National Review's Jay Nordlinger began his potpourri-of-thoughts "Impromptus" column today with a telling thought on the state of the media in our times of war:
Couple of days ago, I was reading a speech by Peter Pace. It was a very good speech, too — on strategy in Iraq. (Find it here.) Who’s Peter Pace? He’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And as I was reading, I realized how little I know of our commanders — of the people who are fighting the war (the war in Iraq, and the War on Terror at large). Who are these guys (Pace, Abizaid, Petraeus, et al.)? Where are they from? What are they like? Who are their wives? What are their nicknames? Etc.
I may be wrong, but it strikes me that our commanders aren’t celebrities in our culture. I believe that World War I Americans knew Pershing. And World War II Americans knew Ike, Patton, Bradley, Clark, and the rest. Hell, even Vietnam Americans knew Westmoreland, if only for bad reasons.
But I know a lot about Cindy Sheehan. I know a lot about Rep. John Murtha. I know next to nothing about our leaders in the field.
Could be my fault — could be that I’m reading the wrong things. But I sort of doubt it.
In the same way, we hear of very few heroic acts. Such acts go on all the time, in the field. (NR’s Kate O’Beirne has written about them, thank goodness.) But do these men become household names? Are those names lisped with pride by children in schools? Of course not.
TV is too fascinated by the latest Cindy antic.