Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Iwo Jima Covered By Today's Media

Now here is an interesting satire by Zell Miller on how the battle of Iwo Jima would be covered by today's media (Cutie Cuddley reporting):

What if today's reporters had covered the Marines landing on Iwo Jima, a small island in the far away Pacific Ocean, in the same way they're covering the war in Iraq? Here's how it might have looked:
With the aid of satellite technology, Cutie Cudley interviews Marine Pfc. John Doe, who earlier came ashore with 30,000 other Marines.
Cutie: "John, we have been told by the administration that this island has great strategic importance because if you're successful, it could become a fueling stop for our bombers on the way to Japan. But, as you know, we can't be sure this is the truth. What do you think?"
Pfc. Doe: "Well, I've been pinned down by enemy fire almost ever since I got here and have had a couple of buddies killed right beside me. I'm a Marine and I go where they send me. One thing's for sure, they are putting up a fight not to give up this island."
Cutie: "Our military analysts tell us that the Japanese are holed up in caves and miles of connecting tunnels they've built over the years. How will you ever get them out?"
Pfc. Doe: "With flame throwers, ma'am."
Cutie (incredulously): "Flame throwers? You'll burn them alive?"
Pfc. Doe: "Yes ma'am, we'll fry their asses. Excuse me, I shouldn't have said that on TV."
Cutie (audible gasp): "How horrible!"
Pfc. Doe (obviously wanting to move on): "We're at war ma'am."
(A Marine sergeant watching nearby yells, "Ask her what does she want us to do — sing to them, 'Come out, come out, wherever you are. Pretty please.' "
Cutie: "Pfc. Doe, what's that mountain in the background? Is that the one they say is impregnable?"
Pfc. Doe: "I don't know what that word means, ma'am, but that's Mt. Suribachi, and we're going to put a flag right up on top of it just as soon as we can. I gotta go."
Cutie to camera: "No one has yet really confirmed why this particular battle in this particular place is even being waged. Already, on the first day, at least 500 Marines have been killed and a thousand wounded. For this? (Camera pans to a map with a speck of an island in the Pacific. Then a close up of nothing but black volcanic ash). For this? For this?" (Cutie's sweet voice becomes more strident as it fades out.)

There's more to read, so go to the entire article. My father fought and was wounded on Iwo Jima. So I grew up on the real story of the Marines, who lost more than 6000 souls from 2/19/1945 to 3/23/1945. There were over 25,000 wounded in that month. My father saw many of his friends killed. The Japanese used suicide techniques and only 1000 of over 21,000 Japanese defenders were ever taken prisoner. It was a true hell on earth for over a month. But the Marines prevailed and the pitiful, but strategic island was secured for use by Allied warplanes.

Cutie, the reporter above, is typical of the kind of reporters now assigned to cover military action today. She has absolutely no understanding of military matters--including tactics and strategy; military heirarchy and command structure; command and control; and weapons. She probably wouldn't know the difference between a "Marine" and a "soldier" or a "corpsman" and "medic" and might exclaim in wonder, "there's a difference?"

But why bother to do any homework, when you know in advance what you're supposed to think about what's going on and why? The only thing missing from Zell's parody is the interview that Cutie would try to arrange with the Japanese soldiers in order to give "balanced" and "objective" coverage of the battle.

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