Something New
AUTHOR: Ray DATE: 2/03/2005 04:17:00 PM ----- BODY: In the light of comments that were off the scale at an international setting amongst world leaders, businessman and major media outlets from all over the world, this is Davos calling.

CNN Eason Jordan in an open debate made a claim that he knew that the US military deliberately targeted journalists in Iraq in which he back peddled and clarified his comments here.

One of the most saught after voices comes from Rony Abovitz and takes the issue further and asks some poignant questions at which I will try and take a look and provide my insight into this whole matter and how we have come to this point in Iraq.

Now this story is hard to keep up with as there have been emails and contacts made to the blogsphere as this story broke and continues to break, clarify and yet more questions.

Captain Ed has been covering this with many updates here.

First off I am not a journalist. Period. I am not associated with anybody who is referenced to this event, story or account.

My first question to Ron would be in the context of all the questions he has asked is this. Did the media coverage of Abu Grahib and it's rentless pursuit of the "truth" cause American casualties?

If so, how many? Did it increase the level of support the terrorist/insurgents received? Look at when the dramatic upturn in terrorist/insurgent violence in Iraq to answer that question. Yes, it needed to be told, but when? How? That's how I reflect about this as I can not quote or speak or link to anyone who has publicly said this or even a passing post to the same thought.

From Ron's post:

Here are the issues as I see them:

(1) What really did happen in Iraq to both the U.S. and foreign journalists killed while trying to cover the war? The posts by the readers, in particular a few from soldiers themselves, make this question even more compelling. And what is going to happen to journalists covering Iraq going forward? How does the truth ever become fully revealed and made public? Does the U.N. need to investigate what happened? Is there a major media organization reputable enough to present accurate information on a question which by definition here involves the major media?

Yes the major media should have contacted members of congress with documents first.

(2) What is the responsibility of the media, and of media chiefs in particular (such as Eason) when it comes to how the news is shaped (or not shaped) to meet the needs of their audience? Is the news a business that needs to market to their customers what they want to hear and see, or is there a higher set of ethical and moral responsibilities that come along with the business of news? What is interesting in this case is that I do believe that the exact, objective facts are available with respect to what was said. This particular discussion at the WEF 2005 was videotaped (hopefully it is in a complete and unedited form). The debate about exactly what was said is easily resolved if an accurate transcript of the tape, or the tape itself, can be produced and made public. This kind of transparency lends itself well to global issues where subjectivity can taint any side of a topic like this. It is possible in this case that the subjectivity on one part of this issue can be removed entirely (with the complete videotape and transcript of the discussion).

The question of shaping or slanting rings loud and clear and we all understand that but at
what human cost for only part of truth for the whole truth. We want the video tape and
transcripts of this and we will not rest until made available.

(3) What is the responsibility of those in major leadership positions when confronted with such issues? In the room with us were powerful men and women, including high ranking politicians, who could follow up in a serious and meaningful way. Where are those voices and where is the followup? This topic should not be buried away in the closet. Is what Eason said the problem, or should we be more frightened at the prospect of journalists being targeted and killed by U.S. soldiers. "I see no problem if the US snipers take them out" was a comment from one reader, as well as "If they chose to take the part of the Baathists and Al kayda (sic), and say, 'embed' themselves among them, they will be killed." At a minimum the data and confusion calls for at least someone of the stature of a U.S. Senator or Congressman to step in now and lead a robust investigation.

Yes there should be more people to come forward and provide there account of what
happened. This shouldn't stop or prevent the topic from moving forward.

(4) The role of the individual in society. In this debate and discussion I made the decision to say something - to speak out. That decision has sparked a lot of things, including some intense pressures coming from a lot of sides. But I now feel an obligation myself to not give in to any side, but to ask for, in fact to demand, an accounting of the truth.

I respect your decision on this and can not even begin to imagine how much noise was
coming your way. Your post in the open tells a lot.

Ron's, Further questions:

As a techie, I like to see problems solved. Here are some specific actions that should happen:

* independent, objective, and respected investigation into this topic in a timely way (now, not years from now).

* Disclosure of what is found to the global public.

* Better protections and neutrality status for journalists, subject to harsh, Geneva style accountability if violated.

* More voices should come forward now. The voices of the soldiers in Iraq, as well as of journalists on the ground, need to come out. Let us know in your own words, unfiltered, what has happened, and what is happening. Have courage.

While Ron's post adds more than what started this these are good questions and observations and could easily drown out the very heart of what of brought out this post and blogstorm.

Saying that the US Military "targets" journalist and making a statement like this in a global public forum as a US citizen and journalist is for lack of a better word: irresponsible. While the fog of war will always exist and there will be casualties in any armed conflict but failing to try and record and document history as it unfolds will always out weigh that cost. There are no frontlines in this conflict, there are barbaric an hideous crimes of humanity being carried out against human beings there, the enemy has crossed every line of human decency, and yet we find that the very brave people who are trying to keep all of us safe are constantly defending themselves from a global witchhunt.

Many have not agreed to take out Saddam and his sons, but we gave that man 48 hours(and 12 years) to respond and he choose not too. The dead are on his hands and nobody else.
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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
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