View Full Version : From the Corps to al-Jazeera

10-11-05, 07:28 PM
October 17, 2005
From the Corps to al-Jazeera
Former PAO says he’s guided by values of honor, courage and commitment
By Josh Rushing

I am a Marine. I enlisted in 1990, was commissioned in 1999 and resigned last October. I am still a Marine. The core values forged in my heart from 14 years of wearing the eagle, globe and anchor are permanent.

Even now, as I have taken a position in the world of journalism, some would expect me to separate myself from my past as a nod to objectivity. However, I have stated in no uncertain terms to the national press that I have no intent of disavowing my public image as a Marine, discontinuing my private life as a devil dog or distancing myself from the institution and values I hold dear — honor, courage and commitment.

I have agreed to host a show on al-Jazeera International, a worldwide, English-language news network that will launch next spring and will have an independent editorial staff that will be separate from the Arabic-language al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera International’s management, producers, editors and on-air talent come from venerable news channels such ABC, BBC, CNN, APTV and even Fox News. You may find this surprising, but no one in the news industry does.

The network’s launch is one of the most exciting and anticipated ventures to occur in the news industry in a long time. Broadcasts from the West have an almost myopically Western perspective. Al-Jazeera International, by comparison, will have a global perspective. Rather than one broadcast center, our network will have four: London; Doha, Qatar; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Washington. Each location will be responsible for roughly a quarter of the day’s programming. As the sun circles the Earth, so does coverage of a story. You’ll be able to watch the flavor of a story change as it is broadcast from four continents with four cultures and four perspectives in a 24-hour period.

Marines know better than most that our neighboring oceans no longer protect and separate us from the rest of the world. The first brick from that wall of isolationist thinking fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Our way of life is and will continue to be affected by other cultures. We are in a war on terrorism, and Iraq is a battle in that greater war. With a new kind of warfare, new kinds of battlefields emerge. In the information age, information is part of the battle. If 19 guys with little more than ideology and box cutters can bring about the events of Sept. 11, then we, America, must engage that ideology — and it won’t be found between your iron sites. It exists in coffee shops, madrassas and, most prevalently, in the media.

We must engage cultural ideologies wherever we can. I am lucky enough to have been given the opportunity and responsibility to fight this good fight on the Iwo Jima of information battlefields. The Arabic al-Jazeera is the world’s most influential media brand (according to 2005 “Brandchannel,” by Interbrand, a global branding consultancy). Al-Jazeera International will attract a large audience curious about the U.S. public-diplomacy message, and when the network launches in every major region of the world, I hope to be that messenger.

Al-Jazeera: The straight scoop

If we’re all honest with ourselves, how much do we really know about the Arabic Al-Jazeera and what it reports? Probably only what you’ve heard from the U.S. press. Here’s the straight scoop: It does not, nor has it ever, shown a beheading.

Al-Jazeera does receive tapes from Osama Bin Laden and his ilk. Just as the BBC received tapes from the Irish Republican Army, or as ABC has recently received and aired tapes from American al-Qaida operatives. These tapes are news, and al-Jazeera shows only what it considers newsworthy. It does not show every tape, nor does it show the entire tape. And to many, airing these tapes illustrates the foolishness of al-Qaida, exposing its flawed philosophy to critical debate.

Al-Jazeera has aired opinions that criticize the United States and what we’re doing in Iraq. This is not an uncommon opinion in its broadcast region. Al-Jazeera is banned from a number of Middle Eastern countries for giving officials from Israel airtime, a first for news in the region. It has given airtime to senior officials from the U.S. government, including President Bush; Cabinet secretaries Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld; Air Force Gen. Richard Myers; and others. Al-Jazeera also broadcast the full congressional hearings about Abu Ghraib, demonstrating to the region the novel concept of government accountability.

Having said that, al-Jazeera International is a completely different and independent network from the Arabic al-Jazeera described above. Al-Jazeera International will be transparent; we will broadcast strictly in English. No more guessing. You will be able to see, hear and understand everything said on air.

My decision to work for al-Jazeera International was one of careful consideration. I went back to my core values.

Honor? Check. I will continue to comport myself with honor.

Commitment? Check. I am fully committed to the American values I hold dear. The hope and opportunity that my son is too young to understand are bolstered by the ideas of the Constitution, such as freedom of the press; the right to life, liberty and happiness; and the equality of all mankind.

Courage? This was the toughest one.

I knew those whose view of America is based on exclusivity and small-mindedness would receive my decision negatively. I knew I would become the target of extremists. However, I also knew the Corps defines courage as doing the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons — damn the personal consequences.

So, today, as I read the bloggers’ criticisms and accusations, I go back to the courage instilled in me by the United States Marine Corps, because I know in my heart I am a patriot, an American and, most of all, a Marine — and no one ever said doing the right thing was going to be easy.

Courage? Check.

The writer, a former captain, was a public affairs officer when he left the Marine Corps last year.


10-11-05, 09:23 PM
Does anyone know this guy's name?

10-11-05, 10:09 PM
Josh Rushing is his name Agtj, and it sounds like a bunch piecemeal crap to me, al-Jazeera is the, all terrorism, all the time network, and he is going to work for them? and some how change mens hearts with nothing more than words? men who believe with every fiber of their being they are going to be rewarded by God if the do kill our children and us.. to this I say cut the crap, end the words, and end their ability of make war on our children with a rain of hot steel.. they want war lets take the dam* gloves off and let them have all of it they want.. I am sick of this "lets just reason with them P.C. GARBAGE" this is the very same crap that got Hitler into power, the time for talking is long past.. they want war, let them have it.

10-12-05, 10:21 AM
You can't fault the guy for having guts though. Even if this is unpopular, he's going into it like a Marine. No hood over his head, his name in print, with an accompanying headshot, if I recall correctly.

Maybe he sees an opening? Marines have always been known for their ability to be lateral thinkers and problem solvers. Maybe he sees a way to make a difference, and take this network in a new direction, or to effect change from within?

Don't be so quick to discount this Marine... he might have something up his sleeve.

10-12-05, 02:24 PM
I saw Capt. Rushing on Hanity/Colms lastnight on FOX News Channel. Al Jazeera English Station is going to be separate from the Arabic Language Station. Capt. Rushing made some very good points in his appearance on the show. Shawn Hanity needed to be B!tch slapped, the guy never knows when to shut his mouth.
Capt. Rushing sounds like a very stand up Marine and his intent is to shed a different light on the way the world looks at America and Americans in general.
I would watch the station and give him a chance to show his stuff. People definitely should not pre-judge him before seeing him in action. From what I saw of him on lastnights show, he definitely handled himself like a seasoned Marine and Officer.


10-12-05, 06:06 PM
Originally posted by GunnyL
I saw Capt. Rushing on Hanity/Colms lastnight on FOX News Channel. Al Jazeera English Station is going to be separate from the Arabic Language Station. Capt. Rushing made some very good points in his appearance on the show. Shawn Hanity needed to be B!tch slapped, the guy never knows when to shut his mouth.
Capt. Rushing sounds like a very stand up Marine and his intent is to shed a different light on the way the world looks at America and Americans in general.
I would watch the station and give him a chance to show his stuff. People definitely should not pre-judge him before seeing him in action. From what I saw of him on lastnights show, he definitely handled himself like a seasoned Marine and Officer.


Hannity only respects vets who think just like him. I wish Capt. Rushing all the best in his new job.

10-14-05, 04:16 AM
From US Marines to al-Jazeera

Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday October 13, 2005
The Guardian

'Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," President George Bush told the world after September 11 2001, and he has made it clear ever since that he means it. But in that black and white universe, where do you put Josh Rushing?

Rushing is a blue-eyed son of Texas, a marine for all his adult life whose clean-cut friendly charm made him the ideal public face for the US military during the Iraq invasion. But he has now joined the Arab television channel al-Jazeera as an "on-screen personality", a move which, in the eyes of many Americans, is one step short of signing up with al-Qaida.

The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has accused the Qatar-based satellite channel of lying to the world and spouting terrorist propaganda. Its journalists have been boycotted by American officials and thrown out of Iraq. One of its reporters has recently been jailed for seven years by a Spanish court for collaborating with al-Qaida.

In joining al-Jazeera's forthcoming English-language service, Rushing points out that he is in good journalistic company. He will be surrounded by former BBC employees, including Sir David Frost. But they are Europeans and journalists, two species generally associated with perfidy in the minds of the American right. Rushing is an American and a marine. For many conservatives here, he has joined a pantheon of turncoats alongside Benedict Arnold (who switched to the British side halfway through the war of independence) and "Tokyo Rose" (who broadcast for the Japanese in the second world war).

The conservative blogs hum with bile. The comments on freerepublic.com include: "He was crap to begin with - he stinks even worse now. He is no longer an American". Another writes: "He is a leftist, terrorist sympathiser who infiltrated the US marines. Now he is home". A third adds: "I sure hope he don't have some kinda accident or sumtin [sic] ..."

There have been quite a few along the lines of that last remark, enough for the former marine captain to take a few security precautions at his new Washington home, and he admits to feeling the strain. "It's kind of hard for a guy who's dedicated his entire adult life to the health and wellbeing of this country to be called a traitor by people who, I feel, have probably sacrificed a lot less than I have," he said.

He was talking in an elegant and quiet corner of Washington's Army and Navy Club, where he still enjoys privileges, despite his choice of employer.

He dresses in the manner of many former officers on both sides of the Atlantic - a tweed jacket over a boldly striped shirt - and has the crispness in his talk and the direct gaze drilled into him at marine charm school.

Those qualities, plus his degree in classic civilisations and ancient history, got him the job of presenting the Pentagon's side of the Iraq war to the local media in Qatar's capital, Doha. It made him an unwitting star. An Egyptian-American film-maker, Jehane Noujaim, was hanging around the media centre with a video camera, and most of the officers, including the then Lieutenant Rushing, thought she was making a student film about media coverage of the war. But her documentary, Control Room, became one of last year's surprise hits.

The film is a largely sympathetic portrayal of al-Jazeera, but it also shines a bright light on the multi-million dollar publicity machine the Pentagon built in Doha. Among all the gung-ho on-message military information officers, Lt Rushing stuck out. He listened to what some of the Arab journalists were saying about the war and appeared to reconsider some of his assumptions. In one memorable scene, he declared himself sickened by al-Jazeera's decision to screen pictures of dead Americans, but then realised he was not as outraged to see Iraqi bodies on the same network the following evening.

"It upset me on a profound level that I wasn't bothered as much as the night before," he said in the film. "It makes me hate war."

The film caused an uproar, and abuse from military and militaristic types began to flood in. His favourite was: "Six months in the desert doesn't make you ****ing Lawrence of Arabia." Rushing recalls: "I saved that one, because I don't claim to be Lawrence of Arabia - just a guy who says it may be worth us trying to understand their perspective."

Displaying an apparently genuine innocence, he still cannot understand why the defence department was annoyed by the film, and why he was subsequently forbidden to talk to the press. "The Pentagon missed an opportunity with my case in that movie," he says. "I would have liked to have come out and said that there are a lot of people in the military that would have reacted in the same way in that film, trying to understand the other side and wanting to do the right thing."

He left the marines last August and spent some miserable months, unemployed and eating into his modest savings, before he accepted al-Jazeera's offer.

The danger Rushing now faces is that he may be accused of going from one one-sided media operation to another. After all, he is shown in Control Room criticising al-Jazeera's bias, comparing it to Fox News "at the other end of the spectrum".

He admits that he is unaware whether al-Jazeera's Arabic broadcasts have got any better. "I don't know where they're at right now. I don't get a chance to watch it, and if I could I don't understand it," he says. "I think there's going to be a difficult time overcoming the brand in America."

It may turn out to be impossible. The new English-language al-Jazeera International has yet to find a US cable outlet prepared to carry its broadcasts.


10-24-05, 07:16 PM
Hannity is a tool. I watched this segment. Hannity was brow beating the guy. Hannity never spent a day in his life in unform and has no credibility to question a 14 year Marine, a mustang Officer no less, on anything.

Just my .02