What the Media did not report from Sanchez’s Speech
If you read today’s Washington Post, NY Times, USA Today, or the LA Times you would see that Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez was offering some harsh criticism on Iraq and the Administration for how it how it has conducted the War in Iraq. It turns out that that the Administration is not all that General Sanchez had harsh criticism for.
Nearly half of his speech was criticism of the Media itself and not one of the articles I mentioned earlier had even 1 sentence about that criticism. Here is an excerpt from his speech (full text here).
All are victims of the massive agenda driven competition for economic or political supremacy. The death knell of your ethics has been enabled by your parent organizations who have chosen to align themselves with political agendas. What is clear to me is that you are perpetuating the corrosive partisan politics that is destroying our country and killing our servicemembers who are at war.
My assessment is that your profession, to some extent, has strayed from these ethical standards and allowed external agendas to manipulate what the American public sees on TV, what they read in our newspapers and what they see on the web. For some of you, just like some of our politicians, the truth is of little to no value if it does not fit your own preconceived notions, biases and agendas.
One would think that since General Sanchez has the credibility to bring this harsh front page criticism on the Administration that the same credibility would warrant at least a mention of the criticism offered to the Media itself. Especially since General Sanchez essentially is saying that the media is selling out our soldiers and undermining our troops efforts to win the war. And doing this to further the political agendas of groups and individuals opposed to the War.
The General also quotes the Code of Ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists which states.
…public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.
Since virtually all the media reports of the General’s speech failed completely to provide a fair and comprehensive account of the speech you could say that the Media itself has failed to live up to its own ethical standards.
The Administration and the Media were not his only targets in this speech. Criticisms were leveled at politicians from both sides of the aisle and deservedly so. Politicians as well as the media have so polarized and politicized the situation in Iraq that much of the American public’s opinion on the war is driven by hyperbole, inacuracies and rhetoric. General Sanchez faults the administration and congress for failure to provide the strategy, policies and resources to win this war. For the most part he is absolutely correct, though I honestly think that the Administration has tried, obstruction from the extreme left has hurt any attempts to provide the necessary elements of success.
Here are two other paragraphs from the General’s speech that I feel are of great significance but did not get a mention in the major media outlets covering the story:
America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq. A precipitous withdrawal will unquestionably lead to chaos that would endanger the stability of the greater middle east. If this occurs it would have significant adverse effects on the international community. Coalition and American force presence will be required at some level for the foreseeable future. Given the lack of a grand strategy we must move rapidly to minimize that force presence and allow the Iraqis maximum ability to exercise their sovereignty in achieving a solution.
At no time in America’s’s history has there been a greater need for bipartisan cooperation. The threat of extremism is real and demands unified action at the same levels demonstrated by our forefathers during World War I and World War II. America has failed to date.
In my opinion what the General is saying here is that it is time for Americans to put politics aside, provide the resources, policies, and strategy necessary to win this war. There is no need for Congressional resolutions either binding or non binding, and no need for empty rhetoric from the Administration since neither will move us closer to winning.
Hat tip to Captain’s Quarters
What Left Wing Bloggers have said… Amazingliy enough they also ignore any criticism of either the Media or of congress as well…
Note… PoliBlog I have listed twice… 1 as a Left Wing Blogger I did this because that particular post more closely resembles those found on left leaning blogs. The points in his post that are consistant with those on the left are mentioning nothing but the criticism from General Sanchez leveled at the Administration, & his speculation that “hard-core War Supporters” would respond by attacking General Sanchez.
In a later Post, (One I did not notice until much later) He does cover the criticism leveled at the media and congress, though he downplays that criticism by stateing that the media is not responsible for making and carrying out policy. This is very true, but I don’t see the General pointing to the media as a scapegoat for the strategy and planning failures. Instead the impression I get from the General’s speech and the criticism of the media as well as politicians from both sides of the aisle is that they have created or at least exasperated a political atmosphere to the point in which a bi-partisan solution in Iraq is next to impossible to develop.