It also interferes with their mission. One commander asked that a reporter not quote a junior officer who mentioned how thinly stretched the troops were in his area of operations. He didn't mind that it be reported there weren't enough troops -- he could do with more -- he just didn't want it connected to him.
He's not a coward and he's not a liar. He's busy.
Yes, UPI, this junior officer is a coward. His men are dying needlessly while he does his best to not fault the men in power in DC - the Republicans, and specifically, one George W. Bush - his commander in chief.