Thursday, April 13, 2006
Wade Zirkle, writing in The Washington Post, sums up his frustration with the media unwillingness to give voice to veterans, unless they are against the war in
Zirkle, executive director of Vets for Freedom, uses a recent staged political event to frame what seems the source of his frustration:
Earlier this year there was a town hall meeting on the
Not in our name, you might remark. Another easy observation might be that there are as many views of the war in Iraq as there are soldiers in and veterans out of uniform, and any attempt to characterize what “most of them think” would be a gross over-simplification.
Perhaps, on the particulars. But the fact is, why are so many veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) re-enlisting in record numbers? Because, whatever specific policy or command differences they may have with the current Administration, their civilian and uniformed leaders, they believe in their mission, their purpose, their cause and their duty.
You can find the carpers, the second guessers, the political opportunists, the partisans, the disgruntled or passed-over. Naysayers abound. But why so few, in contrast to those who willing volunteer and continue to volunteer?
But I digress from Zirkle’s narrative. Which is a really entertaining if provoking read, of which must be said, read the whole thing.
Zirkle has a highly informative first person account to relate from the Murtha gathering:
The tenor of the town meeting was mostly what one might expect, but during the question-and-answer period, a veteran injured in
"And, Congressman Moran, 200 of your constituents just arrived back from
What was the response? Murtha said nothing, while Moran attempted to move on, no pun intended, stating: "That wasn't in the form of a question, it was a statement."
Zirkle means no nor conveys any disrespect towards Murtha as a fellow veteran. But he rightly observes what so many of us observe, that his views are not the predominant ones in today’s military:
In view of his distinguished military career, John Murtha has been the subject of much attention from the media and is a sought-after spokesman for opponents of the
I guess the Post printing Zirkle’s article is a start at giving other military voices an airing, but consider how rare. How amplified are the voices of the Stars, the Generals who so publicly come forward now and decry those “responsible for the mess in
All based on a false premise, if you ask me. What “mess in
The only voices that get serious media attention are the Zinnis, the Shinsekis, the Batistes. If you create great Bush-, Cheney-, and Rumsfeld-bashing sound bites, you’ll get mass audience and above-the-fold and Page A1 coverage. Think McClellan in the Civil War, or even McArthur in
If you have political ambitions, those won’t hurt, either, but beware all those glad-handlers, because they’ve never been too keen on the Military, and today’s back-patters will be butt-kickers tomorrow. Armchaired Generals, you’ve been warned. Wesley Clark gained traction until he started having his own (admittedly wacky) ideas, then, unceremoniously was bounced to the curb. Same with Paul Hackett, only he was tossed off because he actually had some positive things to say, and do.
I want to let Zirkle have the last word, with the conclusion of his piece in the Post:
Like so many others past and present, I proudly volunteered to serve in the military. I served one tour in
The morale of the trigger-pulling class of today's fighting force is strong. Unfortunately, we have not had a microphone or media audience willing to report our comments. Despite this frustration, our military continues to proudly dedicate itself to the mission at hand: a free, democratic and stable
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