UPI has long offered an array of probing commentary and analysis. Typically, their thought pieces are factually dense and robustly reasoned, feature substantial historical erudition, and overall convey intellectual suppleness. Naturally, such qualities therefore often make UPI’s output inimical to our Commodity Society. Cable news producers, talk show hosts, none can integrate such sui generis output into their meme-based programming. Think Wolfie’s “The Situation Room” viz-a-viz the BBC World Report.
Nonetheless, UPI’s overall output is vastly more accurate and useful than say George Friedman’s tedious “Stratfor” and similar self-promoting private analytical belches. Astonishingly shallow, shoddy and useless product. (Never give your email address to George. “Strafor” will spam you Dear Reader down unto Rapture Day with their trial offers, special offers, free offers, and God knows what). Today, UPI’s Marty Sieff explains some of the push back visited upon UPI for a column dedicated to statistical analysis of the Iraq War.
It is extraordinary that during the four and a quarter years the Iraq conflict has been running so far, no other mainstream American news outlet has run any regular column — weekly, biweekly or monthly — to analyze statistical trends in the war, nor, as our sister Eye on Iraq column did, to analyze political or strategic developments in it.
This failure does no service to the well-being and prospects of American soldiers serving in the conflict. Through World War II, the Korean War and even at later periods in the Vietnam conflict, many of the most successful and respected U.S. generals like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley and Matthew Ridgeway carefully read the dispatches of the leading war correspondents and invited them to their headquarters to pick their brains and get their perspectives on the conflict independent of those who came filtered up the long and complex military chains of command . . .
By contrast, the British media was at its most craven and slavish during World War I when the British “quality” and tabloid press, led by Lord Alfred Northcliff’s “Daily Mail,” completely covered up the criminal incompetence of Sir Douglas Haig and his favored colleagues that sent almost a million British soldiers to their deaths for no appreciable gain or significant damage inflicted on the German Army. Until Gen. Philippe Petain, the only outstanding Allied general in that conflict, took over the French army, the same fate befell an even larger number of French soldiers for similar reasons.
Marty continues here in Pt. 2. Unfortunately, Marty’s excursions into the past for comparative analysis fall short — or rather, contemporary America falls short. True, American society and the military previously embraced positive objective rationality and empiricism.
Our hyper-real AgitProp suffused miasma is separated from that America by more than mere time. Today, our denatured discourse and policy deliberations can not transcend meme commodification, self promotion and branding. Participants in the circle jerk are and would be either befuddled or curiously angered by facts that refuse simple meme configuration. Cognitively, the American people perhaps are no longer even members of the same genus as our forefathers. So the task really is, how to re-purpose long term statistical analysis of the war in the argot of maximizing shareholder value? Ideally with a celebutante co-branding with it and associated clothes line. And secondly, what should the logo be?