- The Washington Times - Friday, October 19, 2001

Pacifist press

"The preparation of the U.S. military to fight a sustained war against terrorism is encouraging. The preparation of our media to keep Americans informed about the conflict is not.

"The gap goes far beyond a simple reporter-source conflict to a rift between military and civilian society. It has two components.

"One is simple competence. Because the draft ended in 1973, very few journalists today have served in the military. The old adage that a good reporter is good anywhere doesn't apply in the complexities of the modern world. It's hard to make sense of an operation if you think a Navy captain and an Army captain have the same rank.

"The other gap is social and political, and it can make journalists, whose business is discovering conflict, much more sympathetic to knee-jerk pacifists than their numbers justify.

"This social-political gap is not confined to journalists. A larger pattern of distance between military elites and their civilian counterparts has been documented by social scientists. The top brass is more socially conservative, more Republican and more likely to believe that a decline in traditional moral values threatens the breakdown of our society."

Philip Meyer, writing on "Crisis exposes military, civilian divide," in Wednesday's USA Today


Unready nation

"Almost as soon as the [World Trade Center] towers fell down, a loud caucus of commentators and politicians began to complain about the criminal incompetence of our intelligence agencies. We should have known. Where was the CIA? Why no timely warning or preemptive arrest? Who had neglected to alert James Bond or Bruce Willis?

"The questions missed the point. We had suffered not from a lack of data but from a failure of imagination. Accustomed to the unilateral privilege of writing the world's blockbuster geopolitical scripts, the Washington studio executives seldom take the trouble to look at the movie from the point of view of an audience that might be having trouble with the subtitles. Why bother? Let them eat popcorn and look at the pictures. It isn't only that we don't learn the languages. We don't remember history.

"The history lesson was too hard to set to the music of trumpets and drums, and most of the media voices chose to place the attack in the self-referential context of the great American shopping mall."

Lewis H. Lapham, writing on "Drums Along the Potomac," in the November issue of Harper's


Ho-hum homosexuals

"National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11)? What a waste of a perfectly good calendar day. Do we even need this anymore? Society doesn't care. Homosexual advocates got their wish: Nobody cares about their visibility anymore, except liberals who pander to them as a politically correct cause. We've already seen Candace Gingrich come out. We watched as Cher embraced her daughter's lesbianism, and we raised our eyebrows when Ellen DeGeneres' mom accepted her daughter's lover, Anne Heche (who later left the lesbian lifestyle and married a man).

"The 'gay' thing doesn't shock anymore. That's what 'coming out' was all about: Shock America into saying 'gay is normal.'

"'Coming Out Day' has lost its novelty. Most of the time everyone suspected the person was homosexual anyway. It doesn't change the fact that homosexuality is an act. You can stage rallies, hold concerts and parades and get on TV sitcoms but it still doesn't alter the reality that deep down, people still feel this is an unnatural behavior."

Jim Hanes, writing on "Do Homosexuals Really Need to 'Come Out' Anymore?," in the Oct. 17 issue of the Culture and Family Report

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