"Hopefully this Buck won't stopone of the best damn MilBloggers to ever knock sand from his boots." -- The Mudville Gazette

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MEDIA CULPA



Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier.
-Zell Miller


If American and Iraqi forces were to kill hundreds of terrorists in a pitched battle, capturing dozens of wanted ringleaders and uncovering several bomb-making safe houses in the process -- all while sustaining amazingly light casualties -- what would the headline be in the following morning’s New York Times or Washington Post?

The truth would read: (buried on page 14A)

U.S. Military Grinds Insurgency Under It’s Heel; Hands Enemy Punishing Losses

What you‘d actually see: (front page, above the fold)

Nine U.S. Soldiers Killed in Protracted Fighting; Dozens More Wounded

To read the major newspapers and watch the major networks (along with most of the cable channels), one would be forgiven for failing to discern any accomplishments by the troops in Iraq other than the daily ritual of getting themselves killed.

In the stead of encouraging press accounts exist inane criticisms borne of supreme ignorance of military realities, gross misrepresentations of the all-volunteer force, and galling ingratitude toward those who have chosen a life of service over one of self interest.

This is a mainstream media that in the last year alone fell all over themselves trying to convince us that a slanderous traitor was instead a war hero, a statesman, and presidential material; that the moral authority of antiwar grieving mothers is "absolute" -- up to and including the twisted hatred of their own country; and one that has all but ignored the unqualified successes of Afghanistan and Iraq, relentlessly portraying these nascent victories as unmitigated disasters in the making.

Ours is a mainstream press that doesn’t bat an eye about running with “fake but accurate” stories about the mishandling of the Koran by soldiers at Guantanamo, yet can’t be bothered to report anything decent, positive, or even vaguely heroic routinely performed every day by the American military all over the world.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

The soldiers in Iraq have been given an impossible task -- not by the CinC -- but by the MsM: They must fight a “culturally sensitive” war under a politically correct microscope, all while operating under the fisheye lens of the 24-hour news cycle.

At the risk of their own lives, the troops must protect museums, mosques, and medical facilities even as the insurgents use them as cover for their attacks. They must observe the rules of warfare to the point of absurdity while the enemy openly flouts them. And lest they feel the wrath of media condemnation, they must treat captured terrorists like visiting heads of state. Meanwhile, the Islamists -- being old-fashioned, of course-- prefer the time honored method of prisoner care: cutting off their heads.

The mainstream press has thrown a fit over the Defense Department’s policy on restricting the release of photos depicting American service members who return home in flag-draped caskets. Are we truly to believe their earnest claims -- that they only wish to “honor” our war dead -- or is antiwar exploitation their true aim?

Newsroom producers crave these emotive pictures to sensationalize a death toll that their daily tickers have not sufficiently brought home to bear on the public conscience. Yet even their obsession with American and Iraqi body counts simply doesn’t hold up to the light of historical scrutiny and the average cost of freedom throughout our nation’s history.

More than 1,000 Marines were killed in the three-day battle for Tarawa in November, 1943.

2,500 American GIs were lost at Normandy the following year on D-Day alone.

37,000 soldiers was the U.S. cost of the three-year stalemate on the Korean Peninsula.

By contrast, in the 2 ½ years of the Iraq War, 1,878 service members have died in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, only 3/4 of which have been the result of hostile action. Logistically speaking, these are not unsustainable numbers of casualties. But military logistics are not what the media soberly choose to focus on; they’d rather play up the public's emotional hysterics.

Nightline has twice devoted entire commercial-free segments to the names and faces of those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terror, silently scrolling them across the screen at light speed. ABC contends the images are to honor U.S. military sacrifice. But this shock and awe campaign waged against the public is hardly designed to engender respect and admiration for the troops; it is clearly intended to produce disgust and revulsion at the seemingly horrendous cost in young lives cut short. It is tantamount to a politely fulsome eulogy given for the benefit of a despised neighbor‘s surviving relatives.

The soldiers who gave all are not anonymous victims to be pitied on national television; and they are not dupes who slavishly gave their lives for a cause whose outcome they were indifferent to. They are heroes -- anomalous examples of the rarest of American mettle -- to be honored in the communities where they lived and remembered for the sacrifices they willingly made. They are the ones the neighborhood kids should be idolizing; not millionaire ballplayers, not arrogant Hollywood actors, and certainly not tv reality-faux celebrities.

G.K. Chesterton described courage as “almost a contradiction in terms: it means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”

If the networks truly want to honor the Iraq veterans, they can begin by reporting the good things they’ve done "over there" and the millions of lives they’ve made better, rather than obsessing over the tragic but unavoidable commonalities of war.

It is likely that more Americans can name all the Girls of Abu Ghraib Gone Wild than the war’s single posthumous Medal of Honor winner. For those who passively rely on the MsM to keep them informed, this would not be surprising.

In the end, it is patently absurd for the activist media to use death toll alone as a wobbly benchmark to stand on for judging the moral correctness of a military conflict. If so, it would then follow that there has to be an absolute number that, when crossed, reflexively invalidates a war. How many lives are expendable in a “just” war? 100? 500? 1,878?

The soldier’s answer is that no lives are expendable, yet there is no limit as to how many are worth the sacrifice if even one life is deemed so worthy. If a cause is sufficient to risk the life of a single American fighting man, then it should be worth the lives of all of them if necessary; to include the eldest son of Cindy Sheehan.

It is also why the voters -- not poll numbers, not publicity stuntwomen, and thankfully not pessimistic press accounts -- ultimately decide the governance and direction of our nation‘s foreign policy.

COPYRIGHT 2005 BUCK SARGENT

Got that right.

Thanks SGT, for voicing so well what so many of your fellow soldiers and the American people think as well. Drive on and fight the good fight. Stay safe. Your brother in arms,

LT

Hey B-man,
Great comments. Now that I'm a college boy (until January anyways) in the Journalism dept. this is great stuff to bring up in some of my classes. UAA is nowhere near as extreme as most other universities, but that liberal slant is ever-present. But, don't worry, G.I. Shirey is there to represent.

Keep the blog alive, brother.
Your pal,
Paul

Dear Sargeant,

Truly you are a Man wise beyond your years. Thank you for your courage and commitment to the future of our country. Your sentiments here sustain us in our fight to defeat negative idiocy here in the US. For as you fight to uphold the Constitution against foreign enemies, so we veterans are fighting to uphold the Constitution against our domestic enemies, many though they be in our traitorous press.

Your shining example, and the words you have written so eloquently here, inspire us old folks to keep fighting the media who want to belittle your achievements, and urge us to press on in praising and glorifying your achievements. All who know us will know that SFC Paul Smith's story is a much more worthy story and he is a more honorable and noble American than any politician, movie star, college professor or dean, or athlete. Bless you, son, and Press on to Victory.

Subsunk

Hey Old Booze Buddy,

While you're out taking the war to the dirtbags, the fight on the domestic front continues.

I'm travelling about the country starting up conservative student organizations and publications. Right now I'm at Texas Tech, and it's not even shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. More like nuking them in a thimble.

For the next 9 weeks, I'll be doing the same all throughout the southwest. I'm also volunteering for the Minutemen patrols next month. Word on the street is that the cartels are helping Allah's Bitches creep across the Rio Grande. I'll keep ya posted.

Go kill us a bad guy.

I wish you had not condensed my two emails, posted them as one, and then edited out so many salient points. Since you did not ask me if you could publish my emails and I did not give you my persmission, I do appreciate you not using my last name.

What gets me the most was the way you ended an email to me with the salutation, "Give war a chance." That is a highly flippant soundbite to use, considering that most wars involve killing, imprisonment, taking over land, and acquiring assets for the benefit of the leaders of the victorious country. Most wars the US has been involved in are not about protecting our lives; they are about making acquisitions to continue to feed a need to have the more than is necessary.

Buck, do you think it is okay for powerful thugs to break into your house and steal your cash and valuables so that they can protect their way of life?

MV

" Men go to war because they enjoy it " General John Pershing

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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln