John T. Ryan Ryan and comrade
John T. "Tim" Ryan
Ryan (at left) and comrade.

CULLOWHEE - Western alum Army Lt. Col. John T. “Tim” Ryan ('85) is gaining national media attention not only for his unit's success in finding hidden weapons in Iraq, but also for his outspoken criticism of reporters' coverage of the war.

Ryan, who is commander of Task Force 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, has notified friends in the United States that he has been interviewed at different times by NBC, Fox news, Time magazine and others as his unit works to uncover weapon caches apparently buried by insurgents along the Euphrates River for use against U.S. forces. The on-going search is a Coalition effort involving American, Estonian and Australian troops as well as an Iraqi Army platoon.

Late last year, Ryan was involved in battles around the town of Fallujah, southwest of Baghdad. It was that experience that prompted him to write an essay claiming that the media's coverage of the war has distorted the world's view of the situation in Iraq. “Print and video journalists are covering only a fraction of the events in Iraq,” he wrote, “and, more often than not, the events they cover are only negative.” Ryan's essay, circulated initially via e-mail, was picked up by the World Tribune.com in mid-January, which made Ryan's remarks available to a global audience. Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage both read the essay on their radio shows. Ryan expects other national media outlets to publish his remarks, as well. He says he also has been called to a meeting with members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee.

In response, Ryan says, “We are all a little amazed at how this article has taken life. I didn't write it to publish it, just to share my frustrations with family and friends….Then, people forwarded [it] all over the place.”

Ryan, who participated in ROTC and graduated from Western in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in industrial arts education, went on to earn a master's degree in military arts and sciences from the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A career officer, he has served in the Army for 20 years and may be working in the Pentagon after his return to the United States by the end of February.

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Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2005
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