during the televised press conferences would be tantamount to placing a
loaded shotgun in the hands of a four-year-old.
There must also be a clear distinction between the access to U.S. military
operations granted to competently trained American journalists and that
accorded to foreign journalists. It is dangerous enough to grant access to an
American who regards himself or herself as a "world journalist," free of such
"middle class values" as patriotism. It is utterly impossible to determine the
ultimate allegience of foreign reporters.
Do the restrictions on American journalists imposed during the Persian
Gulf and certain to be imposed in the future if American journalism continues
to resist change contain an element of danger for democratic government?
Most certainly. To the degree that any aspect of government, in particular
the military, is permitted to define how its activities are reported to the
public there is a danger. But that danger must be weighted against the more
immediate danger to the success of major military operations and to the
personal safety of members of the armed forces.
It is the press itself, by adherence to outmoded concepts of organization
and training, that has created the danger that now exists in the need for
excessive military control, and it is only the press that can reduce those
controls by beginning to act responsibly.
William E. DePuy, "Keynote Address", Armor ( July-August 1977): 34. In the
same speech, fifteen years before his words would be confirmed in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, DePuy said, "There is only one real Cavalry left in the Army
and that is Air Cavalry. . . . The only real mobility differential we have is air mobility.
. . . When the Germans broke open the World War I combat [pattern] in Poland in 1939 . . . they did it with Armor. We haven't broken open the armored warfare
[pattern] of World War II. . . . The real question of the future is whether or not
somebody will break the shell of that. . . . I think that someday there may be another
breakthrough. . . . We have just got to keep our eye on that." (p. 34)
"The Keeper of Secrets in Chief", New York Times, 15 April 1986, p. B6.
Leslie Maitland Werner, "Meese Favors Reducing Total of Classified Data", New York Times, 21 March 1985, p. A25.
"State Secrecy Doesn't Help National Security" (Op Ed), Wall Street Journal, 18 June 1986.
"It Isn't Spying" (Editorial), New York Times, 4 March 1985.
U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Government Operations, Security Classification Policy and Executive Order 12356 ( Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1982).
"The American press makes me think of a gigantic, super-modern fish cannery,
a hundred floors high, capitalized at eleven billion dollars, and with tens of thousands
of workers standing ready at the canning machines, but relying for its raw material
on an inadequate number of handline fishermen in leaky rowboats."
A. J. Liebling, "Goodbye M.B. I.", The New Yorker, 7 February 1948.