Ralph Peters is known for reasonable and interesting articles. But today, he swallows the cyanide of silliness wholesale:Lesson 2: The global media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield.
Too many politicians and generals still don't get it. This new truth about war slapped us in the face during the First Battle of Fallujah. Now, facing a hostile global media, the Israelis are learning it.
It's not what happens on the battlefield, but what people describe about what happened that creates reality?
Mr. Peters, you need a reminder: reality is not description (though descriptions can pretend to that), and it is not changed by description, however the description changes. Yes, there are silly people, working for the MSM, who are not interested in what happens, but interested in maniupuating people through their pathetic reportage. The poison in the MSM is indeed there: they somehow think it would be a terrible thing to describe a victory in the war on terror, because "that would help Bush" in some political conversation they want to have. But in truth, reality is not a political conversation.
Reality is not a "text" to be read (and I know that sounds disappointing to those whose educations have insisted that everything is a text, and that only the skills of speaking and writing count in understanding, and changing, that reality), but a stubborn commons where facts must be handled. One of those facts, which so far seems to have eluded that "political conversation" is that there are people out there who want to kill us, who are not interested in negotiation or compromise. To the extent you do not recognize, and attempt to deal with that fact, and its causes and ramifications, you are not serious about reality, and I won't take you seriously about politics either.
UPDATE: Here's the best short summary of why, from Mark SteynThe Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby wrote the other day about how American children's books are "sacrificing truth on the altar of political correctness." But there seems to be quite a lot of that in the grown-up comics, too. And, as I've said before, it's never a good idea to put reality up for grabs. There may come a time when you need it.