Thomas Sowell

Irresponsibility and indifference to the American lives put in jeopardy has too often been characteristic of the media in recent wars. During the Gulf War of 1991, a TV reporter announced to the world that the missiles fired by the Iraqis had missed and "landed about five miles north of here." This is the kind of information that allows an enemy to adjust his range and zero in on the target next time.

During the amphibious landing of American troops at night in Somalia, the media met them on the beach with floodlights. Why did the journalists think the troops were landing at night, except to reduce the high risks associated with amphibious landings?

The troops would have been safer landing in broad daylight, when they could at least see any enemy, than landing with media floodlights shining in their eyes. Any enemy could see them without their being able to see back.

During the recent standoff between the Israelis and Palestinian terrorists inside a church in Bethlehem, Geraldo Rivera pointed out Israeli snipers for all the world to see. If those snipers wanted to be seen, they could have worn red uniforms with bull's eyes on their backs.

Maybe this is just naivete about military matters in an era when few people have served in the military. But maybe it represents the "me" generation, when getting the story broadcast overrides any concern about the American lives put at risk.

Either way, in any future military operations, those in charge would do well to keep the media at a distance, where they can do the least harm, and let more young Americans come back home alive.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate