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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/25/16

What real war reporting is all about

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File:Azaz Syria during the Syrian Civil War Missing front of House ...
File:Azaz Syria during the Syrian Civil War Missing front of House ...
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Voice of America News: Scott Bob report from Azaz, Syria. /, Author: See Source)
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Ruins of war in Azaz, Syria, north of Aleppo

Starting I believe with the Iraq war in March 2003 there was this phenomenon of so called "journalists" being "imbedded" with the troops-which was a true misnomer as few if any of the troops in actual combat were interviewed. What was "reported" came from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld or some other Pentagon flak far from the war zone and always with a spin of triumphalism.

It was "perfect" to coincide with the euphoria that existed at the time in support of the war -never mind it was pure "journalistic hokum"- supposedly the heroic exploits of our troops in the war zone not quite "heroes" as yet but that little omission would soon be rectified with the proliferation of yellow ribbons displayed on the trunk of American cars extolling, "Support Our Troops".

Well you don't see many of those ribbons anymore and if you do they're somewhat tattered. Also the "triumphalism" of that war isn't heard anymore possibly because it was a war never won and never intended to be won. Not when endless war was the real intention anyway. Throw in a little fear mongering of Islamic terrorists as the new mortal "enemy" we must fight everywhere and it wasn't much of a stretch to get the American people to accept war as the new reality because... it's a dangerous world out there and war is necessary to keep us safe.

Anyway that war in Iraq "officially" ended in 2011-unofficially not ended just shifted primarily to Syria along with Obama's "no boots on the ground" policy except special ops troops who apparently don't count as troops- they're just "advisors" to the mercenary jihadists (terrorists?). None of this is heard or discussed in polite company these days maybe because real reporting of war is never seen or heard and certainly not dispensed by our dutiful, complicit corporate MSM.

But on that note of real reporting of war [1] here's a few excerpts from British reporter Robert Fisk, "On The Front Line With the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Battling Outside Aleppo" - who was not exactly "imbedded" -talking with and filming Iranian troops fighting against ISIS, al Nusra Front terrorists.

Here's Fisk, "We knew who they were the moment they approached us on the front line outside Aleppo. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops alongside the Syrian army-emerged on the roadside in their grey-patterned camouflage fatigues, speaking good though not perfect Arabic but chatting happily in Persian when they knew we could understand them.

Why they asked politely-they were courteous, but very suspicious in the first few minutes-were we filming this part of their line? A mortar exploded in a field to our right-sent over by ISIS or by Jabhat al Nusra-and we had filmed its cloud of brown smoke as it drifted eastwards.

I told the Iranian commander, a tall, bespectacled and thoughtful man, that we were journalists. I got the impression these men wanted to talk to us-which proved to be the case.

'When I heard that there was an English reporter asking for information in this area,' the man said, 'I said to myself: 'England is helping ISIS and an English reporter is here asking for information'. The immediate thing in my mind was, 'Where is this information going to go?'

He apologized. 'If you were in my place and you were fighting a harsh and brutal enemy like ISIS in this location-and this is our front line- why should you be allowed here?'

We explained that we were traveling with Syrian military personnel, and I showed the Iranian commander my press card-and he recognized my name and newspaper. There was much shaking of hands. 'The Independent' was respected, he said.

Down the dun-colored road in front of us were the Nusra and ISIS lines still held against the Syrian advance, there was an awful lot of rifle fire and the sound of bullets whizzing past the buildings ...with the shooting continued throughout our strangely existential conversation.

'One of the problems of this place is the enemy is very close. You see those two silos over there? Well, that's where Nusra are sitting right now and watching us at this moment. Any time, a mortar can arrive and you will be dead-and I will feel responsible, because in the last few hours I have already lost one man and had another wounded.

Another younger man arrived, bearded but smiling broadly. 'This is not the right place for you to be. If you want to show the truth of what is happening, you should go north of Aleppo and you should see villages and how they've been destroyed and how those who rejected the rule of al-Nusra were treated. They have lost everything-their homes have been smashed-even if the war was to end now, the clean up and preparations to rebuild will take at least a decade. That's how badly damaged everything is.'

Enough of this synopsis of Fisk's on the scene war reporting. Check it out yourself. It's what real war reporting is all about.

[1] "Robert Fisk: On The Front Line With the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Battling Outside Aleppo"-"Information Clearing House"-"The Independent", February 24, 2016

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