Uncle Sam Enlists the Press

By: Joe Strupp

With a U.S. invasion of Iraq looking even more likely after Republican election gains, the new Pentagon program to train journalists in combat readiness is hot as a pistol. More than 350 reporters and editors — including about 100 from foreign-based news organizations — have already asked to be part of the military-led training program.

It will begin next week with a variety of combat preparations, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told E&P. The first weeklong session is expected to begin Nov. 17 with 50 press people at two Virginia locations, Norfolk Naval Station and Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Future sessions are likely to be held at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and Fort Benning in Georgia. Whitman and other officials stressed that the training is not a requirement for journalists who want access to U.S. troops in Iraq or elsewhere — and claim that those who take part will not be given special consideration in the battle zone.

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