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Old 27th March 2003, 12:39 PM   #1
Doubt
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The first report is always wrong.

The first report is always wrong.

This is an axiom used by military commanders all over the world. It is generally true. When something happens, such as an enemy attack, subordinates will send a message up the chain of command to report what is happening. More often than not, the details of the first report are in error.

There are two reasons why this happens:

1.) Fog of war. It is very hard to tell what is happening at all. The first person to get on the radio and report the details to their superior will not have time to get it right. But they must report immediately so others may react to the situation as it develops.

2.) The chain of communication. Reports of activity are passed around through many different people and places. The result is that the information changes as it is passed on. Much like a game of whisper, where a line of children whisper a message to the person next to them. By the time it reaches the end of the line, the message has changed. The military does have a way to limit that change, but it will happen anyway. Information on the enemy is formatted into a SALUTE report. (Size, Activity, Location, Unit or Uniform, Time, and Equipment.) Unfortunately, this format does not work so well when looking for things like Chemical weapons labs.

What does this mean to you? Well, the next time you hear a report that a chemical weapons plant has been found or that 1,000 tanks are moving South from Baghdad, take it with a grain of salt. More than likely, the military commanders have released the first information that they received. They are most likely not trying to lie to you. Now if they say the same thing over and over again even though the evidence suggests otherwise, than you may have spotted a genuine deception.

So how would this sort of thing happen? Here is a hypothetical example:

1.) Lt. Nobody and his platoon reach a chemical plant. They look around inside and report what the see to the company commander.

2.) The company commander then radios battalion that they have found a chemical plant, but do not know if it is a chemical weapons plant or not.

3.) The battalion S2, (security chief), then sends a message to the brigade S2 saying that they have found a possible chemical weapons plant.

4.) The brigade S2 then sends a message to the divison G2, (still a security chief) that they have found a suspected chemical weapons plant.

5.) The divison G2 reports to the Corps G2 that they have found a probable chemical weapons plant.

6.) This information then is reported to CENTCOM and they tell the media that a chemical weapons plant has been found.

7.) Fox news then reports that it has been confirmed that a chemical weapons plant has been found.

This whole thing can happen in under 3 hours. Wild public speculation follows.
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Old 27th March 2003, 12:42 PM   #2
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I'm afraid I'll have to wait 48 hours to see if this post is correct or not.
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Old 27th March 2003, 12:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jocko
I'm afraid I'll have to wait 48 hours to see if this post is correct or not.
Wait for my follow up: The first response ain't much better.
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Old 27th March 2003, 01:11 PM   #4
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Gulf War II

why watch CNN? I'll wait for the DVD to come out.
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Old 27th March 2003, 01:11 PM   #5
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And this is what is bugging me about this war.

Why is our need to know so great that we cannot wait 24 hours for confirmed information? Why do we need up to the minute reports?

I'd be just as happy if the news agencies just agreed to a 24 hour delay on these reports and only reported what they know to be reasonable accurate.

I had the same questions about the OJ trials. Why did we need to see into the courtroom while it is going on. Why not wait to report until after the case was closed (but that it another thread).
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Old 27th March 2003, 02:51 PM   #6
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How about a weekly wrapup.
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Old 27th March 2003, 03:47 PM   #7
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To be fair, nobody in the US military said they had discovered a checmical weapons plant. They said they found something that looked like it *could* be a gold mine.

As we all know nothing came of it, but the initial reports came from the Jeruselum Post and all the reports I heard named that source.
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Old 27th March 2003, 03:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by corplinx
How about a weekly wrapup.
I suggest running it on Pay-per-view. That way, they can help recoup some of the cost of the war.
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Old 27th March 2003, 05:22 PM   #9
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They just had a perfect example of this. The republican guard was supposed to be pouring out of bagdad to meet the US head on in a massive battle.

Only, they weren't pouring out.
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