One e-mail from a major:
1. Our professional military is extremely “wired”. Staff officers are beginning to make use of the internet the way guys my age made use of our canteens.
2. I’m not a big “blogger”; however, many of the younger guys – are.
3. Guys stationed “forward” may have issues with available bandwidth, cutting their ability to stay on the net. However, guys stationed on “staffs” are extremely tuned in. I spent most of 2003 in Kuwait in our Command Center.
4. Most soldiers don’t understand the sensationalism inherent in media coverage in Iraq. I think most of them don’t understand why it is so much easier to cover the IED explosion & injuries than the historic city council meeting in Bum F**k province! For every bad thing happening in Iraq – and there is STILL TOO MUCH OF THAT – there are dozens of “good” things going on. And these “good things” are completely lost on most Americans – thanks to the poor work of our major media. (And the institution – at least the Army – is considering at its highest levels – how “better” to communicate with the democracy which sustains us. “Embedded media” was fine during the “easy” part of the conflict – but, it is clearly not getting the job done, now.
And another, which breaks your heart in parts:
Greetings K-LO!!! I served in the Sunni Triangle from July ‘03 untill April ‘04 with the Army Guard. I always knew the media was biased in the past, but it really slaps you in the face when you witness it firsthand. Let’s get this straight:
1)Saddam was evil. 2)Iraqis lived in fear and with constant torture under Saddam. 3)Millions of Iraqis are incredibly grateful to the U.S. for removing Saddam. 4)Now those millions are working their butts off, and risking their lives to build a decent, modern society.
These are all widely documented facts that I personally know to be true from my own experience. And yet, since I’ve gotten home, I am really shocked at how many people are completely unaware of these things. (maybe it’s because I live in a blue state; MN) It disgusts me how many people honestly seem to think Saddam wasn’t a big deal, or that we are killing more Iraqis then Saddam ever did. Many assume that since I was “Backdoor Drafted” through the Guard that I would not be proud of my service or the things we are accomplishing. How wrong they are. Actually meeting, and working with Iraqis convinces me more then anything else that they honestly are just normal human beings who have the capacity for peaceful governance, and prosperous industry like anyone else. Iraqi families DO deeply grieve for the million-plus that were murdered, tortured, or raped under Saddam’s rule. It is wrong that our media so callously ignores that grief. There is such a huge contrast between actually being among a people,many of whom are missing limbs,or are covered in whip lashes, and yet have such a look of renewed hope and passion as they line up to volunteer to work for the coalition, compared to the medias’ portrayal of Iraqis as bitter, and angry with Americans for upsetting their “security under Saddam”. The contrast can literally make you sick. It has been my belief since I’ve returned home that the media really is our true adversary in Iraq. I’ll support that statement: everyone admits that the terrorists in Iraq are not a serious military force, and that they simply don’t have the strength to incur even a single military defeat on our forces. The only way they can win is through a political victory. They can win political victories by either forcing Iraq into sectarian civil war (which looks more unlikely with each passing day), or by the media’s constant drumbeat of defeatism, and pessimism convincing a large enough portion of the U.S. that we are failing, forcing a premature evacuation. It is clear to me that the media’s influence was by far the bigger of the two threats. However, I’m elated that our recent election has proven that the media has failed to persuade a majority of Americans into defeatism. This gives me true hope for the future, both in Iraq, and in America. Now, regardless of the fact that my friends and family seem to think I’ve been brainwashed by the military, and am secretly a paid employee of Haliburton, I can be happy about the direction our country is headed in, and proud of my service in Iraq. (By the way, I love the fact that they think I was “brainwashed”, so much so that I carry a card in my wallet that proclaims me an Official Member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy!!) Well, thanks for everything you guys are doing, and keep up the good work! You keep writing it, I’ll keep reading it!!!