Sunday, May 15, 2005

Why I Read Blogs

This is exactly the reason why I read blogs now instead of newspapers: Bill Roggio comments on an analysis by Wretchard about Operation Matador:
Wretchard's conclusion is very insightful, but it is not based on rocket science. It is a very simple and sound conclusion reached with an understanding of military affairs and history, and careful culling of the available news accounts available to all journalists.

The media has a serious problem with covering military actions of this nature. There is a basic lack of understanding of military affairs within the journalistic community. This often leads to a misunderstanding of how operations are conducted and disjointed reporting of the battles.

The articles written from the embed accounts only give a small portion of the overall picture. These first hand accounts are very important, but they are single trees within the forest. There is no effort made by the editors and producers of the print and television media to draw together the disparate reports and attempt to gain a larger understanding of the scale, pace, tempo and importance of the operation.

During Matador, Wretchard, Chester, Donald Sensing, Joe Katzman, a host of other bloggers and I attempted to do exactly what the media cannot - provide a comprehensive briefing based on sound logic and experience. No doubt some of the information and conclusions presented in the various maps and analyses are inaccurate as we were dealing with incomplete information. However it is highly likely our conclusions are more accurate and complete than those presented by the traditional media. Our conclusions were based on an understanding of military history, basic tactics and strategy, map reading skills, the careful observation of the situation in Iraq over a long period of time, and in some cases prior military service. I strongly believe this gives us an advantage the traditional media sorely lacks when covering events such as Fallujah and Matador.

I am by no means an expert on military operations, but because of my experiences as a flight surgeon I have had to work closely with various services and commands. When the war in Afghanistan first began, it became clear to me that I knew much more than almost all the journalists I was reading or listening to; and I began to get very frustrated because of all the contradictory things they were saying. Some of the confusion may have been from the "fog of war", but most it seemed to me to be due to a complete misunderstanding about what the military does and how they do it.

For example, it was clear from the beginning of the Iraq war that the second front that was planned to come down from Turkey toward Baghdad, and which was blocked by the Turkish government, caused profound repercussions on the development of the war since it opened up an escape route for Saddams forces--consequences that we are still dealing with today. I am not a military tactitian, and I understood this. The question is why didn't the media? Soon, there were many bloggers with past military experiences discussing this; and there were also numerous military bloggers right there in the field reporting daily. Why waste any time on the newspapers?

If the journalists who cover the war would bother to learn something about how the military works and why they do things the way they do, the American public would be much better served by their reporting.

But then it's clear that many journalists consider the US Military the real "enemy."

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