US Beings to Bomb ISIS in Syria, Is This The New War?
As the U.S. begins to bomb ISIL forces in Syria, America finds itself for the third time in as many decades on the brink of a large-scale conflict in and around Iraq. However, unlike the news media drumbeat for war in Iraq in 2003, this present conflict has divided the Press, typically along ideological lines.
On Fox News’s Mediabuzz, Howard Kurtz discussed the coverage playing videos of Sean Hannity on the one side and Rachael Maddow on the other, according to Mediaite.com. The two hosts were discussing the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs hypothetical statement to Congress that should airstrikes fail, he’d consider recommending ground troops. Hannity said that the President was “handcuffing” his generals and setting them to fail, while Maddow reminded her viewers (in the acerbic style her viewers are used to) the decision of how to wage a military campaign are up to the civilian leadership.
So is Hannity ginning up fear in order to push for a new war out of some based Republican hatred for Muslims? Is Maddow, as Fox’s James Rosen suggests, showing disrespect to the military with her statements?* The answer to both, of course, is no.
Hannity, I would argue, is simply doing what he does best: make the President look bad in front of his viewers. Maddow is also correct in saying what she did and her entire segment points out numerous times that the general was responding to a hypothetical question. She was not really “defending the President” but more-or-less criticizing the faux scandal when real war is happening.
Which is why the ISIL campaign however it plays out, is already on better footing than the Iraq war of 2003. At least the news media is asking questions now, and it seems the response is more measured than before.
*In fairness, Rachel Maddow’s wrote an entire book on the problems facing this new generation of veterans and is an unabashed supporter of the IAVA. Hannity, on the other hand, has never really expressed much interest in the plight of peaceful Muslims.