Monday, October 10, 2005

Bing West, a former Marine and assistant Secretary of Defense doesn't think that our soldiers fighting today in Iraq are getting their deserved aclaim from the media today.
Hundreds of gripping stories of valor emerged that would have been publicized in World War II. Although there are far more heroes than louts in the ranks, stories of the abuses at Abu Ghraib and now at Fallujah vastly outnumber stories of heroism and sacrifice.

Not to take anything away from The Greatest Generation, but the behavior of our soldiers today will stand scrutiny when compared to the performance of those in any past war. The focus of the press on abuse is not due to any relaxation in military discipline or social mores. Why was valor considered front-page news in 1945 and abuse considered front-page news in 2005?

Poor conduct, like shipwrecks, makes news. On the other hand, saving a ship should also make news. For saving a Marine in what is called "the house from hell" in Fallujah, Sgt. Kasal has passed into Marine legend. Yet Fallujah Redux as a front-page story is based on allegations of bad conduct, not of heroism. If a story about louts two years ago merits the front page today, then stories of heroes merit equal attention today and tomorrow.
The media does make some attempt to cover these sorts of stories, but with nothing like the fervor with which they pursue every little rumor of some soldier abusing a suspected terrorist. Some balance would be greatly desirable.