Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Commentary on military seriously flawed

[Editor's note: Listener Tom Castle of Dayton disagrees with a recent commentary by Ben Voth, associate professor of Communication at Miami. His response aired on Friday Feedback 2/4/08]

Mr. Voth wondered why failing military efforts, as in Iraq where we have over 100,000 soldiers stationed, get so much press attention, while successful efforts, as in Liberia where we had zero soldiers engaged in combat and a small handful of marines defending our embassy, have received so little.

Mr. Voth speculated that it may be media bias against the military, and we all know how skeptical the US media was in the runup to the current war in Iraq. He also speculated that a deep-seated racism among peace activitists may be to blame - and as we all know, racism is mainly a left-wing peace-movement phenomenon. Mr. Voth finally speculated that perhaps the news networks - the ones that so critically examined President Bush's justifications for war prior to March 2003 - simply don't want the world to know that sometimes the military is a force for good.

Let me offer a more plausible explanation for the supposedly baffling media silence regarding our glorious military triumph in Liberia in 2003: Could it be that the media pays more attention to Iraq than Liberia because we have 130,000 troops fighting in Iraq, versus zero troops that fought in Liberia, with a tiny contingent stationed briefly off its coast? To say that this is the more likely explanation for the disparity in media coverage is a great understatement, and I have to assume that the reason it was ignored by Mr. Voth was that it undermined his silly, unsubstantiated charge of racism.

As a postscript, I would like to note that Mr. Voth used the phrase "idealogues of peace," which I found to be creepily Orwellian. And I say this not as a peace activist or a pacifist, but as a defense contractor who could not be more proud of the smart, tough, highly professional servicemen and women I've been honored to support over the past eight years. Mr. Voth, it is my experience that scrutiny and skepticism are essential to good performance of any organization, especially the government. It is uninformed, uncritical boosterism that is the greater threat, and I believe the facts show the US media to be, if anything, too reluctant to scrutinize the claims of the executive branch and the US military departments.

--Tom Castle, Dayton


Post a Comment

<< Home