Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Api ever ata

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t a little bit too much
being made by the media over the exploits of New
Zealand soldiers and SAS troops in Afghanistan? The
television news bulletins in particular seem to be in a
state of almost permanent arousal over Willie Apiata
and the boys. It takes just one so-called ‘firefight’ for
them to start spouting words like ‘heroic.' Simon
Dallow on One News tonight was brimming with pride
about a Kiwi soldier who’d performed a brave action,
and Europe correspondent Paul Hobbs was virtually
weeping with joy. Not to take anything away from
these frontline troops but I’m sure that they themselves
would be highly embarrassed by such a carry-on. I trace
it to a desperate need on the part of the New Zealand
media for a bit of biffo that doesn’t, for once, involve
just American or British troops and packs a visual
punch not usually found in your average prime-
ministerial press conference. The truth is that New
Zealand's involvement in Afghanistan is negligible to
the point of invisible, and whether or not you agree
with it, it's only soldiers doing what soldiers anywhere
do. Seizing on every little military engagement as if it
were the equivalent of Stalingrad does them no favours,
does the rest of us a disservice and—worst of all—
reduces the complex conflict in Afghanistan to a sort of
sporting tournament in which we only take an interest
if our team is playing.

1 comment:

Giovanni said...

I don't know who the PR is for the armed forces but they're doing a terrific job, no question. The piece on the bearded warrior on the Dominion Post a few weeks ago fits right in with the war journalism of a century or so ago.