The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Saturday, March 29, 2003


For war news and analysis I turn to the Command Post. For unintentional comedy, I turn to the San Jose Mercury News editorial page. Here's the lead editorial:


The Pentagon calls up the troops

UNEXPECTED Iraqi resistance and harassment along a 350-mile long front have exposed the vulnerabilities of American troops and flaws in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's war strategy.

To prevent Rumsfeld's gamble from turning into trouble, the military summoned reinforcements this week, in numbers that the defense secretary once scorned.


The Pentagon called up the additional troops two weeks ago. What kind of universe do the Merc editorial writers live in where the enemy just melts away as forces advance? Where offensives proceed with parade-ground precision? Where a division can be called up and moved 5,000 miles in a day? Where an attack is in trouble because troops are within 50 miles of the enemy capital after a week and a half of war?

News media ignorance is coin in the pocket of people in the know; it seems that practically any retired general can make some bucks by explaining the simple rules of combat, strategy, and logistics. And I do mean practically anybody. A few days ago ClearChannel.com, which owns 80% of the radio stations I listen to, dug up Pete Knight. Knight holds the speed record for a piloted aircraft; he flew an X-15 at 4520 miles per hour. This was in 1967, the year that I was born.

Knight's analysis -- relayed by the ClearChannel announcer -- was that the Iraqis did not fight fair and that our boys could handle urban warfare. Frank Zappa said that "rock journalism is people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read". You could say something similar about rock radio military analysis.


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