US Colonel Advocates US 'Military Attacks' on 'Partisan Media' in Essay for Neocon, Pro-Israel Group JINSA

“The point of all this is simple: Win,” writes Col. Ralph Peters. “In warfare, nothing else matters. If you cannot win clean, win dirty. But win.”

In the era of embedded media, independent journalists have become
the eyes and ears of the world. Without those un-embedded journalists
willing to risk their lives to place themselves on the other side of
the barrel of the tank or the gun or under the airstrikes, history
would be written almost entirely from the vantage point of powerful
militaries, or-at the very least-it would be told from the perspective
of the troops doing the shooting, rather than the civilians who always
pay the highest price.

In the case of the Iraq invasion and
occupation, the journalists who have placed themselves in danger most
often are local Iraqi journalists. Some 116 Iraqi journalists and media
workers have been killed
in the line of duty since March 2003. In all, 189 journalists have been
killed in Iraq. At least 16 of these journalists were killed by the US
military, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The network that has most often found itself under US attack is Al Jazeera. As I wrote a few years ago in The Nation:

The United States bombed its offices in Afghanistan in
2001, shelled the Basra hotel where Al Jazeera journalists were the
only guests in April 2003, killed Iraq correspondent Tareq Ayoub a few
days later in Baghdad and imprisoned several Al Jazeera reporters
(including at Guantanamo), some of whom say they were tortured. In
addition to the military attacks, the US-backed Iraqi government banned
the network from reporting in Iraq.

A new report for a leading neoconservative group which pushes a
belligerent "Israel first" agenda of conquest in the Middle East
suggests that in future wars the US should make censorship of media
official policy and advocates "military attacks on the partisan media."
(H/T MuzzleWatch) The report for JINSA,
the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, was authored by
retired US Army Colonel Ralph Peters. It appears in JINSA's "flagship
publication," The Journal of International Security Affairs.
"Today, the United States and its allies will never face a lone enemy
on the battlefield. There will always be a hostile third party in the
fight," Peters writes, calling the media, "The killers without guns:"

Of course, the media have shaped the outcome of conflicts
for centuries, from the European wars of religion through Vietnam. More
recently, though, the media have determined the outcomes of conflicts.
While journalists and editors ultimately failed to defeat the U.S.
government in Iraq, video cameras and biased reporting guaranteed that
Hezbollah would survive the 2006 war with Israel and, as of this
writing, they appear to have saved Hamas from destruction in Gaza.


Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. Perceiving
themselves as superior beings, journalists have positioned themselves
as protected-species combatants. But freedom of the press stops when
its abuse kills our soldiers and strengthens our enemies. Such a view
arouses disdain today, but a media establishment that has forgotten any
sense of sober patriotism may find that it has become tomorrow's
conventional wisdom.

The point of all this is simple: Win. In warfare, nothing else matters. If you cannot win clean, win dirty. But win. Our victories are ultimately in humanity's interests, while our failures nourish monsters.

It is, of course, very appropriate that such a despicable battle cry
for murdering media workers appears in a JINSA publication. The
organization has long boasted an all-star cast of criminal "advisors."
Among them: Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, James Woolsey, John Bolton,
Douglas Feith and others. JINSA, along with the Project for a New
American Century, was one of the premiere groups in shaping US policy
during the Bush years and remains a formidable force with Obama in the
White House.

Reading Colonel Peters's sick and twisted essay
reminded me of the report that emerged in late 2005 about an alleged
Bush administration plot to bomb Al Jazeera's international
headquarters in Qatar, which I covered for The Nation:

Britain's Daily Mirror reported that during an April 2004
White House meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, George W.
Bush floated the idea of bombing Al Jazeera's international
headquarters in Qatar. This allegation was based on leaked "Top Secret"
minutes of the Bush-Blair summit. British Attorney General Lord
Goldsmith has activated the Official Secrets Act, threatening any
publication that publishes any portion of the memo (he has already
brought charges against a former Cabinet staffer and a former
parliamentary aide). So while we don't yet know the contents of the
memo, we do know that at the time of Bush's meeting with Blair, the
Administration was in the throes of a very public, high-level temper
tantrum directed against Al Jazeera. The meeting took place on April
16, at the peak of the first US siege of Falluja, and Al Jazeera was
one of the few news outlets broadcasting from inside the city. Its
exclusive footage was being broadcast by every network from CNN to the

The Falluja offensive, one of the bloodiest assaults of the
US occupation, was a turning point. In two weeks that April, thirty
marines were killed as local guerrillas resisted US attempts to capture
the city. Some 600 Iraqis died, many of them women and children. Al
Jazeera broadcast from inside the besieged city, beaming images to the
world. On live TV the network gave graphic documentary evidence
disproving US denials that it was killing civilians. It was a public
relations disaster, and the United States responded by attacking the

Just a few days before Bush allegedly proposed
bombing the network, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Falluja, Ahmed
Mansour, reported live on the air, "Last night we were targeted by some
tanks, twice...but we escaped. The US wants us out of Falluja, but we
will stay." On April 9 Washington demanded that Al Jazeera leave the
city as a condition for a cease-fire. The network refused. Mansour
wrote that the next day "American fighter jets fired around our new
location, and they bombed the house where we had spent the night
before, causing the death of the house owner Mr. Hussein Samir. Due to
the serious threats we had to stop broadcasting for few days because
every time we tried to broadcast the fighter jets spotted us we became
under their fire."

On April 11 senior military spokesperson Mark
Kimmitt declared, "The stations that are showing Americans
intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news
sources. That is propaganda, and that is lies." On April 15 Donald
Rumsfeld echoed those remarks in distinctly undiplomatic terms, calling
Al Jazeera's reporting "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable.... It's
disgraceful what that station is doing." It was the very next day,
according to the Daily Mirror, that Bush told Blair of his plan. "He
made clear he wanted to bomb al-Jazeera in Qatar and elsewhere," a
source told the Mirror. "There's no doubt what Bush wanted to do-and no
doubt Blair didn't want him to do it."

Lest people think that the views of people like Col. Ralph Peters
and the JINSA/PNAC neocons are relics of the past, remember that the
Obama administration includes heavy hitters from this world among its
ranks, as well as fierce neocon supporters. While they may no longer be
literally calling the shots, as they did under Bush/Cheney, their
disproportionate influence on US policy endures.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

© 2023 The Intercept