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Recommended Reading

Top Billing! SWJ Blog Rosen Affair Roundup

A must-read collection of links on Nir Rosen’s highly controversial “embed” with the Taliban.

I’m not buying the argument that journalists somehow are morally excused or above the legal obligations of other American citizens in dealing with an enemy in an armed conflict with the United States. Rosen’s personal daring, talent or whether he may have uncovered valuable information in Pushtunistan or not ( negotiation and deal-making is a historic component of Afghan tribal warfare) isn’t the point.  If I openly sold the Taliban medical supplies or collected donations for them, I’m pretty sure the FBI would arrive at my door in short order. What’s the moral difference if your business involves a laptop and information rather than shipping physical goods ? Any?

CTLab Review A Brief History of Negotiating with the Taliban

On a related note.

Kings of WarAesop von Kissinger: Lessons from Vietnam

FPRIFrom Stone to Silicon: A Brief Survey of Innovation

John Seely Brown Learning 2.0 : The Big Picture (PDF)

Conceptually rich handful of slides in PDF format.

Center for Contemporary ConflictThe Strategy of Containment in Fighting Terrorism

The Jamestown FoundationTaming the ISI: Implications for Pakistan’s Stability and the War on Terrorism

Shlok’s first policy briefing ( meant to highlight this earlier)

Rough TypeOpenness is not enough

That’s it !

7 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. Revenge of the JIThink « The Committee of Public Safety Says:

    […] a comment » This article (props to Zenpundit) had this interesting bit the ongoing crisis for JIT-think: COLLAPSING JUST-IN-TIME SUPPLY […]

  2. Mike Says:

    Zen, what if the journalist in question was an Irish or Swiss citizen? You’re basically suggesting that independent media have the same responsibilities as a branch of gov’t – more, as a branch of US gov’t. It doesn’t, and the war, y’all tend to forget, doesn’t just involve the U.S. troops fighting  in Afghanistan.

  3. zen Says:

    Hi Mike,
    If Rosen was Swiss or Irish, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Likewise, if he had embedded with Tutsi rebels in the Congo or even, say, Hezbollah, that would also be ok. Just not American citizens embedding in groups in active, legally recognized, armed conflict with the U.S. military.

  4. tdaxp » Blog Archive » Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics. Says:

    […] of Zenpundit, I read John S. Brown’s Learning 2.0: The Big Picture (PDF). Dr. Brown, a computer scientist, […]

  5. Eric Says:

    I understand the concern but I can’t accept drawing a comparison between providing comfort – "collect donations. . . sell medical supplies" – with report on. Personally, I want the best information possible about the groups we fight against and I don’t care about the nationality of the individual who provides it.

    I’m talking generally here. I haven’t finished reading his piece and there are parts of it – color commentary, if you will – that bother me on first reading. Still, journalists do, in fact, have a different set of rules applied to them in the pursuit of their profession. Journalists are permitted to travel to Cuba, for example.

    Do they need to be careful and avoid crossing the line to aiding and abetting the enemy? Of course. Should they be prohibited from covering the enemy behind enemy lines? I don’t think so.

  6. zen Says:

    Hi Eric,


    Journalists are given a generic waiver for travel to Cuba under the Treasury Department’s Cuban Assets Control Regulations. However, the United States is not at war with Cuba. A legal state of armed conflict is a substantively different condition than an economic embargo that invokes certain Constitutional clauses that are not normally operative as well as the Logan Act, the Trading with the Enemy Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Espionage Act and perhaps a number of other statutes more obscure.
    My point is not that the government should be clubbing journalists with civil and criminal prosecution- I think we’d all feel ( at least I would) that would be a cure far, far worse than the disease. The point is that the 1st Amendment doesn’t cover press interviews with the enemy in wartime and SCOTUS has never ruled that it does. Claims like Rosen’s of following "higher" journalistic ethics that somehow (perhaps by magic) supercede normal laws are entirely bogus.

  7. Eric Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for that thoughtful response. I do think I understand your point but I also believe that SCOTUS would necessarily need to rule that the 1st amendment does not cover such wartime press interviews rather than affirm that it does. I generally read the protections of the constitution, especially those on freedom of the press and speech, to be, by default, inclusionary. I’m not aware of any such case and a simple reading of the 1st doesn’t lead me to even Scalia would find it lurking there.

    I’ll grant you  that Rosen’s claim of "ethics" being the basis for the "legality" of his efforts is highly suspect.

    And. . . Cuba was probably a bad example. Better would have been, say, Peter Arnett in Baghdad during the gulf war or the journalists in Yugoslavia during the US backed UN bombings there. More typically, the US Journalists find themselves booted by the hosts themselves.

    One last thing, thanks for this fantastic resource. Just discovered it today and am very glad I did.

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