"In wartime," Winston Churchill once remarked, "truth is so precious that she must always be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies." Churchill's dictum seems particularly prescient today given the dilemma facing American news organizations trying to sort out the facts of the Persian Gulf conflict.
The truth is, the needs of the military and the press in wartime are inherently in conflict. The media want to gather as much information as possible and present it in a timely fashion; the military worries that such activities may help an opponent unmask deceptions or anticipate future operations.
Therein lies the dilemma. To win, the allied forces must mislead, deceive and confuse Saddam. Yet the democratic process also entails a contradictory requirement that the military level with the American people and Congress -- a difficult balance when Saddam is watching the same broadcasts as the folks at home.