Walter Cronkite on Aiding and Abetting the Enemy - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-21-2006, 11:21 AM   #1
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Walter Cronkite on Aiding and Abetting the Enemy

These excerpts were taken from Reporting America At War - a series that ran on PBS that has also been released as a book:

Quote:
"[Censorship] would begin with a simple statement: 'You can't print that!' Then you'd find out why. There were certain things we knew weren't going to pass. We tried to get by with them because we were trying to report everything we could. But casualties, for instance - they weren't anxious to let the enemy know how successful they had been in any given action, how many lives they'd claimed, how much materiel they'd destroyed, the disposition of forces, where the various forces were and what they were equipped with, what kind of vehicles they had, what kind of guns they had. All that kind of thing was pretty much always held up. We could write about it, which we did. We could say that losses were heavy or losses were light. We just couldn't give specifics."
It should be known that he is referring to World War II in that paragraph.

He goes on, this time about Vietnam.

Quote:
"They should have had censorship in Vietnam. I believe there should be censorship in wartime. I believe it absolutely firmly. I'm more comfortable when we are clear that our reporting is not putting our troops in jeopardy and making the job more difficult and prolonging the killing. I also understand that the military, in exercising that censorship, definately needs a civilian appeals court - civilian-trained individuals [who] understand the right of the people we know."
If you don't understand the context of his previous argument, the following quote will shock you to tears. Read carefully, and read over and over again.

Quote:
"In the future, I would hope that democracies will understand that the people have to know what their young people are doing in their name. When we got to Germany after the war, these rosy-cheeked German people came to us with tears in their eyes, pleading that they didn't know what was going on under Hitler. That was their fault. They bore the responsibility because they approved the censorship that Hitler put in, and once they approved that censorship and the people were denied the right to know, they became as guilty as the perpetrators."
I don't see his point about how the German people "bore the responsibility", after all, they were living under a fascist regime, and were forced to vote for Adolf Hitler. However, censorship taken to its extremity is propaganda. He appears to have an entirely different argument on military censorship in wartime - that an obsession with death tolls rather than progress is a dangerous thing to have back home. On that, I agree with Cronkite.
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:53 AM   #2
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Mac, he's talking about the necessity of censorship in regards to military actions -- troop movements, for example -- and against the censorship of information as to what are the results of, say, a particular troop movement.

it's absolutely necessary not to broadcast on CNN exactly where a batillion might be advancing.

but it is also absolutely necessary to report if, say, the US Army is using white phosphorus that becomes tantamount to a chemical attack, then it is a moral imperative that US civilians know what is being done in their name with their money.
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:58 AM   #3
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Originally posted by Irvine511
but it is also absolutely necessary to report if, say, the US Army is using white phosphorus that becomes tantamount to a chemical attack, then it is a moral imperative that US civilians know what is being done in their name with their money.
It is also absolutely necessary to report on whether or not they are being used on military targets and specifically on the civilians who are fighting back alongside of the insurgency.
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Old 09-21-2006, 11:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
it's absolutely necessary not to broadcast on CNN exactly where a batillion might be advancing.
You are correct, I agree 100%. If I recall correctly, it was Wolf Blitzer who did that report.
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Old 09-21-2006, 12:02 PM   #5
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You are correct, I agree 100%. If I recall correctly, it was Wolf Blitzer who did that report.


it was Gerlado.
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Old 09-21-2006, 12:07 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
It is also absolutely necessary to report on whether or not they are being used on military targets and specifically on the civilians who are fighting back alongside of the insurgency.


yes, of course, but to say that the reporting itself on the actions of troops is somehow the same thing as aiding or abetting the enemy, or, as Dick Cheney would say, that any sort of dissent in American political discourse is aiding and abetting the enemy, is totally false and anti-Democratic.
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Old 09-21-2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Irvine511
it was Gerlado.
Geraldo doesn't work for CNN - but yes, he's guilty of the same high crime.
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Old 09-21-2006, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
yes, of course, but to say that the reporting itself on the actions of troops is somehow the same thing as aiding or abetting the enemy, or, as Dick Cheney would say, that any sort of dissent in American political discourse is aiding and abetting the enemy, is totally false and anti-Democratic.
Where the press gets it wrong is when they pack the pages with Abu Ghraib stories, and leave out stories of the Pendleton Eight. I'm sure there is a way to express dissent without undermining the troops and the mission they long to achieve. All troops are not equally loyal, I agree. There have been questionable tactics used, and it seems out of the ordinary for some reason to believe that not all who believe in the mission want these tactics. Sean Hannity for example, a high-profile conservative, has made it clear that he is against barbaric methods to interrogate suspects. He is however in favor of sleep depravation, loud music, and other soft methods, and I think that a good share of likeminded conservatives would agree with him. That doesn't mean he is alongside with Amnesty International or the Democrats. It just means that he wants to water it down to protect the image we portray.

This is straight out of Cronkite's quote - who just so happens to be a fair-minded, brilliant man:

"But casualties, for instance - they weren't anxious to let the enemy know how successful they had been in any given action, how many lives they'd claimed, how much materiel they'd destroyed, the disposition of forces, where the various forces were and what they were equipped with, what kind of vehicles they had, what kind of guns they had. All that kind of thing was pretty much always held up."

I strongly support his case that reporting the death toll night after night and not telling the other side of the story - that we have a good possibility of preserving democracy after liberating 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the new objective is to help these nations stand on their own two feet.
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