The excitement and anticipation radiating from the mainstream media, as American deaths in Iraq inched toward the 2,000 mark, has been more than evident. It has also been a time of struggle for those of us who deeply mourn the loss of these heroic young men and women. Now, in addition to the pain and suffering we truly understand, the American public must also endure the pre-planned platitudes of a press strongly opposed to this combat action.
Headlines and editorials condemning the war or calling for withdrawal of our troops have been everywhere. News and editorial leads have all sounded the theme of Washington’s wrong doing. For example, Bob Herbert’s column in the October 27 New York Times reads, “Thousands upon thousands are suffering and dying in Iraq while, in Washington, incompetence continues its macabre marathon dance with incoherence.”
Our national press corps argues that more than 2,000 deaths in two years of combat is far too high a price to pay in American lives. Since this is a war of “incompetence” and “incoherence”, nothing of value has been accomplished and we should turn our backs on Iraq and the midddle east.
It seems those who pour ink onto today’s news pages have forgotten their world history.
For example, between December 16, 1944 and January 25, 1945 the United States sacrificed 19,000 men to guns of Nazi Germany in a single engagement. Another 23,554 soldiers were captured. It was called the “Battle of the Bulge.” Using the logic of today’s media, we should have surrendered the war to our Nazi enemy on the spot.
During World War II there were 9,512 Merchant Marines who gave up their lives to assure American troops were supplied and moved into battle. By today’s press standards those were wasted lives and all shipping should have ceased.
From April 1 until September 7, 1945 a total of 12,000 Americans died and 38,000 were wounded in the battle for Okinawa. People like Bob Herbert would call that Washington bumbling...a battle that should never have been fought.
At Antietam on September 17, 1862 we learn that in a single battle more than 3,500 young men from both the Blue and Grey Armies lay dead on the soil of their own country. Many in the press of that day thought all of the civilian leadership was lacking competence. Still the fight continued and in the end it was the glue of American blood that held the Union together.
All wars stress a nation. The losses, be they a single life or thousands, can never be taken lightly. But, to use death numbers as a media target for speaking out in opposition and defeatism is unconscionable. We all deserve better from those chosen to be our public voice.