The Media and G.I. Joe
I loved Chris Bray's "The Media and G.I. Joe" (February). But you should have given Bray a look at the cover. He probably could have told you that G.I. Joe is carrying a close replica of a Kalashnikov AK-47, the symbolic weapon of the Soviet Union, its clients, and all insurgents since 1947. Osama bin Laden is usually photographed carrying a similar one.
Step hen Bodio Magdalena, NM
The media's typical anti-military stance tends to result in willful ignorance. My first encounter with this was the reporting on the Kent State shootings. The caption of one photo read "National Guard officer pointing his pistol at the demonstrators," while the photo clearly showed his M1911A1 .45ACP pistol in full retraction with a case in the air. It had clearly just been aimed and fired, but the editors, in their profession's self-enforced ignorance of firearms and the military, missed a much more significant caption.
Tom W. Glaser Miami, FL
As a former U.S. Army captain, I was delighted by Chris Bray's hypothesis that the media typically lack a basic understanding of how the military works. Unfortunately, Bray's naive presentation unwittingly proves his point.
For starters, "two years and 17 weeks as an infantryman" in the peacetime U.S.Army hardly provides Bray with the grounding needed to tackle the topic. As an enlisted "IIB," Bray would have been one of a multitude of "cogs in a machine," to borrow a David Horowitz quote Bray uses, representing a view to which I don't necessarily subscribe. To put it in civilian terms, the assignment was like asking a former IBM mail-room clerk to write an article about the company's intellectual property portfolio.
Aware of his thin credentials, Bray searches out experts. Yet instead of interviewing policy makers at the major military think tanks such as the Army Command and General Staff College, Bray talks to instructors at West Point and their wet-behind-the-ears students. West Point is basically a four-year college that provides a minority of the junior officers to the U.S. Army (the vast majority come from the ROTC program).The few West Pointers who eventually make it to the general ranks will have first gone through years of further academic training on the military arts. To expect that instructors at the school, much less their students, would be at the leading edge of military doctrine would be far off the mark.
Given that, Bray's sweeping conclusion that "there's an extraordinary...