Sunday, May 29, 2005

US Soldier to the press: You don't support us

Blogger and soldier Dadmanly calls the media's antagonism like it is:

::::::::As a member of the U.S. Military in Iraq, let me say something very clearly to Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, CBS, ABC, and any other media organization of any integrity.

You are creating greater risk for me personally. You are creating incredible hostility in Muslim countries due to incessant negative reporting out of context and ignoring orders of magnitude of good news in doing so. Yet, in your jaded imaginations, you believe every misconception you spin is ever more confirmation of what you always knew about the U.S. Military. These unrelenting Vietnam analogies are like press versions of drug addled flashbacks.

You create added danger for my soldiers. You feed into enemy (yes, enemy) propaganda efforts in yielding unlimited access to pre-staged voices with calculated intent. You are entirely ignorant of the countries you claim to cover, and you know as little about the U.S. Military, its culture, climate, training, procedures, and ways of operation. You diminish and demean our service.

You cause greater concern, fear and worry for our friends and family. You expand pinpoints of data into grossly distorted exaggerations of fact, and paint broad brush strokes of violence without any context or comparison to relative levels elsewhere. You have no sense of proportion or equivalence. You have no regard for collateral damage, and yet see imagined carnage with every surgical strike, precision bomb, or targeted raid. You can speak of cities destroyed with the destruction of a single building.

We daily see the gross distortions. We cannot recognize the caricatures you scratch out, neither in our fellow soldiers, nor in the battlespace we inhabit. Your vain and callous search for what you indignantly claim as objectivity is really nothing more than neutrality in the face of absolute evil. Even though you are neither architect nor sponsor of that evil, you are accomplice in its result. And you continue to ignore the consequence.

We are proud of our Military, our Country, and how, for over 200 years, the U.S. has tried to improve both ourselves and the world around us, usually for little thanks and much scorn and insult. We police ourselves. Every scandal you report, from My Lai to Iran Contra to Abu Ghraib, has been first reported to authorities by military personnel. And that has resulted in prosecutions and punishment. And what do you stress in your reporting? The sins, crimes, and misdemeanors and rarely if ever remark on the ability and willingness for us to identify and correct malfeasance in our ranks.

Never, never claim to support the soldiers, you don't, you never will in any meaningful way until you can see your prejudices for what they are, work to eliminate them, and for once try to view the world with an open and not a closed mind. You need to rethink how you consider the idea of a just war after 9/11. You need to acknowledge that you don't know the modern U.S. Military or the men and women who serve.

I have neither the words nor the standing to say it better. Read the whole thing. You deserve it, and so does he.