Battlefield Confusion
March 28, 2003 11:39 AM   Subscribe

This whole damn battlefield is entirely screwed up. Journalists are informants are medics are soldiers are noncombatants are enemies are friends are puppets are war criminals are spies are civilians are terrorists are injured are paramilitary are POWs are freedom fighters are MIA are bloggers are bystanders are children are involved. Will there ever again be an American war where it's clear who's who? And who's on which side?
posted by jengod (15 comments total)
Gives you a headache doesn't it?
posted by tljenson at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2003

could you give me an example of an American war where it was clear?
posted by hob at 11:58 AM on March 28, 2003

Mind for the blogging, that - unfortunately - has always been the status quo it seems, no?

Yet each time we develop a new sense of anger of a new or current war, it almost dilutes past anger and frustrations of past wars. I know I've not yet felt an anger myself as much as now, so I can very much understand.
posted by bluedaniel at 11:59 AM on March 28, 2003

Looking at this another way - I was reading the linked article, sort of scanning it, and when I got to the last bit, where the wounded man was crying and saying "I want to see my babies", I was struck, saddened, and had forgotten whether he was a US Soldier, an innocent bystander, or a Militia Man... and then realized, at that level it really doesn't matter whose side he was on or not - it's universally tragic.
posted by kokogiak at 12:09 PM on March 28, 2003

Doing hob one better, give an example of ANY war with clearcut lines. I would not be surprised, before this is over that more than one journalist will have to pick up a weapon to save his own carcass.
posted by mischief at 12:21 PM on March 28, 2003

I suspect the military is kicking its self for allowing such free access to the press.
posted by stbalbach at 12:46 PM on March 28, 2003

The guy who wanted to see his kids was an iraqi civilian. Of course, there's no gaurentee that his kids'll live through this.
posted by delmoi at 12:50 PM on March 28, 2003

Not to mention that half the "coalition of the willing" is rooting for the enemy.
posted by lathrop at 12:58 PM on March 28, 2003

Certainly there are journalists who have acted similarly in this and other wars but have exercised greater restraint and refused to insert themselves into a story. Before the "new journalism" took hold in the 70s most reporters still honored what used to be a major tenet of journalism -- reporters should never become the story. The fact that a reporter helped transport a casualty shouldn't cause as much concern as the fact that so many members of the news media now consider themselves an integral part of the story they're covering. Everybody seems to want to be the next "Scud Stud." By the way, you can rent the last one.
posted by jlynford2 at 1:03 PM on March 28, 2003

Now where's Geraldo Rivera... Oh wait, he's still hunting Osama in Afghanistan, right?
posted by kokogiak at 1:14 PM on March 28, 2003

Forgive my idealism, especially when talking about a representative of the media, but the reporter is just a human who was in a position to help another in need. I would say any bystander has some obligation to help in a situation like this - no matter what their profession.

Geraldo with his sidearm supposedly looking for Osama was a vastly different issue, though, obviously. It's a soldier's job to go to foreign lands and kill people, and a reporter's job to report, and there's not a lot of room for overlap between them. None of the people in this story were medics - they're all going "above and beyond" in this case.

The view of the media as impartial observers has been utterly trampled upon by the behavior of serveral (mostly American) journalists in the last few years, but I don't think this story really reinforces that much at all.
posted by mragreeable at 1:44 PM on March 28, 2003

U.S. troops in Iraq detained two Israeli journalists and a Portuguese colleague on suspicion of espionage and beat one of them, relatives said Friday.


He added that he had received the impression that the American army had done everything it could to ensure that not one independent journalist was reporting from Iraq.
posted by liam at 2:06 PM on March 28, 2003

[*sniff*] The article made my eye's water...the de-rail comments, there gone.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:25 PM on March 28, 2003

there am an awful lot of are's in that sentence.
posted by crunchland at 2:42 PM on March 28, 2003

Tough journalism duty. So far, 2 reporters have been killed, 2 wounded and 9 are missing. Reporters Without Borders is keeping a tally.

Yes, there are a lot of hacks and tools no doubt, but I admire the courage of many and the risks they take to report on this war - kudos particularly to the unembedded and independents.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:19 PM on March 28, 2003

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