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The Thrill of Victory, the Agony of Commentary
by John David Powell
27 March 2003

I hate to say it, but only television news could make a war boring.

I hate to say it, being an old TV guy and all, but only television news could make a war boring. Here we are, just a few hours into the long-anticipated Operation Iraqi Freedom, and television news organizations struggle to keep viewers interested during lulls on the battlefields.

Covering a war is difficult, even with embedded correspondents (does anyone else have problems with that terminology). But for some reason, the coverage seems more appropriate for a sports event than an armed conflict between opposing armies. Come to think of it, that does sound like a sports event. I can see it now . . .

“Hello again, everyone, and welcome to Big News Network’s coverage of Superwar X. I'm Biff Jaw, and helping us analyze what we'll be seeing today is my friend and colleague, retired Army Maj. Frankie ‘Ragin’ Cajun' Herbert. Frankie, how does this Superwar stack up, here in the opening moments?"

“Well, Biff, as you know, everyone had expected this contest to be a hard-fought affair on both sides. The Mongrel Hordes have experience on their side, having just come off a tough league playoff to get here. The Screaming Blue Eagles, even though they drew a bye and have limited experience on this kind of natural playing field, have some techno-tactics that, I think, will prove to be the deciding factor as this contest unfolds."

“Right you are, Frankie. That seems to be the consensus of all the experts. There was a time, as you know, when experience in the trenches, if you will, made the difference. But in recent years, as you're aware, we've seen some major changes to this event, techno-tactics, as you so aptly put it, that I think, as I'm sure you do as well, we've entered a new era, one that I'm sure, as I know you are, will change the way Superwars are played in the future, especially today."

“Well, that's right, Biff. And we're seeing some of that techo-tactical advantage right here in the opening moments."

“Well, Frankie, we should point out that we're not actually seeing everything that's going on down there on the playing field due to circumstances beyond our control. However, we have a pretty good idea of what is happening based upon our embedded people -- now there's a term, Frankie, that I know brings up memories of college dorm rooms to you and me and a lot of our viewers out there -- and, of course, on some pretty gosh darn good guessing from people like yourself who've played this game, even if it's not this particular game that we're bringing to everyone live right here on Big News Network."

“Well, that's right, Biff."

“Frankie, the Mongrel Horde has elected to defend the north goal. What will the Screaming Blue Eagles be doing to break through that experienced Mongrel front line? We should point out, of course, that you have no earthly idea of the Blue Eagles' game plan, but that shouldn't stand in the way of expert analysis."

“Well, that's right, Biff. What we're going to see, if you will look here on our computerized, electronic chalkboard . . ."

“Which, I should point out, we'll be overusing throughout our coverage of Superwar X."

“Well, that's right, Biff. What we're going to see is that the Blue Eagles will try to run right through the middle of that Mongrel front line. Next, the Blue Eagles will run a sideline-to-sideline ground game interspersed with some more of that pinpoint air attack we've come to expect. So far we've been surprised by the apparent weakness of that much-touted Mongrel line, even though we haven't seen it with our own eyes."

“That's right, Frankie. We're going to take a look at what brought these two teams together, review some of the action to date, and talk to some reporters who've never played the game, but sure have a gosh-awful lot of opinions about the tactics, good and bad, used so far. But before we do, let's take this brief time out. This is live, special coverage of Superwar X, right here on Big News Network."

Published originally at; republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.

John David Powell is an award-winning writer and Internet columnist, professional speechwriter, and contributor to the Christian Millennium History Project. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

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