Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.
Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.
That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.
The point? Being a soldier is not safe, and never will be. Driving in my car this afternoon, I heard a mainstream media reporter say that around 2,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq "on President Bush's watch." As though the job of the Commander in Chief were to make the jobs of our soldiers safe. They're not safe, and they never will be safe, in peacetime, let alone wartime.
I find it astonishing that there are people who seem to believe that being a soldier is a "safe" occupation. I find it incredible to think that the goal of the military must be to "protect" soldiers.
Putting aside the fact that the military have fewer deaths in many areas than the general public (e.g., fewer automobile accidents as noted here), what could possibly be the point of a national military that is so risk averse that the death of some of its soldiers (in truth the most astonishing LOW death rate in history of major conflict) is widely perceived as a hopeless quagmire, and conclusive proof that we are losing the war.
What we are losing is will. What we are losing is perspective. What we are losing is common sense.
Our media are so perverse and twisted that they refuse to see that it is their continued unrelenting attacks on the President; on the Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; their continued glorification of the enemy that has done the most harm to our nation and our military. Take a look at this, which left me utterly speechless:
Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.
Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.
The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served.
Slogans? PR? To inscribe "Operation Iraqi Freedom" onto the tombstone of a fallen hero? What kind of morons write articles like this?
My father who died last year was proud, proud, proud that he fought not just in WWII, but on Iwo Jima. At his funeral, a Marine talked about the battle of Iwo Jima and the thousands who died there.
This was not public relations. This was not a "slogan" or military propaganda. This was a profoundly humbling and moving honor to my father, who considered his service to this country as one of the most significant and important parts of his life.
That such an article could question this honor; or deride the motivation to honor those who have fallen; only further confirms the anti-American agenda of those who claim to be "objective" and "neutral", but who are virulently antiwar and anti-American . They are the ones with the slogans ("all the news that's fit to print" is one I recall). They are the one's reporting without comment or perspective on the propaganda that regularly comes from various organizations of the Left and from the Islamofascists we are fighting. I don't see anyone in the media questioning those words as propaganda or PR.
But if it hurts the President it will pass muster in the newsroom. If it causes more troops to die by tying the hands of soldiers fighting to protect us, then it has served its purpose. If it make soldiers look like evil oppressive occupiers, or helpless, passive victims (depending on the point the media want to get across that particular day), then it will be on the front page.
WWII was won at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. The same evil our parents and grandparents fought has risen again in the Middle East. It claimed the lives of thousands of Americans before we even knew what that evil intended. We now know even more clearly what they stand for as they continue to butcher innocents and mindlessly destroy in the name of a religion.
The question is, what do WE stand for? Do we stand for Civilization, Human Dignity, and Freedom? Do we stand against those who want to destroy all of these values?
Or, do we stand for nothing?
If it is the latter, then by all means let us not risk any lives at all for such dubious reasons--even the lives of those who believe it is their job to put their lives at risk. And let's propose that those tombstones have nothing at all written on them; or perhaps a name and rank, with "I stood for nothing" carved in neat lettering underneath.
It is a slogan; and in keeping with the antiwar propaganda of the MSM-- but somehow, I think they would appreciate it anyway.
UPDATE: If you want to see what real journalism that believes in something (e.g., truth, honesty, integrity) then check out Michael Yon's post "Gates of Fire". It is important to note that most journalists during WWII passionately wanted the Allies to win the war, yet--somehow--they were able to report on actually what was happening. These days, most journailsts seem to passionately want the US and its allies to lose; and seem incapable of reporting on anything other than the most recent death tolls and/or commenting on how clever and resourceful the enemy is.