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02/20/2004 Entry: "It's not even in the past"

"In July 2002 a retired US Army colonel who would be dead within months unburdened himself of twenty-two classified documents concerning war crimes in Vietnam. The colonel didn't care for journalists, but he was fond of his neighbor in Springfield, Virginia, a Washington-based science reporter for the Toledo Blade. Those twenty-two documents laid the groundwork for a remarkable four-part series published in the Blade this past October--a series that meticulously reconstructed the activities of an elite US Army reconnaissance platoon and its descent into barbarism at the height of the Vietnam War."

*snip*

"Why did major news organizations handle the Blade series with tongs, or not at all? As Daniel Okrent noted, major newspapers are rarely generous to their less distinguished rivals. But there seem to be other reasons as well. 'There is a sense,' the Blade's Sallah told NPR's On the Media, 'that we should not be too openly critical and evoke these painful memories of Vietnam when we're already in a conflict.' Indeed, with a few exceptions like Ted Koppel, US journalists have been noticeably reluctant to ponder the contemporary relevance of the Blade report. It was left to the foreign press to wonder if there is any symmetry between US intervention in Southeast Asia in 1967 and the Middle East in 2004: 'Tiger Force continues to be an active part of the US military,' affirmed the Toronto Star. 'It is currently on duty in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.'"
Press Watch, by Scott Sherman, The Nation, from the March 1, 2004 issue

Paraphrasing Faulkner here - the past is never over, it's not even in the past.

 

 

 

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