Member Rara Avis
...which I'm sure would be a comfort to the parents of the dead soldiers, that the reporter kept his promise to the terrorists.
Is that the goal, Mike? To comfort the parents? If so, then the solution seems pretty simple to me: Let's not send the soldiers into harm's way. Goal accomplished.
If, on the other hand, you believe there are goals beyond that of comforting grieving parents, if indeed there are important goals in conflict with that of the parents, then we have to agree that sparing the parents their pain can't always be a deciding factor. It clearly wasn't the deciding factor for the Commander-in-Chief. Nor should it have been. Why, then, should it be the deciding factor for our hypothetical reporter?
Grinch, you make some good points. Honestly, my initial reaction was that such promises should never be made. Promising to stand by while people are killed is little different than promising to kill the people. While you're right, the soldiers would be just as dead if the reporter wasn't there as they'll be if he remains silent, I'm not convinced that such "logic" should necessarily hold sway. What if we replace the insurgents with a faceless gunman wandering the halls of Virginia Tech? Is the potential insight we might gain by having a reporter tag along worth the moral cost we would all have to bear for the reporter's silence? Somehow, I don't think so. In accepting the benefits we condone the practice and, in my opinion, pay much too high a price.
Insurgent, enraged shooter, or just a back alley mugger, I think we all have a vested interest to raise our voice when tragedy can be prevented. And that means we have no business making any promises that we won't.