Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fourth Estate, Fifth Column

When TV news started showing soldiers' bodies coming home every day from Vietnam, public confidence in winning the war began to fall preciptiously, even though the United States and South Vietnam were dominating the Viet Cong militarily.

The same practice has been banned now in the United States. Nonetheless, the media has found other ways to degrade public and military morale.

The practice is ostensibly done to show respect for the soldiers, but in reality, it is to allow the media to use their coffins as platforms for defeatism.

Which is why I'm glad to see our government not allow our media to do the same:

The media will be banned from CFB Trenton today when the bodies of four Canadian soldiers killed over the weekend in Afghanistan return home.

The decision to mirror a practice that is controversial in the United States follows an announcement on Sunday that the flag on the Peace Tower will not be flown at half-mast to mark the deaths.

The two events have some in opposition accusing the Conservative government of a deliberate attempt to limit public knowledge of the human cost of Canada's mission in Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor issued a statement yesterday confirming the change, saying the arrival of the soldiers' bodies is a private event for the grieving families.


A spokesman for the minister confirmed that the media ban will also apply in any future deaths of soldiers.

Canada has not even lost a score of soldiers in Afghanistan, and already comparisons to Iraq and Vietnam are being blithely thrown around.

Our mission has hardly been a military failure, but the media would like to turn it into a political failure.

And it can do so by appealling to public naivete about the nature of war, the peacekeeping myth, and when all else fails, simple anti-American sentiment.

If the current Canadian media had been covering World War II, it would have demanded an immediate surrender to the Axis after the first corvette sank or soldier died at Dieppe or Hong Kong.

Don't let it act as a fifth column this time.

Source: Globe And Mail


Anonymous said...

absolutley ridiculous to compare harper's media ban and the media's current relationship with the govt to the events of WW 2. taking disrespect and dissonance a little far.

Robert McClelland said...

The only fifth columnists in this country are conservatives.

Ti-Guy said...

Here are some platforms for defeatism. So fifth-column and...last season.

Cycles2k Calgary said...

I am unimpressed with the conservative doublespeak on this issue.

Last time I saw a ceremony on TV it was respectful towards the fallen soldiers. It allowed those of us not in attendance some small opportunity to honor them.

This, and the refusal to lower the flag makes me wonder how little respect this conservative government has for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.