Monday, April 14, 2003

Sleeping With The Enemy

Carl (the) Zinsmeister was on Medved today regaling us with his tales of being an “embed” with the 82nd Airborne Division (Rico Suave Geraldo tried to get into this division but was turned down.) I have to say, it was quite interesting. A perfect companion to shoot hoops by out in the glorious 80 degree weather that we experienced today.

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that he would be glad to be out of harm’s way. Happy to be away from a situation that could cost him his life. Thrilled to be back in a world of hot food and showers, cool beds and well, peace. Instead he referred to the past six weeks as the best time of his life. I can understand why. To be at the epicenter of history as it is happening. To be able to see first hand the glory and terrible beauty that is the US military in full-on mode. Can you think of anywhere you would rather be?

In fact, (the) Zinsmeister said that the biggest complaint he heard from soldiers was that they were afraid they were going to miss out on the action. Not that they would be killed, or hideously maimed, or that they would have to kill others. They were scared they would miss out on the chance of a lifetime.

He also spoke about the rest of the “embeds” whom he refers to (in a companion piece in the latest National Review, not available on line) in this quote:

Most of the media embeds are typical reporters — that is, left-wing, cynical, wise-guy, Ivy League types, many with a high prima donna quotient. There are numerous studies showing that the major media are now nearly as liberal, politically and culturally, as university professors. And those are the journalists I've been seeing in a month spent in Iraq and Kuwait with the 82nd Airborne.

I have not met a single journalist here who supports the war. In the first days of battle, the only thing that got the sustained respect and attention of my fellow reporters was the rumored death of four journalists on March 22. At a lower level, there was astonished pique that the writers traveling with the Marines in the initial ground offensive had not been given an opportunity to sleep for two full days! Of course, the Marines who were doing the fighting were not sleeping either, and a lot more than four servicemen have been killed. But that's different.

“Left-wing, cynical, wise-guy, Ivy League types” an apt description for the average national reporter/reporterette if ever there was one. The site of Ted Koppel, his scrawny haunches clearly uncomfortable with his army-issued flak jacket, trying not to look like a boy playing soldier was one of the great visual delights of this conflict.

Most of the rest of them looked like fancy boys who never got dirt under their fingernails. Can you imagine if these were the men who had to protect us? (the) Zinsmeister describes them thusly:

The journalists I’ve crossed paths with are fish out of water here, and show their discomfort clearly as they hide together in the press tents, fantasizing about expensive restaurants at home and plush hotels in Kuwait City, fondling keyboards and satellite phones with pale fingers, clinging to their old world of offices and tattle where they feel less ineffective, less testosterone-deficient, more influential.

It had to be exquisitely painful for these Walter Mittys to have to literally stand right next to real men of the world, doing things that real men do: digging foxholes, driving large trucks, killing people.

Will it change their world view? Doubtful. But shining a light on the passive-aggressive, cushy little whitewashed world of the average reporter is something that should happen every few years.

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