Historian Paul Johnson refers to the American left's behavior during the Vietnam War as "America's suicide attempt." The firing of NBC reporter Peter Arnett this week proves the nation has fully recovered. Now we don't have to wait 20 years for a history book to tell us that Walter Cronkite lied about the Viet Cong's Tet offensive being a smashing success. The sedition lobby can't compete with the truth available in the new media.
As American servicemen swept through Iraq, securing oil fields, rescuing POWs, risking their own lives to protect Iraqi civilians, Peter Arnett went on Iraqi television – the propaganda arm of the enemy – to proclaim that the Americans' "war plan has failed."
Though U.S. forces were in shambles, Arnett cheerfully reported, the Iraqi regime was in good shape. He rambled on and on about "the determination of the Iraqi forces, the determination of the government, and the willingness to fight for their country."
Arnett also bragged about the demoralizing effect his reporting was having back home: "Our reports about civilian casualties here, about the resistance of the Iraqi forces, are going back to the United States. It helps those who oppose the war when you challenge the policy to develop their arguments."
Any journalist who boasted that his reports were helping demoralize the enemy the way Arnett was boasting that his reports were demoralizing his own country would be brought before the Columbia School of Journalism on ethics charges. What journalists mean by "objectivity" is: relentlessly attacking your own country while engaging in mindless boosterism of the enemy. At least now we know.
With three U.S. journalists missing and believed kidnapped by the Iraqis, Arnett praised the way the Iraqi regime treats journalists: "I've met unfailing courtesy and cooperation, courtesy from your people and cooperation from the Ministry of Information." The Italian government treated Ezra Pound pretty well, too.
Days before Arnett's boffo appearance on Iraqi television, he was on NBC's "Today" show, saying how well American and British POWs were being treated. At that point, videos of the POWs had been posted on the Drudge Report. Across the globe, anyone with a modem could see that POWs had been shot execution-style, their pants pulled down and their corpses defiled. Yet Arnett assured viewers that "President Saddam Hussein had personally ordered that these prisoners be treated well. ... Saddam wants them given the best medicine and the best food."
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