12. November 2008 · 8 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

C-130 landing at Ramstein AB, Germany for some R&R during a Bosnia deployment, Jan. 1, 1998. Dave was deployed to Bosnia for an overlapping period of time, but we were in separate locations.

First of all, Happy Veteran’s Day! To my fellow Veterans out there, thanks for reading my blog and for serving our great nation.

But allow me to stir the pot a little. I posted this NY Times article on my Facebook profile this morning and it generated quite a bit of commentary.

I was livid when I read this — I’ve been through enough Public Affairs training in my day to understand that the military’s relationship with the media is a delicate one. If you shut them out, they’ll just come up with their own information and possibly send the American public the wrong message about what the Dept. of Defense is up to. So the DoD’s position is to allow the media as much access as safety and security will allow. This is how we had such great coverage of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and also why ABC’s Bob Woodruff and his cameraman were injured by an IED in 2006. (I’m glad they’re recovered!). The journalists are aware of the risks for such media coverage.

Anyway, this article claims “senior officials” told the NY Times about some “secret orders” for “secret missions” into Pakistan and Syria to covertly chase down Al Qaeda.

I do not know whether this information is true or not. As the Army used to say about speaking about topics unrelated to what you do, “Stay in your lane.” I don’t know anything about this.

I’m upset because the media publishing a story full of the word “secret” probably means that America’s people, resources and national interests might be risked. We are not in a vacuum — Pakistan and Syria have now perked up their ears like a dog hearing the word “Walk?”, and even Al Qaeda probably knows this story now and will act accordingly. Go into further hiding, find other nations for safe haven, or otherwise change their tactics.

Or…they can go on the offensive, and something bad can happen to those Special Operations forces.

And if you REALLY want a good time, delve into the 300+ comments this story has generated. I was pleased to see how many Americans feel that the secret missions were justified, but also horrified by some of the not-so-nice things foreigners had to say about the situation.

Bottom line: New York Times, your story was poorly timed and probably put the lives of American servicemembers at risk. And whoever you “senior officials” are, are you sleeping soundly at night?