Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Newsweek Kerfuffle Reveals Fundamental Mistrust of the Military

The Wall Street Journal (free registration may be required) weighs in on the Newsweek fiasco today, and finds it to be yet another example of an adversarial press that is prepared to believe the worst about America. Particularly on target is the Journal's analysis of Abu Ghraib, often held up by the Left as a chamber of horrors on par with Stalin's gulag :

The best example of this mentality has been the coverage of Abu Ghraib, which quickly morphed from one disgusting episode into media suspicion of the motives and morals of the entire military chain of command. Certainly the photos of sick behavior on the nightshift by a unit from the Maryland Army Reserve were news. But they were first exposed by the Army itself, through the Taguba investigation that was commissioned months before the photos were leaked.

The press corps nonetheless spent weeks developing a "torture narrative" that has since been thoroughly discredited, both by the independent panel headed by former Defense Secretary Jim Schlesinger and by every court martial to look at the matter. But rather than acknowledge that perhaps the coverage had been wrong, the media reaction has been to declare the many probes to be part of a wildly improbable cover-up.

What the Journal doesn't state explicitly is that this is yet another example of the Chomsky effect at work. The 'progressive' mentality is anti-authoritarian, prone to believe in conspiracies, and distrustful to the point of paranoia of American motives, and no one personality has held the standard higher than the America-hating linguist from MIT. The net effect of relentless unsourced or poorly sourced allegations of the like peddled by Chomsky is to gradually erode the world's opinion of America; our enemies can simply say, 'Look, he's an American professor! He says it, too."

By all means, misbehavior or worse by the armed forces should be reported and punished, but explosive allegations of this nature demand a higher standard of proof before they are broadcast worldwide.

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