In response to my syndicated column about media coverage:
Well said about the war coverage. I’m writing this in the middle of a nice sandstorm.
I’m pretty insulated from most of the news coverage out here. Frankly, Marines only watch Fox News anyhow. Nevertheless, I’ve received multiple e-mails from concerned friends and family asking me if I’m OK and their concern that things were not going very well. You essentially said, more eloquently, what I repeatedly tell them: We’re on the skirts of Baghdad in 5 days. We’ve secured the southern oil fields and we’ve gotten across the Euphrates and Tigris with bridges intact! We expected much worse.
I have been personally affected by the deaths and casulties of fellow Marines. It is much more tactile out here among them. It is particularly hard when I learned of friends and Marines that worked for me that are evacuated for injuries. We don’t want to lose anybody but I keep reminding myself and my Marines that the losses are to be expected. We’ve lost less than a platoon’s worth of people – they’ve lost a whole Corps! I can count on my hands the number of tanks and aircraft that we’ve lost and only a few were actual combat losses. Every time I learn that the Marines are heavily engaged, I remind myself that it means that the Iraqis are being decimated in the process. We will not fail.
The successes the Iraqis have achieved are largely non-conventional. They are acting in the most cowardly and animalistic fashion. Were we to stoop to their level of depravity we could certainly protect ourselves from their limited successes. We are more noble and our consciences cannot withstand indiscriminate slaughter in contrast to the adherents of the “religion of peace.” Nevertheless, while the capture of a dozen or so POW’s and the public display of dead bodies does little to affect our combat power, it has had its affect in deflating the early euphoria created that this might be a complete rout and maybe Saddam is dead after all. I have to admit that I, and many others, had to come down fromt that same high as we wanted this to end quickly and with little bloodshed. The American public is also naturally worried about its sons & husbands (as my mom and wife are).
I remind my friends and family, as you have reminded many, to focus on the successes and that this regime could come tumbling down like a deck of cards very quickly. Whether this goes another few days or weeks, however, none of us out here doubt the outcome. You want to have doubt and uncertainty about the outcome for your side? Try putting yourself in the shoes of an Iraqi soldier that just found out he’s going up against the I Marine Expeditionary Force.
Maj. [Name withheld]