Friday, October 28, 2005

The Politics of Greatness

I'm not a political person. I vote in just about every election, I have opinions, I pay attention...But that's about it. I don't often talk about political matters (you know what they say about politics and religion) and I blog about them even less often. I accept at face value the fact that I was blessed to be born into a free country where people are allowed to hold and voice their support of or opposition to the practices and policies of the powers that be. But sometimes you just have to step out of your norm and venture into the world of punditry. And so it is that this particular post will probably lack any measure of eloquence or my normal "word-smithery" because of the angst I feel over the topic at hand.

Over the past few days there has been much in the news about the death toll in Iraq. Fox News, CNN, even AFN News are discussing and spinning the magic number 2000 to the point of nausea. Frankly, one is too many. But this is a war, after all. Blood will spill, lives will be lost, and families will mourn. It is the nature of what we do. The problem is that every news source that I have access to is focusing on our casualties. One of the results is that the American soldier is demoralized. Not because one or more of his buddies may have given their all, but because he feels like the American people do not really understand what he is doing and are therefore not truly behind him. There are two sides to every story, but the American people only seem to be getting half of it. A basic understanding of Operational Security (OPSEC) forbids me from divulging details of some of the things I've seen and heard. However, there are some things I can mention.

First, 99 out of 100 soldiers I have spoken with understand that we are involved in something substantial and meaningful over here. They are not the mind-numbed robots many make them out to be. They are well educated, highly trained, well equipped professional warriors who know their job and want to do it.

Second, the men we are fighting here are evil, blood-sucking vermin. They kill indiscriminately and without remorse. Their goal is power, and they seek to gain it even if it costs the lives and spirits of all their fellow countrymen.

Third, while we have lost 2000+ of our patriot sons and daughters, the number of terrorists who have assumed room temperature is estimated to be anywhere from 5 to 20 times that number (depending on who you talk to). We are taking the wood to the bad guys on a regular basis and in spectacular fashion. I never cease to be amazed at the warrior ethos that drives this great generation of American men and women or their willingness to fight and die for the freedom of people they will never meet.

And in the middle of the violence, blood, gore, and mayhem, the American fighting man stands as the paradigm of brotherly love, seeking the best for others. He kills when he must but never without cause. He fights to free others rather than to gain something for himself. He sacrifices daily to ensure that this country of sand and dust and people will not be subjected to this kind of lifestyle forever. He offers the Iraqi people a chance to taste the freedom he enjoys. And for what? So that those with a public voice can point a finger of blame and disgust while decrying his efforts and belittling his mission?

I'm not a political person. But my soldiers deserve to be heard and respected. They are a new generation of American and have earned the title "great".

12 comments:

Grim Tempus said...
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nedludd said...
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Donn said...

Thank you for your service, Chaplain Lewis. We pray for you and all those serving overseas for us everyday.

ex-1LT Cav said...

I think you can rest assured that most Americans are behind the troops 110%. Also, you will find that the so-called mainstream media is starting to recognize that fewer and fewer of the people in this country believe what is being reported in their media. Left-leaning reporters and columnists (that borders on being redundant) are complaining that people don't believe what they are reporting about the events in Iraq. They also are realizing that intelligent people are getting their news elsewhere...usually from sources on the internet that are much more "fair and balanced", to quote the only TV news I watch these days.

As a US Army veteran (1967-1970), I have seen this all before. Because of the other sources of news that are available today, those in the MSM can't demonize the GI and be believed this time around.

Ready and Forward.

rabidfox said...

I too would like to thank you and your fellows for their service. It seems trite enough to say, but it does need to be repeated. The MSM IS a one-sided organ and it is becoming more and more obvious each day. Ex-1LT Cav. is right in one respect: People are beginning to recognize the tricks that the MSM pulled in Vietnam being repeated today.

DOGKEES said...

First and foremost, let me thank you for your courage, service and sacrifice. My family and I cannot begin to express our appreciation for all that you do. Our prayers are with you and the troops.

It really does bother me that our troops have received such unfair coverage on the news. If something goes wrong, it’s immediately reported, but it is truly amazing how they ignore everything that does go right. This lopsided picture that they are trying to paint for Americans makes it rather obvious that they are not interested in covering the facts about the war, but rather in influencing public opinion. After all they gave more time to airing pictures of Abu Ghraib than they did to the historical vote that took place in Iraq this month—something never seen before in the Middle East—a constitutional referendum!

I have a little bit of good news. A detailed report was just published by Media Reality Check which demonstrates clearly the media’s bias covering the war on Iraq. For those interested they can visit: Media Reality Check: http://www.mrcaction.org/ I encourage all to visit the site.

The second bit of good news is that despite the media’s slant and all their reporting about the war in Iraq losing support, the most recent poll does not seem to support this. Below, I’ve pasted an excerpt from an article I read:

The latest Zogby America poll, conducted Oct. 19-21, says only 36 percent of likely voters favor an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq -- the solution the anti-war protesters are advocating.

According to the poll, 55 percent of likely voters want U.S. troops to remain in Iraq until the country is stable and can protect itself or as long as Iraq's government asks the U.S. to stay.

The full article can be found at: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200510\NAT20051024b.html

This translates into more than half of American voters supporting our troops remaining in Iraq until the country is stable. You sure wouldn’t get that impression from reading the news.

There are Americans who do support the troops and support your mission. Trying to bring stability to the Middle East through democracy will be for the greater good. Unfortunately, we all know too well, it will not be easy. But we are behind you, and wish both for you--to be kept out of harm’s way and Godspeed!

Sara said...

Great post, Chaplain Lewis. It's a shame that some people hear only what they want to and don't want to hear the good stories coming out of Iraq. The first course of action people have to take is not to believe everything they hear on the news - or at least ask the question - and what's the rest of the story?

God bless and thanks again for your service!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chaplain Lewis:
Hope you don't mind that I printed your post. You see, I'm not a blogger; not even military, but am a proud American and have been so frustrated by the news coverage, and having adopted soldiers, and the war becoming so very personal to me, your writing spoke to me. I long ago stopped watching any news except the 'fair and balanced' one, and even get a little disgusted with them at times, have stopped my local leftist newspaper, and search the soldiers blogs, Iraq Today, and DOD sites for all my news. To turn on the tv and see the same wrantings regurgitated by all three networks is a little hard on this lady's bloodpressure.
After adopting my first soldier, and his being in Baghdad, and such a good correspondent, I was so proud of our military. Not that I was not before; I just didn't know so much about their honor, sacrifice, and devotion to country and each other. So, before going any further, let me tell you how much I appreciate all that you, and your guys, are doing. I rejoice in their victories, and grieve with the losses. Yes, I look for the pictures. It worries me that our troops see the same news coverage that I do, and I could scream at that! One would think that the Rove controversy, and the latest girl missing, or the storm, was ALL there was going on in the world! Not so!! Every broadcast should be led by our Heroes of the Day, and what a lot there are! Now, I don't mean just the lost ones. To me, every single one of our military, who is in that place, willingly, and fighting for me, and the freedom from tyranny of those people, is a hero. Guess I've rambled on enough but, I think you get the picture- I sat up all night the first election, because 'my soldier' was kept there for it, and I knew the historical significance of it; I tried to watch the last one, but, found the coverage was not as good, but, there I was-- waiting! So, you go guys! I am so proud of you all and wish I could just adopt you all-but--guess that's not physically, or financially, possible. I do have one still there, but, of late, the correspondence has had to be limited. My prayers are with you and will continue to watch the progress as we move toward that next election. Now, I don't say that lightly--I KNOW what prayer can do. So, please know that people DO care, and want you to be able to come home, but, what you're doing is just terrific! And the job must be completed! As I've said so many times, its the 'classic battle between good and evil' and you're on the right side.And that is not meant to be political. But, in that 'battle,' those of us who are believers, know who comes out the Victor! May God watch over, and comfort, each and every one of you. Thanks again Chaplain, Betty

sparkles said...

The eloquence and "word-smithery" were still all there, Chaplain. You've expressed what I've been feeling for awhile now about blatantly biased news coverage, and you hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head.

How can we say thank you enough to you all who are serving? After all these times, our thanks still bear repeating and always will. I hope that with our gratitude we can drown out the voices of those who complain, whine, and determindedly look only at the minor, dark side of things. Thank you, one and all, and may God bless and protect you abundantly; we're with you!

Anonymous said...

Indeed the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are the first in their generation to deserve the label 'great'. History will remember all of our soldiers in these times as such, even if the NYT and the AP never do.

We Americans stand behind you. We support our troops. We support our troops mission which, as you said is a noble one, now much akin to saving the people of Germany and Japan in 1945.

Were those American soldiers in 1945 Germany and Japan heroes? You bet they were! The soldiers in Iraq today are in the same mold. Heroes. Great Americans. Great human beings.

Bob said...

I too have been blessed to be born in a country that affords me the right to be free. But that is only because of men like you and those you right about. I have often spoken to people in my church when they talk about "being called by God" and thinking that means being a pastor. The men and women you work with every day are called by God to do his work for justice everyday. Anyone who says they support the troops and not the war just doesn't get it and usually doesn't want to.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Chaplain, for your service and truthful words about our men and women in uniform. The reality of it all is, not one person can really know what it is like to be in your shoes. We civilians seem so preoccupied with American Idol and other garbage that we forget about the true cost of freedom: blood.

God bless you and our troops.