View Full Version : Can They Say That?

08-25-2007, 11:04 AM
SWJ Blog - Can They Say That? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/08/can-they-say-that/) By LTC Bob Bateman.

Originally published in the Media Matters blog Altercations, the author has been kind enough to grant SWJ permission to repost his view on the recent New York Times op-ed The War as We Saw It (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/opinion/19jayamaha.html?).

Can They Say That?

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Bateman

I am a 7th Cavalryman. That is to say, within the Army, my personal regimental affiliation is with the 7th Cavalry Regiment. All soldiers are aligned with one regiment, though in this day and age that is largely an ornamental designation. In my case it came about because I commanded within the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry. Because of this, and because of my interest in history, I am effectively the de facto active-duty regimental historian. That is how I know the honorary colonel of my regiment, retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moore. You might know of Moore from the movie We Were Soldiers, itself based on the book We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young. Or you might have read the interview Charlie Pierce did with Mel Gibson (who played Moore in that movie) about his role depicting then-Lt. Col. Moore for Esquire. I assure you, Mel Gibson, even in full Hollywood action hero mode, is a pale shade of the actual man.

It was from Gen. Moore that I picked up my own code of ethics with regard to what I can and cannot (or should not) say in public. Specifically, when writing for the public, or talking to a reporter, I follow his guidance. Moore had a very simple rule for all of his soldiers with regards to the press, and he laid it out for them as they deployed to Vietnam in the summer of '65. It went something like this: "Talk to any reporter you want. Say what you want, but speak the truth. Do not exaggerate, and stay in your lane. Talk about what you know personally, what you have seen, what you have done, and then stand by your words. " These words of wisdom have guided me for the better part of a decade and a half now, and I credit them with keeping me out of trouble...