Katherine Lopez writes on NRO: Sen. Mark Dayton says it was “antithetical to democracy” for General Meyers to have called CBS to ask them to delay the photo release in their news report (noting that much of the rest of the story was public info since January). Meyers said he had cause to worry their release could put our troops in danger. That’s antithetical to democracy?
I can’t believe that I’m defending Mark Dayton, but yes, K-Lo, having a military officer request that a free press not publicize something unfavorable to the military is absolutely antithetical to allowing the people who the military are serving have the information necessary to make their decisions. It’s not censorship – if the general forbade CBS, that would have been censorship – but the “cause to worry” bit is total nonsense. First, the story has already been delayed. Second, the fact that troops are still in Germany sixty years after the fact indicates that we may never see an end to the Iraqi occupation, so the general could plausibly use this logic to argue that the photos should not be released until all the parties involved are dead of old age. Not, of course, that we actually have a democracy, but that’s another issue altogether.
I have little sympathy for arguments that revolve around weasel words such as could, may, might and possibly. In free country, there must be a free flow of information. Americans are fine with our troops killing enemy combatants; most of us would rather see a thousand enemies perish instead of a single American soldier. But cover-ups, even in good causes, cannot be permitted. I note that no one, except for a few knee-jerks in the press, had any qualms about the officer who fired a gun next to the Iraqi in order to find out where an ambush had been laid. That’s not the sort of thing we’re dealing with here, and the administration’s defenders would be wise to accept that reality and deal with it.
If half your argument is based on bringing human decency to a place that lacks it, you shouldn’t be terribly surprised to find that this sort of degrading abuse blows a very large hole in your position.