Courtesy of USA Today:
Even for those of us who are all too wearily familiar with President Donald Trump’s disdain for journalists, his administration’s latest attack on the free press is a bit of a jaw-dropper.
In a heretofore unpublicized recent memo, the Pentagon delivered an order to shutter Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that has been a lifeline and a voice for American troops since the Civil War. The memo orders the publisher of the news organization (which now publishes online as well as in print) to present a plan that “dissolves the Stars and Stripes” by Sept. 15 including “specific timeline for vacating government owned/leased space worldwide.”
“The last newspaper publication (in all forms) will be September 30, 2020,” writes Col. Paul Haverstick Jr., the memo’s author.
The first Stars and Stripes rolled off presses Nov. 9, 1861 in Bloomfield, Missouri when forces headed by Ulysses Grant overran the tiny town on the way to Cape Girardeau. A group of Grant’s troops who had been pressmen before the war set up shop at a local newspaper office abandoned by its Confederate sympathizer publisher. Since then Stars and Stripes has launched the careers of famous journalists such as cartoonist Bill Mauldin and TV commentator Andy Rooney. And its independence from the Pentagon brass has been guaranteed by such distinguished military leaders at Gens. John G. Pershing, George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower once reprimanded Gen. George Patton for trying to censor Mauldin cartoons he didn’t like.
Today Stars and Stripes is printed at sites around the world and delivered daily to troops — even those on the front lines, where the internet is spotty or inaccessible. As the “local paper” for the military, it provides intensive and critical coverage of issues that are important to members of the nation’s armed services and “cuts through political and military brass BS talking points,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a Marine veteran, told Military.com.
It’s also arguably one of the most powerful weapons our soldiers have carried into battle with them. As a publication that’s underwritten by the military but not answerable to the brass, Stars and Stripes embodies that most American of values: the right to speak truth to power.
And of course, the last thing that Trump wants is any publication speaking truth to his power.
This is just unconscionable.
But then again it fits in well with Trump’s disregard for the sacrifices of the Amerian servicemen and women that we read about earlier.
And once again I have little doubt that this is a move fully supported by Vladimir Putin.