Stop the Presses; Press Ignores the Generals
By A. Alexander
The Progressive Daily Beacon

Friday 22 December 2006

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and practically every actively serving General strongly opposes George W. Bush's proposed Iraq "Surge" Plan, but you've probably not heard too much about the Generals' general discontent. The average American probably hasn't heard about it, because the media only barely reported on the Generals' mutiny. True to form, the press dutifully ignored the Generals' concerns, but widely reported on the White House's insistence that the Generals' generally didn't disagree with the President.... However, in the event that the Generals, who don't disagree with the President, do decide to disagree with the President's Iraq "Surge" Plan - the President doesn't care, because he's "The Decider."

The presses ignoring of the Generals' disagreement with "The Decider," even continued when Rumsfeld's very Rumsfeld-like "stay the course" replacement, Robert Gates, traveled to Iraq and was told by the "commanders" on the ground that they too, disagreed with "The Decider's" Iraq "Surge" Plan. Indeed, these were very dark days for "The Decider" and his dream of escalating the Iraq War. Fortunately for "The Decider," the press was mostly ignoring the Generals' collective revolt.

Then, almost like Manna from heaven, Gates met with a group of rear-echelon non-rate enlisted personnel in Iraq who, according to widely reported press accounts, fully agreed with "The Deciders" desire to send a "surge" of troops to Baghdad. Yes, there were a total of fifteen rear-echelon E-1s, E-2s, and E-3s (Privates, Private First Classes, and Lance Corporals) who all, to a man and woman, agreed with the President's Iraq "Surge" Plan. Stop the presses, people! "The Troops Agree with the President's Iraq 'Surge' Plan," blared the headlines. What's that? No, the Generals don't agree with the President, but who cares what they think ... fifteen fresh-out-of-boot camp enlisted people agree with George W. Bush, and that is what REALLY matters!

Needless to say, while they continued to ignore the Generals' mutiny, America's fine press was all over the comments made by fifteen fresh-out-of-boot camp Privates.

The sheer absurdity of the Press ignoring the Generals' disagreement with "The Decider" and instead, focusing on the few rear-echelon non-rate enlisted personnel who were only months away from boot camp is this: In all the world, few know less about what the hell is going on - big picture - than do rear-echelon E-1s, E-2s, and E-3s in the U.S. military. The simple fact of the matter is that these "troops" Gates met with probably couldn't have said with certainty - having had lunch with the Defense Secretary - what they were going to be having for dinner that night. That isn't a knock on rear-echelon non-rates; that is just a fact of military life. They are the proverbial mushrooms...kept in the dark and fed a boat load of crap.

Now, if the press wanted to find out what was really happening in the actual war, they could go and talk to the non-rate enlisted guys stuck in the "shit" on the frontlines. Even that information, however, could only be applied to that particular frontline non-rate's area of operation. For the big picture, a reporter would have to talk to GRUNTs throughout the country. But for reporters to more-or-less ignore the opinion of Generals and commanders regarding the President's Iraq "Surge" Plan and instead, be the megaphone for a few rear-echelon non-rates only months out of boot camp; that is simply unconscionable. Sadly, for America's fine press, it is only too typical.