Miklaszewski Puts Nefarious Spin on Bush's Advocacy of Larger Military

As if political tradeoffs and deal-making isn't how politics works every day in the nation's capital, on Wednesday night NBC News Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski delivered a nefarious take on President Bush's willingness to increase the size of the military, at least the Army and Marine Corps. Picking up on Bush's comments during his morning news conference, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted how “a lot of Generals have been asking for this for a long time, as recently as last week on Capitol Hill."

Miklaszewski, however, stressed how “some military officials are highly suspicious of the President's sudden turnaround on the issue” since “they believe that he's dangling that offer out there in an effort to buy the military's support for the option to surge additional American troops into Iraq -- as if it's some kind of tradeoff.” Those military leaders “that we're talking to,” Miklaszewski relayed, “still oppose a surge, they still believe it won't work and will put more Americans at risk.” He concluded: “As one senior military official put it today, it'll be like throwing kerosene on a fire." It may be unwise to “surge” troops, but a President giving in one area to get what he wants in another is hardly unusual. Normally the press corps laud such “compromise.”

Neither ABC's World News or the CBS Evening News matched Miklaszewski's framing of the increased military size story.

The exchange between Williams and Miklaszewski on the December 20 NBC Nightly News:
Brian Williams: “The President's decision to push for this expansion of the U.S. military has caught a few people at the Pentagon by surprise. We turn on our Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski. And Jim, a lot of Generals have been asking for this for a long time, as recently as last week on Capitol Hill.”

Jim Miklaszewski, at the Pentagon: “That's exactly right, Brian. But some military officials are highly suspicious of the President's sudden turnaround on the issue. They believe that he's dangling that offer out there in an effort to buy the military's support for the option to surge additional American troops into Iraq -- as if it's some kind of tradeoff: You throw in 30,000 more American troops into Baghdad now in exchange for an overall larger force four to five years down the road. But many military leaders, that we're talking to, still oppose a surge, they still believe it won't work and will put more Americans at risk. As one senior military official put it today, it'll be like throwing kerosene on a fire, Brian.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center