Monday, February 19, 2007
Its a photo of a US Servicement holding a little Iraqi girl.
The caption accompanying the photo was oh so very telling
"Why isn't this all over the news? If he had done something wrong, it surely would be!"
Unfortunately, the discourse over the war has been reduced to swapping emotional images and lamenting the PR battle. It saddens me, because it shows how far we have fallen from grace.
To answer the emailer's question, it is not all over the newspapers because its not news. The good guys are supposed to do things like this. Its only news when the bad guys do this.
The good work of a US Military officer, a small kindness in a war zone -- thats what is expected of us. We are Americans, and in case you forgot, we are the GOOD guys. We are expected to do good deeds -- it is who we are.
We saved the world from anarchy in the early parts of the last century, from Fascism in the middle of the century, from Communism later in the Century.
The United States has time and again saved the world from evil -- and yet never before have any of us complained about the "PR" of our actions Our list of global accomplishments and good deeds goes on and on. There was a concern for the results, not media imagery. This is a subtle but important point.
Can you imagine partisans whining that US Servicemen had freed the camp victims at Auschwitz -- but there wasn't enough coverage, it wasn't front page news? That rebuilding of Germany and Japan after WWII wasn't getting enough airplay? The foodlifts to Africa, the inventions of life saving medicines, the racing to comfort earthquake victims, tsunami survivors, disasters anywhere on the planet neneded to be exploited further? Back then did anyone cry "Hey, where's our credit?!"
Absolutely not -- you shut your mouth and you got the job done. The results mattered more than the image.
That was a different era. We had leaders of great intellect, courage, and judgement. They surrounded themselves with the best and the brightest. They purposefully kept aides around them who challenged their views, thought strategically, mapped out all possible consequences, believed in Science. They were pragmatic, not idealogues; they were experienced experts, not partisans.
Too many people have lowered their standards to a point that is absurd. Hey, everyone, we repainted a school in Baghdad!
Talk about the soft prejudice of low expectations. Is that what our measure of greatness has become?
I regularly appreciate all of the great deeds done by US Servicemen, working with insufficient equipment under a great hardship. We've donated old cell phones to servicemen, participated in raising money for armor. Do not misinterpret this as anything but supportive of the troops in harm's way.
But recognize who we are talking about: These are the US Marines, the greatest fighting unit in the history of mankind! These are Air Force officers, flying the most sophisticated and powerful weaponry know to the planet. US Army personnel, Navy sailors -- these aren't just any military -- these people make up the Armed Forces of the United States of America! Does the emailer complaining about the lack of media coverage understand the history of these institutions, what they have accomplished over the past 2 centuries? I think he does not. Because if he did, he would not be as concerned about a single gentle kindness, about the imagery, about the PR, rather than the actual war itself.
The Marines understand war and their obligations within a conflict; that's why Semper Fi -- Always Faithful -- is their philosophy. The Air Force says "Aim Higher" -- because their philosophy is to achieve greater and greater results, as opposed to media spin.
No, my dear emailer, you have forgotten who we are and what we are all about. A good deed by a US serviceman is what WE DO ANYWAY. In case you didn't know, we are the GOOD GUYS. If this not being in a newspaper is what upsets you, than you NO LONGER GET IT. This is what the United States is all about. This is what is expected of us. This is the standard we aspire to. This is who we are.
Follow the advice of the Armed Services. Worry less about the PR, and more about what really matters. "Aim Higher."
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