I don't know the whole story because I wasn't there and I can't trust most of what I read, except for the material I conveniently choose to criticize. For all I know the snipers that Kyle killed were destined to become ISIS militants. This is the tradition of self-delusion. Still, the facts remain that the city that was cleansed of militants per order of Bush Jr. is now in desperate need of militants. Make your own conclusions about that.

This comment is more about how BBC's war coverage may be interesting to read and, exciting to imagine, but aren't they actually undermining security efforts by not only writing that Shia militias are assembling near Ramadi, but they are assembling east of the city? Why don't you give their exact coordinates so any IS fighters with machetes know where to find them on Google maps? Photos of key landmarks would be helpful too. I guess if BBC knows where the Shia militias are then IS will also know, but they published a front page story about it to make sure.

This must be covered in the journalistic ethics classes that are probably brief and sparsely attended. Journalists report the news. Pundits spin the news. When pundits are mistaken for journalists then all hope is lost. So, when two militant groups maneuver and BBC can learn the exact details of the maneuvers then they will report that so anyone in the opposing group will immediately know the maneuvers of the other.  And they wonder why there is some military secrecy and silencing of Press in war-time. It's baffling. Or maybe BBC doesn't care because they don't have a dog in the fight. That's possible. What other time in history had military intelligence relayed via BBC online news to anyone with a smartphone?

Would you ever read this headline: "Enola Gay en route to drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Due to arrive at 8am, is traveling from south-south-west with 4-5 support crafts at altitudes around 35,000ft. Will be first of several planned Allied aerial attacks dropping atomic payloads on populated areas of Japan. In other news, the Red Sox split a double-header vs Cleveland."

Something like that might get the attention of the air force. Heck, they might even take it seriously. More observations of an old man.

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