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Soldier Porn: Why Do Reporters Act Like Giddy Schoolgirls Around the Military?

To understand these men and women and the tasks they are set to, we need journalists who do real reporting, not just pass on their own wet dreams to a gullible public.

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So, take my word for it, it’s really, really hard to write about the military objectively, even if you try. That’s not to say that all journalists are shills; it’s just a warning for you to take care when you’re hanging out with, or reading, our warrior-pundits.

And yet having some perspective on the military and what it does matters as we threaten to slip into yet more multigenerational wars without purpose, watch the further militarization of foreign affairs, and devote ever more of our national budget to the military.  War lovers and war pornographers can’t offer us an objective look at a world in which more and more foreigners only run into Americans when they are wearing green and carrying weapons.

I respect my military colleagues, at least the ones who took it all seriously enough to deserve that respect, and would not speak ill of them. Some do indeed make enormous sacrifices, including of their own lives, even if for reasons that are ambiguous at best to a majority of Americans. But in order to understand these men and women and the tasks they are set to, we need journalists who are willing to type with both hands, not just pass on their own wet dreams to a gullible public.

Civilian control of our military is a cornerstone of our republic, and we the people need to base our decisions on something better than Sergeant Rock comic rewrites.

Copyright 2011 Peter Van Buren

© 2011 TomDispatch. All rights reserved. 

Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well . His book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People ( The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books), will be published this September and can be preordered by clicking here . To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview in which Van Buren discusses the farce of nation-building in Iraq, click  here, or download it to your iPod  here.

 
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