An email from a retired Marine Brigadier General:
NBC and Aid and Comfort to the Enemy in Wartime
I just finished reading the NY Times account of the incident involving one of our Marines and the alleged killing of a wounded Iraqi in the heat of battle. Whatever happened, there is one dimension to this that needs to get on the national agenda that has nothing to do with the right of the network to cover these kind of stories and make judgements about how to print or air them.
We all know the reporter could just as easily have turned off the damn camera since he had been in combat with the unit and undoubtedly recognized what had happened for what it most likely was, an error in judgement by a combat stressed Marine who had been wounded the day before and just returned to his unit. In this war and in every war, there have been hundreds if not thousands of these individual tragedies every day, but he couldn’t resist the “big story.”
But where I really want to go to war with NBC is what they did with the tape. It is one thing to show the alleged shooting, it is another thing to give the unedited tape to outfits like Al Jazeera which according to the NY Times account…”broadcast the unedited version of the footage, complete with a name visible on one marine’s backpack and the faces of the marines which were not shown on American networks. Several commanders voiced concern that no matter what the inquiry determined, the incident had handed the Iraqi insurgency a huge propaganda victory.”
The assessment is undoubtedly correct but who made the “unedited version” of the tape available to our enemies in time of war and gave them this huge propaganda victory? Does not NBC control its own video? Under what provision of Freedom of the Press did NBC find it necessity in time of war to provide outtakes to the enemies of the Republic? Is not NBC an American corporation that you might think would have some sensitivity to this issue and perhaps even a residue of simple patrlotism?
Moreover, it betrays a total lack of understanding of the kind of war we are involved in, where you need to be sensitve to providing terrorists with the kind of detailed personal information on members of our combat units. This kind of information might enable them at some other time and place of their choosing, to target individual members of our military forces and create yet another propaganda success by illustrating their ability to reach out and “administer Allah’s justice to yet another infidel.”
I think they crossed the line on this one, not on going with the initial story, but taking it far over the line by giving access to all that tape to the world and our enemies in time of war. If that is the way they feel they need to operate, move the damn corporate offices to Syria–tomorrow! To say that I am outraged doesn’t begin to communicate the way I feel about these low life SOBs using one of our Marines this way. I for one am going to sizzle their worthless corporate asses with as blistering a message as I can write and to every member of the congressional delegation and rest of the media anyone else who will listen. I urge everyone who share this view to do likewise and with a vengence. And I would go after every corporate advertiser and anyone else that can hit them in the only place they understand–in their bottom line.