Thursday, July 20, 2006

Perception and Time Magazine

Time Magazine is running an interesting/poorly written story about soldiers downloading home videos ont0 YouTube.

The story's harps on the fact that the videos paint a bleak picture of what is going on in Iraq, thus backing up Time's viewpoint that the war is a mistake.

What Time either decided not to include in the story or simply did not consider is that any soldier in any war is going to give a horrifically gloomy report about what they are experiencing. Whether a war being fought is universally accepted by the home population, and truly only WWII falls into this category, or if there are weekly riots taking place to halt the fighting, the guys on the front line are not likely to be happy.

The difference now is they can directly show the world what they are experiencing through sites like YouTube. This is a truly remarkable capability and hands the soldiers a great deal of personal power. For example. would the Roman Empire have existed if the average Roman saw the entire population of Carthage being slaughtered or if a video was sent home of Germanic tribes killing 25,000 Roman soldiers in a day. Maybe not.

Battle front photos by Matthew Brady during the U.S. Civil War caused a furor in the North. The sight of dozens of corpses spread around the Gettysburg battlefield severly hampered the North's desire to keep up the fight.

So without any thought Time decides that select YouTube videos show morale in Iraq is shot and the soldiers hate being there. Well, duh. Did anyone in the 101st Airborne want to be surrounded in Bastogne in December 19944? No. Being on the front line sucks, period. Who in their right mind wants to get shot at on a daily basis. Just because a person is a soldier or Marine does not mean they want to be where they can get killed.

It would also have been nice if Time bothered to discuss the other videos on YouTube. While not necessarily uplifting they something other then guys upset that they are guarding cheesecake deliveries. There are hundreds of these, but evidently not worth Time's time.


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