31 October 2008

Bing West Furious At Everybody

Grr!! Bing Smash!

Bing West, CFR member and author of "The Strongest Tribe", has a harshly written post at Small Wars Journal about journalist Nir Rosen. Rosen recently spent time with the Taliban to provide a very eye-opening account at Rolling Stone, which focused on their control of Ghazni province and their internal dynamics. IMHO, I thought it was good open-source intelligence and insight into the enemy, but Bing West was repulsed by his lack of patriotism and even sorta implies that he should be tried for treason:
Yet had Rosen been captured by Afghan soldiers, it is likely Rolling Stone magazine would have asked the US military to intercede for his release. But if the reporter has no obligation toward the soldier, does the soldier have the obligation to protect the journalist? Should Rosen, if captured, have been released or put on trial for aiding or abetting the enemy?
I empathize with the resentment, like when Washington Post stringers of dubious association were watching the Mahdi Army launch attack against the U.S., and of course there is always terrorist AP photographer Bilal Hussein. However, Nir Rosen's piece wasn't exactly giving a lot of sympathy to the Taliban thugs, and he never actively took part in an attack against ISAF forces. So bringing up "aiding and abetting the enemy" might be a bit much in his assault against a perceived enemy in the media.

Bing West goes on to rail against the Secretary of Defense and Admiral Mullen for lacking "moral courage and clarity" during tough times. Is he trying to get on C.H.U.D. Busters or something? I can't even begin to fathom the kind of responsibility that public servants Gates and Mullen have, and I would save my criticism for the politicians that appointed them, which is the crux behind "civilian control" of the military. This "good vs. evil" paradigm often neglects to understand the nature of the enemy and prevents any sort of reconciliation, which created a disastrous situation in Iraq following the invasion, something Bing himself acknowledges.

Abu Muqawama has more on Bing West follies, when he compares one generation to another as an arbiter of American greatness:
First he went after Bill Murphy's book in Forbes, sniping -- among other things -- that the contemporary American officer corps had not sacrificed on a level equivalent to those who fought in World War II and Vietnam -- wars "more intense" than the ones currently being fought.
Sure, I can say that my service was "less intense" than my late grandfathers in WWII. But casting such broadstrokes about today's military is a little unfair and can diminish a lot of respect in the public mind...I mean try saying that to this guy.

I don't want to interpret the words of others, but when David Bellavia says "don’t use your valor awards from previous wars to tell me about my war" in response to Murtha, it might apply to other older veterans, like West, as well.