The Need to Know

Here's your problem. On the one hand you got your reporters asking all the general guys these impossible questions. You know, questions about targets and strategy and what our next moves will be and which Taliban leader's camel has the stinkiest breath and why haven't all our bombing runs had pinpoint precision and such. National frickin security questions. Questions reporters know they could never get actual answers to because any self-respecting military guy who does answer them will disappear faster than free beer at a frat party after a homecoming win. And yet they continue to ask the questions. Because they got to. That's their job. The networks don't pay people to just look pretty anymore.

So the reporters dunk their heads in desk high piles of Dark Egyptian #4, scaffold their hair up to heights that give mountain goats the shivers and try to look grave yet concerned while inside they cringingly know they got a better chance of finding nutrition in a Twinkie than ever receiving a comprehensive response to one of their queries. But they can't let on to us they know, so we get "Exclusive CNN Night Vision Coverage of America's New War." Which is a green screen interrupted with occasional sparks of light. "Here you can see Coalition forces bombing advance Taliban targets no, wait, sorry, that's a security guard lighting a cigarette on the building next door."

On the other hand you got your general guys who can't reveal a single solitary syllable yet still have to pretend they're not annoyed at being asked these same stupid ass questions over and over and over by the usual smirking college educated blow dried smiley folks. They furrow their concerned brows and squint gravely towards the cameras in their field camo but all you hear is hedge and evade and dodge and divert and equivocate. Its hydra mouth's full of nothing and nobody gets close enough to contradict either. Because they know the enemy has satellite dishes. These days, Charley does surf.

So whatever they tell us, eventually the bad guys will find out. So us Joe-Imported-Six-Packs can pretty much assume by the time any smidgeon of info filters down to us, believe exactly the opposite. Pull a 180 degree U turn. Unless, of course, that's what they want us to think. So don't believe everything you read. As a matter of fact, my theory is you're better off believing whatever you don't read. But dammit, we have a right to know. You know?

Except for what we don't need to know. The stuff we need to know, they won't tell us. And the stuff we don't need to know, they won't stop telling us. Like the day after, on 9/12, a structural engineer sat down on CNN and scolded the terrorists for colliding with the outside of the Pentagon. "If only they had crashed into the center, the courtyard part, the jet fuel would have sprayed on the opposite three sides and the whole thing would have burned down." SHUT UP! "And in order to take out any of our nuclear plants, all you need to do is fly a crop duster into one of the cooling towers " SHUT UP! Ain't that always the way.

Will Durst hopes its other ways too.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.