It may be a minor thing but why oh why do people who cover the world’s conflicts seem to have so little technical knowledge of the subject they cover? I saw an article in the Telegraph with an image captioned “This image made from amateur video released by the Shaam News Network, purports to show a Syrian military tank in Homs, Syria”… except it is clearly not a “tank”, it is a BMP… an infantry fighting vehicle.
This is not new. I spent much of the 1990′s in various parts of the former Yugoslavia and was often exasperated to grab a western newspaper in Zagreb and see pictures of “Croatian tanks”… which more often than not captured former Yugoslav OT M-60 APCs pressed into service by the Croatian, HVO or BiH armies… or even rather exotic Croatian improvised armoured personnel carriers (in effect armoured trucks with a machine gun). More recently I also recall a clip on CNN describing “British tanks” in Iraq that were in fact AS-90 artillery vehicles.
It seems odd to me that so few modern war correspondents are ex-military and thus, with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, far too many of them cannot tell the difference between a Mauser and a javelin (and neither can their editors it seems). This is certainly why I find Michael Yon so refreshing… he actually understands what he is looking at up the sharp end.