Wouldn’t you agree that the logical implication of this argument is that any criticism of a war, or an administration in a time of war, is prima facie unpatriotic? I think this is a rather dangerous line of thinking. Personally, I’ve always been of the opinion that political criticism is never more necessary than during a war, any war. What do you think?
Adding to Crunchie’s excellent points, I very much agree with you that it’s a dangerous area to move into, because it’s one heck of a balancing act.
On the one extreme, you can censor every single word that criticizes anything that might be construed to make the government look bad and, on the other, you can let everybody say everything they want, to the point where it is no longer necessary for the enemy to run propaganda efforts of their own because it’s already being done by ourselves.
The trick is staying in the “sweet spot” somewhere in between, a by no means easy feat to accomplish.
There is absolutely no denying that you cannot effectively fight a war if you don’t control the information, or “message”, to an extent. Not to the point of lying, lying is the worst possible form of propaganda since it will invariably be found out and backfire, but to the extent where you at the very least make sure that the positives are reported with at least as much emphasis as the negatives, preferably more so.
Is this a form of “censorship?” You’re damn right it is, but that’s how you fight and win a war. Wars aren’t the same as peace, and different rules apply. You didn’t see the New York Times publishing the convoy schedules during WWII, did you? Of course not, you’d say, but in this war that same paper has already blown the lid off of more highly effective counter-terrorist operations than I can remember. That costs lives. It has cost lives already, and it will continue to cost lives. All of those lives can be laid at the doorstep of Pinch Sulzberger and his fifth column minions, and I don’t care what you or anybody else says.
They’re responsible, period. Some may think that this is a reasonable price to pay for “freedom to publish treasonous speech”, but none of the people saying this are the ones who have been paying it. It’s always awfully easy to be idealistic when it’s somebody else paying the price.
Now I don’t like the fact that we can’t continue to party like it’s 9/10/2001, throwing caution to the wind and letting fly with any damn thing we bloody well please. I happen to like it when society is like that, and I most certainly do not like to think about some expressions being declared off-limits temporarily, because you never know how “temporary” that’s really going to be.
That’s reason #1,336 why wars are nasty and something you avoid for as long as you possibly can, because you simply can’t afford the kind of free-wheeling, gum-flapping nonsense that has no serious consequences in peacetime. That’s also a reason why you need to win wars as quickly as possible, so you can roll back those temporary measures as soon as possible and before they become “business as usual”, because by then they’re damn near impossible to get rid of.
And the only way to win a war quickly, but that’s a subject for another time, is to hit the enemy with everything you have, all the time, anywhere you can find him, no restrictions, no holds barred, 24/7 and keep hitting him until the corpse stops twitching.
THEN you declare victory and go home.]]>