June 23, 2018
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Ernie Pyle, RIP

By Patrick Eisenhart, Special to the BDN

I think few would argue good investigative journalism on network TV or the major newspapers are dead or seriously compromised by the ideologies of the monopolistic owners who control them — Rupert Murdoch being a prime example.

Ernie Pyle, the famous, frontline, World War II correspondent must be spinning in his grave observing all the members of the press in Iraq, forbidden to go to the places where the battles were being fought, and herded into a big mess tent and shown movies by a one general on our “victories” on the field of battle.

Had Pyle escaped from that tent, he may have been shot by a sniper like so many other independent journalists have been in today’s war zones.

The last of the wartime investigative reporters died with reporters such as Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace who went to the front in Vietnam to see what was really going on and to find out if the war was really about stopping the spread of communism as reported by the Hearst Corporation and the government.

Just as the Hearst Corporation, the yellow journalists, and the government mobilized our country for war by falsely accusing Cuba for the sinking of the Maine, the same bogus strategies were implemented to mobilize our country to send Americans to suffer and die in Iraq. Just as there was no Cuban attack on the Maine, there were no weapons of mass destruction as reported in Iraq.

Now the same yellow journalists and rear-echelon war mongers would have us believe that the U.S. and Israel have the right to control the number of nukes in Iran although each has hundreds of their own.

Was it not the Russian and the U.S. realization of the strength of each others’ nuclear strengths that brought peace and ended the cold war? Would we have dreamed of attacking Russia to gain access to the huge oil reserves in the Baltic if Russia had given its nuclear capability to wipe out the U.S.? Is Iran, like Iraq, vulnerable because of its lack of nuclear defense of its oil reserves?

The reality is Iran not only does not have a nuclear bomb to match the 400-plus in Israel but it has abandoned its efforts to build one. Israel’s top military officer has backed U.S. intelligence assessments that Iran has abandoned efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

In an interview, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz called Iranian leaders “very rational people” who appear to have been swayed by international sanctions to stop nuclear efforts. Gantz’s comments contrast with the view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly referred to Iran as an existential threat.

To convince the American public that attacking Iran is just, the news media, U.S and Israeli leadership have made the false claim that Iranian President Ahmadinejad said Israel should be “Wiped off the map.”

A top Israeli official has acknowledged that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad never said that Iran seeks to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.”

The falsely translated statement has been widely attributed to Ahmadinejad and used repeatedly by U.S. and Israeli government officials to back military action and sanctions against Iran. But speaking to Teymoor Nabili of the network Al Jazeera, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor admitted Ahmadinejad had been misquoted.

Were Ernie “G.I. Joe” Pyle alive today, perhaps he would have questioned Colin Powell’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or the vice president’s unfounded claim that Saddam was connected to the Al Qaeda. He may today be asking people why we are still in Afghanistan in the longest war of our history or why we have the need to continue sanctions against Iran.

Consolidation of the media into six mega-corporations like Rupert Murdoch’s give ideologues like him the opportunity to go unchecked in convincing the public to accept news that is either false, unverified or aimed at their own political ideologies.

God bless you Pyle, thank you for your service. May you rest in peace along with the hundreds of courageous journalists shot and killed in an effort to report the truth so all of us at home could reach our own, independent conclusions about war.

Patrick Eisenhart, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard (ret), Augusta.

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