Category Archives: Media

DVIDS: Digital Video and Imagery Information System

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I recently discovered DVIDS

DVIDS is a state-of-the-art, 24/7 operation that provides a timely, accurate and reliable connection between the media around the world and the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

Through a network of portable Ku-band satellite transmitters located in-theater and a distribution hub in Atlanta, Georgia, DVIDS makes available real-time broadcast-quality video, still images and print products as well as immediate interview opportunities with service members, commanders and subject matter experts.

DVIDS . . .

  • Facilitates remote interviews with commanders and subject matter experts engaged in fast-breaking news.
  • Links media to deployed military units.
  • Enables embedded journalists to transmit broadcast quality video from the field.
  • Fulfills requests for products quickly via satellite, fiber and the Internet.
  • Submits daily bulletins detailing archive additions and email alerts about breaking news.
  • Coordinates holiday greetings, “shout-outs” and special events programming involving soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deployed to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
  • Maintains a searchable archive of video, photo and print products.

Mission
The DVIDS mission is to serve as a turnkey operation that facilitates requests for Public Affairs video, audio, still imagery and print products; coordinates interviews with soldiers and commanders in a combat zone and provides an archive for ongoing operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.

[Footage of Apache helicopter pilots identifying and targeting insurgents placing improvised explosive devices.]

Progress? What Progress?

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[Painting is by Michael Reukauf. I am not familiar with the artist or his politics but I like the image.]

Senator Joe Lieberman said it best when he described the approach of senate Democrats as “hear no progress in Iraq, see no progress in Iraq and, most of all, speak of no progress in Iraq.” Our Democrat representatives and presidential candidates are no better. All have adopted the mantra of “withdrawal.”

Yet things have been improving for months. UK Defense Secretary Des Browne recently made this upbeat assessment, “I now have a sense that as far as Iraq is concerned, that if this substantial improvement that we have seen over the last couple of months is maintained and accelerates at this rate, then we are not just at the end of the beginning but perhaps the beginning of the end.”

Even the AP, NYT and WaPO are reluctantly admitting it. Military and civilian deaths are down as are the number of attacks on coalitions forces. The Iraqi army is performing much better and General Petraeus’ six-pronged “Anaconda Strategy” against Al Qaeda in Iraq is working.

( The six prongs are 1) Kinetics (which includes combat); 2) Politics (which includes countering ethno-sectarian pressures and Iraqi political reconciliation); 3) Intelligence (operations from air recon to intel assessment); 4) Detainee Ops (which includes counter-insurgency in detention facilities); 5) Non-Kinetics (education, jobs programs); and 6) Interagency)

So why is my party having such a hard time with military success in Iraq? I’m not so far to the right to think all these Democratic politicians are “anti-American” or want us to experience a military defeat. However, in the current political environment I think it is incredibly difficult for a Democrat to unabashedly identify victory in war as a primary foreign policy concern. This is incredibly disconcerting for me as someone who has never voted Republican yet feels compelled to do so in the next election.

I am a McCain Democrat.

More:

Coalition forces caught another suspected Iranian “Special Groups” member in southern Iraq. Last month, a key Special Groups financier was caught in Mahmudiya. The individual has direct links to Iran’s Qods Force and “is suspected to be the primary financier between Iranian intelligence elements and Special Groups criminals in Mahmudiyah and southern Baghdad and was reportedly distributing funds to weapons smugglers supplying criminals in those areas.” Read more in Bill Roggio’s (Long War Journal), “Iraqi army interdicting Iranian operations in the South.”

In Afghanistan, our UK allies inform us the Taliban are in serious disarray due to successful counterinsurgency operations. Thomas Harding from the Telegraph notes:

Last year’s killing of Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban chief, most likely by the Special Boat Service, was “a seminal moment in dislocating” their operation in southern Afghanistan, said Brig Carleton-Smith, 44, who has extensive operational experience in Afghanistan and Iraq and has commanded elite Army troops.

“We have seen increasing fissures of stress through the whole organisation that has led to internecine and fratricidal strife between competing groups.”

Taliban fighters are apparently becoming increasingly unpopular in Helmand, where they are reliant on the local population for food and water.

They have also been subjected to strikes by the RAF’s American-made Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle and the guided Royal Artillery missile system, which have both proved a major battlefield success.

“I can therefore judge the Taliban insurgency a failure at the moment,” said Brig Carleton-Smith. “We have reached the tipping point.”

The task is now to regenerate the economy to win over the civilian population of Helmand, the base for 8,000 British soldiers.

Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, appears to be a town on the cusp of an economic boom if security remains stable.

A new airport will be ready by the end of this year and a packaging factory by the end of next year.

This could enable the soil-rich “fruit basket of Afghanistan” to export its food.

MoveOn.org: General Betray Us?

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You’ve probably already read about the advertisement by MoveOn.org implying that General Petraeus is a liar (“General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House”). These people are disgusting and treasonous. Last night on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” program, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch declared, “These people deserve to be proverbially horsewhipped.” Mayor Koch sent this email yesterday:

Every decent person and responsible presidential candidate, Democrat and Republican, should denounce MoveOn.org, and if they are associated with the organization, not only denounce it, but demand it retract the ad with a superseding one apologizing for the slur. They should withdraw future support from the organization.

I could not agree more. This ad may very well be the final straw that broke the camel’s back for many centrists and “blue-dog” Democrats. Every Democratic presidential candidate who has received Moveon.org funds should return this tainted money immediately, the same way Democrats have been distancing themselves from disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu.

To insinuate that someone who has put his life in danger for this country for most of his adult life–a 35-year career soldier who has been wounded three times–is simply a lapdog for President Bush is not only out of line, it disgusts me as a registered Democrat.

Further, if General Petraeus is “cooking the books” what about the Democrats who reluctantly agree with him? Senators Joe Biden and Dick Durbin both came to similar conclusions after recently visiting Iraq. The Weekly Standard’s Pete Hegseth writes:

And this is not just about General Petraeus. After all, if General Petraeus is “cooking the books,” then the entire military chain of command in Baghdad, and all the staff, military and civilian, who have been working with General Petraeus are complicit, since Petraeus did not write his report in isolation. They are all, apparently, ‘betray[ing] us.’

In the minds of the loony left, they all are.

I’ll be calling my senators and representatives to ask them if they support this MoveOn.org ad. If they do, they can expect to lose my support.

ZioNation: Covering Israel in European Media

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[Hat tip ZioNation]

Are Western correspondents in the Middle East biased against Israel, as pro-Zionists often claim? Many people acknowledge that a neutral stance in the Israeli-Arab conflict is close to impossible, and journalists are people. As Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has shown, omitting positive news about a country will quickly make people to view that country in a more negative light. Media bias is not necessarily a result of bad intentions or conscious distortions. It often works very subtly, and journalists generally believe that they are covering the news accurately and fairly.

Last May my friend Wouter and I were in Jerusalem, and we had the opportunity to talk to Dutch RTL TV correspondent Conny Mus, who has been covering the news from the Middle East for 25 years. He introduced himself as a ‘street fighter’ from Amsterdam. Some Dutch Israelis we know consider him a good, balanced reporter on the conflict; some others disagree.

One of our main topics of discussion with Mus was whether Dutch media present a balanced picture of the conflict and what difficulties he encountered in his efforts to cover the news accurately.

It turns out he has been discussing the issue of balanced reporting on the conflict for years in panels and interviews. He showed no doubt of his own ability to remain neutral at all times. I wondered aloud whether it is not inevitable to be influenced by what you see and experience, by what people tell you, by the shows that they sometimes perform, and by your own sympathies. The fact that some things are easy to spot and other things are more hidden also influences our view of the conflict.

A former Dutch correspondent to the Middle East, Joris Luyendijk, had recently written a book about his frustrations in covering the news and the facts objectively. He had felt especially unable to cover Palestinian and Arab positions in a sufficient way, as according to him they lacked the professional propaganda apparatus that Israel has, and also their ways of expressing themselves are different from what is common in the West. This book started a discussion in the Netherlands about journalism and objectivity in the media.

Mus felt that Luyendijk was too young and had not been not up to his task. Mus has lived and worked in Jerusalem for 25 years, and felt that he knew how to get the job done, using a broad network of contacts to get the story from all perspectives. Mus told me that he had received angry responses to his recent TV interview with then Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh, including the accusation of being an anti-Semite. He had been accused of anti-Semitism several times, like the time he had remarked that a Jewish colleague was not able to report the conflict objectively because of his family history. One reason he gave for having such harsh criticism of Gerstenfeld’s media experiment, is that Gerstenfeld had apparently linked the media bias in the Netherlands to anti-Semitism, and thus accused Dutch journalists of being anti-Semites.

The accusations of anti-Semitism infuriates Mus. ‘I have Jewish friends; it is nonsense to call me an anti-Semite’, he said. Anti-Semitism, he felt, was something related to World War II, and had nothing to do with the current conflict. Moreover, he thought Arabs cannot be anti-Semitic because ‘Arabs are Semites themselves!’ Discriminating against them – as Israel does – would then make Israel anti-Semitic too, according to Mus’s reasoning. Wouter and I were quite amazed that a journalist with his experience would display such ignorance of the common dictionary meaning of the word anti-Semitism.

[continue reading]


Meaningless Terms: Chickenhawk

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[This is the first in a series on meaningless political terms. If you have any suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments section.]

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Blogger Mnunez commented on Forgetting Orwell’s Lessons for the Left that a big problem with democratic anti-totalitarians is we’re perceived as “chickenhawks.” As I replied, I find this term quite weak. In fact, chickenhawk is a meaningless term. When I write meaningless, I mean without meaning. I am not implying that the term is unpopular, merely that is intellectually sloppy stupid.

The vast majority of the people who use this word claim you can’t be pro-military if you don’t (or didn’t) serve in the military. This is nonsensical. After all, to be for law and order must one serve in the police? If I support the expansion of public parks do I need to be a park ranger? Of course not. So why do people who use this inane word think the same (il)logic holds true for the military?

As Ben Shapiro notes:

The “chickenhawk” argument is dishonest. It is dishonest because the principle of republicanism is based on freedom of choice about behavior (as long as that behavior is legal) as well as freedom of speech about political issues. We constantly vote on activities with which we may or may not be intimately involved. We vote on police policy, though few of us are policemen; we vote on welfare policy, though few of us either work in the welfare bureaucracy or have been on welfare; we vote on tax policy, even if some of us don’t pay taxes. The list goes on and on. Representative democracy necessarily means that millions of us vote on issues with which we have had little practical experience. The “chickenhawk” argument — which states that if you haven’t served in the military, you can’t have an opinion on foreign policy — explicitly rejects basic principles of representative democracy.

Jeff Jacoby also describes the silliness of this word:

“IT’S TOUCHING that you’re so concerned about the military in Iraq,” a reader in Wyoming e-mails in response to one of my columns on the war. “But I have a suspicion you’re a phony. So tell me, what’s your combat record? Ever serve?”

You hear a fair amount of that from the antiwar crowd if, like me, you support a war but have never seen combat yourself. That makes you a “chicken hawk” — one of those, as Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, defending John Kerry from his critics, put it during the 2004 presidential campaign, who “shriek like a hawk, but have the backbone of a chicken.” Kerry himself often played that card. “I’d like to know what it is Republicans who didn’t serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did,” he would sniff, casting himself as the victim of unmanly hypocrites who never wore the uniform, yet had the gall to criticize him, a decorated veteran, for his stance on the war.

“Chicken hawk” isn’t an argument. It is a slur — a dishonest and incoherent slur. It is dishonest because those who invoke it don’t really mean what they imply — that only those with combat experience have the moral authority or the necessary understanding to advocate military force. After all, US foreign policy would be more hawkish, not less, if decisions about war and peace were left up to members of the armed forces. Soldiers tend to be politically conservative, hard-nosed about national security, and confident that American arms make the world safer and freer. On the question of Iraq — stay-the-course or bring-the-troops-home? — I would be willing to trust their judgment. Would Cindy Sheehan and Howard Dean?

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More on the chickenhawk slur here, here, here, and here.

France2: Release the Mohammed al-Dura tapes!

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[Hat tip to Kesher Talk]

Richard Landes, who has been doggedly pursuing the truth of this incident for years, writes:

Please sign the petition and send it to everyone. Philippe Karsenty’s appeal trial is coming up and this petition is part of an effort to pressure France2 and the Justice system.

To Patrick de Carolis, France2 Television

France2: Release the Secret Muhammad al Durah Tapes!

People around the world who depend on the media for reliability, accuracy, and transparency in reporting, demand that France2 release the unedited video tapes (”rushes”) that its Palestinian cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah, sent them on September 30 and October 1, 2000 from Gaza.

On September 30, 2000, your Middle East correspondent Charles Enderlin, broadcast a story about Muhammad al-Durah, a 12-year old Palestinian boy. Using the footage and the testimony from his cameraman, Talal abu Rahmah, Enderlin reported that Israeli soldiers had targeted and killed the boy. That allegation of deliberate murder spread instantaneously around the world.

Extensive doubts have emerged about almost every claim of this explosive report, and they raise serious questions about both the journalistic integrity of the cameraman and the professional judgment of his employer, your correspondent Charles Enderlin.

As a result, the raw footage France2 received from Talal abu Rahmah represent key evidence in this crucial case.

But instead of releasing the tapes, your institution has responded to criticism of your correspondent’s broadcast by suing French citizens for defamation and keeping the tapes secret for nearly seven years now.

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Hymowitz: Freedom Fetishists

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[from the September issue of Commentary]

Kay S. Hymowitz

More than perhaps any other American political group, libertarians have suffered the blows of caricature. For many people, the term evokes an image of a scraggly misfit living in the woods with his gun collection, a few marijuana plants, some dog-eared Ayn Rand titles, and a battered pick-up truck plastered with bumper stickers reading “Taxes = Theft” and “FDR Was A Pinko.”

The stereotype is not entirely unfair. Even some of those who proudly call themselves libertarians recognize that their philosophy of personal freedom and minimal government can be a powerful magnet for the unhinged. Nor has recent political history done much to rehabilitate libertarianism’s image as an outlier.

The Libertarian party’s paltry membership has never reached much beyond the 250,000 mark, and polling numbers for Ron Paul, the perennial libertarian presidential candidate (now running for the Republican nomination), remain pitiable. Worse, despite Bill Clinton’s declaration that “the era of big government is over,” anti-statist ideas like school vouchers and privatized Social Security accounts continue to be greeted with wide-spread skepticism, while massive new programs like the Medicare prescription-drug benefit continue to win the support fo reelection minded incumbents. A recent New York Times survey found increasing support for government-run health care, and both parties are showing sigs of a populist resurgence, with demands for new economic and trade regulation.

And yet, judging by their output in recent years, libertarians are in a fine mood–and not because they are in denial.

[continue reading, subscription required]

Other articles include:

How Not to Get Out of Iraq

Max Boot

Foes of administration policy offer a variety of plans for ending American involvement; herewith, a guide and a critique.

New Orleans—An Autopsy

Ben C. Toledano

The funeral was not conducted until Katrina struck, but the death took place long before.

Can Europe Compete?

Carl Schramm and Robert E. Litan

Although the continent’s economic sluggishness may not be incurable, the obstacles to reform go very deep.

The Perplexities of Conservative Judaism

Jack Wertheimer

As the movement’s tent grows ever more accommodating, fewer seem interested in filling it.

Crying Poverty

Lawrence M. Mead

The plight of the poor has become a campaign issue—one to which even the campaigners have no solution.

A Wicked Son

Hillel Halkin

Why has a scion of the Israeli establishment turned violently against his country, and how significant is his apostasy?

Selling Classical Music

Terry Teachout

Of the challenges facing the new music director of the New York Philharmonic, staging outstanding concerts is the least.