Commentary and links relating to media coverage of war; both before, during, and after.

William A. Dorman is Professor of Government at California State University, Sacramento, and has taught a course in War, Peace and the Mass Media since 1970.

Web Page

U.S. Foreign Policy Blog

E-Mail: dormanw at

<< current


War, Peace, and the Mass Media
Saturday, April 10, 2004  
Vietnam's Lessons Then and Now

By Colbert I. King

Washington Post
Saturday, April 10, 2004

" 'No one starts a war, or rather no one in his senses should do so,' Clausewitz wrote, 'without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to achieve it.' Mistake number one in Vietnam. Which led to Clausewitz's rule number two. Political leaders must set a war's objectives, while armies achieve them. In Vietnam, one seemed to be looking to the other for the answers that never came."
-- "My American Journey," by Colin Powell

Was the Bush administration clear in what it intended to achieve by invading Iraq? In the weeks leading up to the war, the answer seemed clear. President Bush and his advisers, in a series of public statements, repeatedly cited Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's link with al Qaeda as threats to the United States and reasons for going to war. That's not what we're hearing today.

A different set of war goals has emerged over the past year. We are now in Iraq, according to various administration pronouncements, to: bring about self-government and create conditions for economic growth and development; build a unified Iraq that does not pose a threat to international peace; leave behind us a constitution and parliament; help build a disarmed, law-abiding Iraq that is whole, free, at peace with itself and its neighbors, and that no longer supports or harbors terror; and to help Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and future. These goals are worth revisiting in light of current conditions in Iraq.

To read the rest of King's column, see Washington

7:19 PM

Friday, April 09, 2004  
Despite Setbacks, Top Papers Back U.S. Effort in Iraq

By Charles Geraci
Editor and Publisher
April 09, 2004

NEW YORK Despite the growing upheaval and U.S. casualties in Iraq, a majority of the nation's 20 largest newspapers, in editorials during the past week, have urged the White House to stay the course.

Among this group, however, there is wide disagreement on whether to send more troops and whether sticking to the June 30 handover of power to an Iraqi government is a good idea. None of the top 20 (by circulation) urged a quick military withdrawal, although some call for the U.S. to share responsibility with the United Nations or NATO.

To read the rest of this story, see Editor & Publisher

9:54 AM

Thursday, April 08, 2004  
Winning the War on Terror

  By Bill Moyers
  t r u t h o u t | Perspective

 Thursday 08 April 2004

Blog editor's note: This commentary by Bill Moyers, one of our most thoughtful contemporary public intellectuals, is more than worth your reading time. He is also the premier TV documentary working today. Note that Moyers was an advisor to LBJ and knows something firsthand of Presidents, propaganda and quagmires.

  President Bush spoke eloquently the other day about what the war on terror requires of us. He said, "The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is an inescapable calling of our generation." Those words ring true. Whatever drives them, whatever grieves them, Islamic fanatics have declared war and seem willing to wage it to the death. If they prevail, our children will grow up in a world where fear governs the imagination and determines the rules of life. Mr. Bush clearly believes what he said: The war on terror is an inescapable calling of the generation now in charge.

  Like most Americans, I want to support him in that work; I want to do my part. But the president makes it hard. He confused us by going after Saddam Hussein when the villain behind the mass murders of 9/11 was Osama bin Laden. He seems not to realize how his credibility has been shredded by all the false and misleading reasons put forth to justify invading Iraq; Lyndon Johnson never recovered from using the dubious events at the Gulf of Tonkin as an excuse to go to war in Vietnam, and even if Mr. Bush wins reelection this November, he, too, will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception. The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington. And there will come a time when the president will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right wing media; he will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda at odds with reality.

To read the rest of Mr. Moyers' perspective, see Truthout

6:09 PM

This page is powered by Blogger.