Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Media and Medievalism

" In the next war, while the media provide the global cosmopolitan perspective, the troops themselves may well provide the American one. The fact is that most grunts can't stand to be portrayed as victims. The quietly mounting trend of American soldiers and Marines writing about their experiences and posting them on weblogs rather than having their experiences interpreted by transnational journalists is proof enough. AndrewSullivan.com, among others, has periodically posted such accounts. I recall one from a Marine chaplain in the Sunni Triangle pleading that the grunts' morale was fine and suggesting that their principal fear was the home front going belly-up on them. The parts are all in place for an explosion of this type of commentary. Almost all the troops have their own laptops and access to cybercafes at their bases. The American perspective does not whitewash problems or claim a situation is better than it is, but it does promote warrior virtues and submerge the cult of victimhood, and it recognizes that good morale does not mean the absence of complaints ? troops complain all the time; it would be suspicious if they didn't. It means only the continued spirit to fight.
Robert D. Kaplan - Policy Review, No. 128:
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