The Military’s Concerning Regulations On War Reporting

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Photo by Pfc. Rashene Mincy

The Department of Defense released its Law Of War Manual, on June 12, and the new provisions surrounding wartime news coverage have some journalists leery. An op-ed by The New York Times editorial board looks at the 1,176-page document — the first of its kind — and considers the implications behind its new guidelines, some of which can make journalists’ work cumbersome, more dangerous, and even subject to censorship.


At one point the manual says that in some cases journalists can be deemed “unprivileged belligerents,” a legal term that affords fewer protections than the declared combatants in a war. The manual even goes so far as to equate journalism to espionage. “Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying.”

The implications of the manual extend far beyond the coverage of U.S. military operations, as it could lower the bar on the treatment of journalists across the globe.

“Allowing this document to stand as guidance for commanders, government lawyers and officials of other nations would do severe damage to press freedoms. Authoritarian leaders around the world could point to it to show that their despotic treatment of journalists — including Americans — is broadly in line with the standards set by the United States government.”

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Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

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And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

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Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)

by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.

YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.

His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.

But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.

Nearly 50 years later, Kettles received the Medal of Honor on July 18, 2016.

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(The 621st Contingency Response Wing/Flickr)

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"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."

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