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Stupid Journalists: Diction Versus Fiction
by Drew Taggart, VIODaily
9 April 2003

Salients, Tanks and other Misnomers of Operation Iraqi Freedom.



Sometimes, journalists need to do a little more research before attempting to be recognized as "experts."  Much like the celebrities in Hollywood, some people believe that being in front of a camera with millions of people watching makes them an automatic authority on. well. everything.  Cases in point:

MSNBC Military "expert" Col. Jack Jacobs was "concerned" about "Iraqi salients "that were deep into our lines and could allow enemy troops to harass coalition back areas." Huh?  Salient?  A salient is defined as "a military position that projects into the position of the enemy."  The Iraqis weren't "projecting" anything.  And these so called "salients" were simply areas our forces had yet to "mop up."  However, maybe the colonel, being a "paid consultant" of MSNBC was attempting to keep the audience interested.  The best analogy of this would be John Madden saying a football team "could still come back" when they are down by 40 points at the half.  The Iraqis though never seem to have made it on to the field...

Then there are the numerous references to "tanks."  Note: not everything with tracks is a tank.  But they have erroneously referred to Bradley Fighting Vehicles and the Paladin Self Propelled Howitzers as "Tanks." The only tank we are employing in Iraq is the M1-A1 Abrams Battle Tank, probably the best tank in the world.  This "monster" has so far proved nearly impervious to anything the Iraqis Irregulars and Fedayeen have attacked with in combat, including RPGs, suicide bombers and even school buses.  None have been of much effect. The Bradleys primarily carry infantry into battle and allow for the rapid deployment of ground troops into a hostile area.  They are smaller than tanks and with far less offensive armament.  The Paladin Howitzers look somewhat like tanks but are not.  They are armored, self-propelled artillery pieces which can support armored and mechanized infantry incursions.

Concerning the air power being employed, it would be nice if they would take the time and explain the different uses and implementations of the A-10 Warthog "Tank Buster," the Apache Attack Helicopter and the Super Cobra Helicopter and how these different ground support aircraft add to the technological superiority of our forces.

The final sore point of contention is what this "conflict" is being called.  It isn't an "invasion" and it isn't the "War on Iraq."  It is Operation Iraqi Freedom; we went to war and the good news is that the Iraqi people get a shot at running their own affairs.  So, why can't CNN, ABC and a host of others get the story straight? Or do they really cringe at the idea of Harvard educated, Texas "hayseed" named Bush coming out of this conflict even more popular with the American people? (Take heart Mr. President, the left has called every Republican President since Eisenhower a "moron.")

It would be nice if these "expert journalists" would take a few minutes and study the technology and tactics being employed on the battlefield.  It would greatly benefit their audience to know our troops have the best equipment available, the best training and are an enthusiastic, all volunteer military.  Maybe then the these "talking heads" wouldn't waste so much time telling us how we're losing.


Drew Taggart is the editor of VIODaily.

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