Are TV media telling too much?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The French and other countries may not be with us, but President George Bush has made his final statement concerning a war with Iraq.

Saddam Hussein and his sons now have about 12 hours to leave Iraq or face U.S. military action. I am just hoping and praying that the United States doesn’t give away too many secrets on how this war is going to be fought as it did during a recent event.


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No one was more disappointed than I was when Osama bin Laden slipped away from being captured by Pakistani and American forces about three weeks ago.

It irked me to no end when I heard TV news reports on how the good guys had reportedly located bin Laden and one of his sons. I thought, &uot;Oh Lord, there they go again giving everything away.&uot; They then reported that it was purposeful so that bin Laden could keep moving. U.S. forces had devices that would detect him immediately and they could move in for the capture. Next thing I knew it was being reported that his trail had run cold and they had lost him.

Why wasn’t the same procedure used on him that was used on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man thought to be the No. 3 figure in the terror network? When he was captured, no one even knew that he was being hunted because it wasn’t advertised.

This incident made me glad to hear that most of the journalists have decided to leave Baghdad after it was decided Monday that a war was imminent, even if it had to be done without the majority of the Security Council’s backing. U.N. inspectors are also leaving the area.

A few journalists will remain to report and take pictures near the war zone, but will do it in a way to keep from harsh reporting of bloodshed that may be upsetting to love ones.

When Bush gave his speech Monday night about the possibility of war, one statement stuck out: &uot;The U.N. Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so now we must rise up to ours.&uot;

I usually leave my television on in my bedroom when I am sleeping, and about 4 a.m. I was awakened by some disturbing news, which I thought was too much reporting too soon about the war.

ABC was comparing Iraq’s troops and ammunition to ours, in the process reporting that we had some surprises for Iraq. I have some news to report, too. They are not surprises now.

The report said that if Iraq had any advantage in the fighting, it might have to do with the vast amount of territory that the U.S. must cover and control, which was the size of California. American troops are unfamiliar with that land, and Saddam’s army could take advantage of that. They smoothed it over by saying that the American troops have a decade of intense training in this situation and the unknown in this war is whether the Iraqi people will see the troops as liberators or invaders.

The part that really irritated me was the report that one of United States’ biggest interests is the city of Bosra, which is a port that leads to the Persian Gulf in one direction and up the Tigris River toward Baghdad in the other.

&uot;U.S. plans call for capturing Bosra and using it as a main supply route for American forces, but Saddam may have his own plans to sink ships in the water way to block passage,&uot; the newscaster said.

This statement sounds as if the news was giving a tip of what the U.S. was planning to do and then telling Saddam how to stop them from doing it. So much more was given out, even the fact that more bombs will be dropped on Iraq the first night than were dropped the entire 44 days of Desert Storm.

News reports given out Tuesday said that Saddam will not leave his country, but will go into hiding when the war starts. It’s terrible that the Iraqi people are willing to put their lives on the line while he tries to protect his.

We seem to be participating in war games with bin Laden and Saddam. We thought that we were through with Saddam 10 years ago and now he is back and bin Laden has gone into hiding again. After we come out a victor in this war, I hope other doesn’t pop up start another one.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and regular columnist for the News-Herald.