Hard-Hitting Reporters?

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Just how worried are coalition forces about their extended line of advance?

"At one forward position, soldiers asked a reporter to carry a pistol to help protect the perimeter."

And he had to holster a nifty PDA to do it.

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  1. Pathetic. Did the reporter comply? That’s the triumph of embeddedness – first reporters are talking about how brave American soldiers are, next they’re carrying weapons for them.

    Now, I’m all for reporters carrying weapons for personal protection, but not to fight the war.

  2. People, give it a little thought. A pistol is not an offensive weapon in war. It’s defensive. You give a man a rifle to fight with, a gun to save his own ass.

  3. I understand where Joe is coming from. My understanding of the “armed reporters” issue is that reporters are just there to observe. This is why it’s ok for them to stand idly by and film someone bleeding to death.

    And to Gary Gunnels, I think that training is “nice” (anti-gunners often like to tack it on to their laws) but not really all that valuable in this case. The fact of the matter is that guns require about 30 seconds of training (if that). They are generally simple machines (especially when it comes to pistols). This is underscored by the fact that several children each year manage to figure out their operation without adult instruction. Hard to improve on the usability of this “point-and-shoot” device.

    If someone handed someone a gun, showed them the hole the bullets come out of and explained where the trigger is, the results when used against an agressor would probably be effective enough for government work.

    That said, I still think that reporters should be unarmed in battle – amazingly for their own safety. Several cameramen have been killed over the years by armored vehicles that confuse the camera for a rocket launcher.

    On a side note, I sure wish David Bloom over at NBC (well, actually a little Southwest of Baghdad right now) would wear a damn helmet. Everyone else is – and it’s not like it could mess up his hair anymore than it is already.

  4. A pistol in this context is purely defensive. It’s not as if they handed him the keys to an Abrams…

    Jeff, is there some ethical or legal proscription against active participation, assuming the reporter had the necessary skills in warfare?

    I don’t dig DC’s “pathetic” response – if embedded reportage seems dangerous or unethical, perhaps he/she/it would care to discuss the alternatives with veteran ITN reporter Terry Lloyd.

  5. Well hopefully he wasn’t bragging about having it like Geraldo did.

  6. DC Why don’t you go to the Iraqi front lines and tell the commander that you don’t want the pistol? Obviously you know nothing about being a front line reporter, otherwise you might understand why some of them carry guns. So before you call one of these brave reporters pathetic, maybe you should walk in their shoes for awhile.

  7. I don’t mind them carrying a pistol for personal protection. I do mind them carrying a pistol to help protect the perimeter. They’re reporters, not soldiers. And that’s the problem with embeddedness.

  8. Neb Okla writes: “The fact of the matter is that guns require about 30 seconds of training (if that). They are generally simple machines (especially when it comes to pistols).”

    The important training isn’t HOW to use the pistol, it’s WHEN to use it, and when NOT to use it.

    Are reporters trained how to recognize friend from foe? Are they trained in the rules of engagement?

    Do we really want an armed, untrained reporter with a pantsload panicing and shooting a US soldier? Or a civilian?

  9. Did the reporters go through “bootcamp” before the war? Did that include training in small arms combat, etc.?

  10. So now soldiers, terrorists, and guerillas around the world will know that reporters carry weapons at the request of the American military. Is that going to make the press safer when they report from war zones, or more endangered? Will that make them more or less able to operate independently? Will the news we get from war zones be fairer, or more biased?

  11. Maybe the reporters should carry ExLax?. Since they will be armed non-military, wouldn’t they be “irregulars” like we consider similar Iraqis?

  12. Just a thought. Why not defend the perimiter though? To enemy his fate is basically ties to the fate of the GIs he’s trvelling with. If the reporter is captured by the Iraqi military , his fate will probably be simliar to those of the GIs. If he is captured by Fadayeen or groups like that it will be Danny Pearl all over again. I know it shouldn’t but it will.

  13. Mountain Goat,

    I think this would only be appropriate when the reporters are in Shiite territories.

  14. “Just a thought. Why not defend the perimiter though? To enemy his fate is basically ties to the fate of the GIs he’s trvelling with. If the reporter is captured by the Iraqi military , his fate will probably be simliar to those of the GIs. If he is captured by Fadayeen or groups like that it will be Danny Pearl all over again. I know it shouldn’t but it will.”

    Then let’s just admit the press is… for the most part and Reason magazine excepted… what it is: propaganda tools of the U.S. administration. And let’s dispense with the bullshit about how Al Jazeera spreads Iraqi propaganda, but American media report the facts.

  15. I dunno, I train people to shoot handguns all the time. We give a nine hour NRA course. Teaching how to make the gun go boom takes 30 seconds; hitting what you want and not shooting your nads or your neighbors takes a little more training.

    I’d be more afraid of an untrained armed reporter’s friendly accidental fire. Did we confirm that the reporter was given a loaded gun?

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