If there's one thing that's utterly predictable during the course of our war, it's that major journalistic outlets will publish stories that shame our troops or place them at greater risk — but only after very public (and comically insincere) hand-wringing. I wonder . . . if any Afghan soldiers turn their weapons on their American allies as a reprisal, will the Times editors at least send flowers to the families of the fallen? Perhaps a card? "We're sincerely sorry that our journalistic 'ethics' led to the death of your husband/wife/son/daughter, but there was a vital need to cast our war effort in a negative light. After all, the New York Times leads us in Pulitzers at the moment, and nothing says 'Pulitzer' like exposing two-years-old wrongdoing by privates."
But if you're one of those courageous and fearless "let's tell the raw truth, and let the chips fall where they may" types, and you're tempted to respect the L.A. Times for its journalistic integrity, let me remind you of a time when the newspaper showed restraint: When it decided — in the midst of a hotly contested presidential campaign — not to publish a videotape of Barack Obama praising former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi at a 2003 dinner. After all, that's just a future president discussing one of the world's most hot-button geopolitical issues (with a bonus appearance by applauding domestic terrorists). Move along. Nothing to see there.