Soldiers and the American Media

This Soldier reflects the same thoughts and feelings I had when I was in Iraq. I’d read or watch news reports and wonder which fucking war they were talking about.

Having been on the other side of the world for the past year I must admit that I am not as up to date on current events as I’d like to be. However we do receive the news and are aware of the larger events happening around the world. For instance we were aware of the tidal wave that killed hundreds of thousands in southern Asia. We were aware of the numerous natural disasters that affected the United States.

We’ve also been aware of the vicious political fever and anti—war tone that is constantly streamed to us via television, newspapers, magazines, radio, and internet. Being in the minority of Soldiers with formal education it is discouraging to see how the masses of na�ve and even ignorant soldiers can be so easily persuaded into believing that we are fighting for a corrupt government and that America is a war—mongering nation

Being force fed AFN (Armed Forces Network) we get the best stories that the liberal media can conjure up. Unfortunately for us, this usually means smearing whatever we have accomplished or were planning to accomplish. Bringing the war to our nation’s living rooms and bringing the news to our nation’s war front were mistakes from the beginning. Citizens with no military experience cannot begin to empathize with the hardships that we endure, nor can they understand the split second life and death decisions we are forced to make. Instead we’ve created a nation of hind—sight soldier critics with force fed tunnel vision.

On the flip side we have an overly capable and very adequately equipped fighting force that begins to doubt its relevancy and its necessity to be here. With constant images of; Cindy Sheehan touting anti—war propaganda, constant accusations of the Bush administration being racist in the wake of natural disasters, soldiers’ actions being caught on film and then used against them in various investigations, and now more political indictments on issues that the majority of Americans have no idea about, our soldiers are beginning to believe all the rhetoric and embrace it themselves.

The military works on a simple principle: we fight wars. Without going too far into it, simply stated we kill our enemies before they kill us. Our nation has been diluted through the past few decades by believing that freedom is free. As long as you’re born an American you too can live the Paris Hilton lifestyle and be as carefree, and careless, as possible. Unfortunately the reality is that Soldiers like myself and others have to suck it up and leave home to kill our enemies before they kill us. This principle as well has become skewed and distorted over time, leaving us with the daunting duty of fighting a war in which it is nearly illegal for us to kill our enemy.

Now I ask that you take what you’ve read so far and add to that a large population of ordinary soldiers. The majority of these soldiers are unaware of much outside of the military. Many of them lack extensive formal education and some even lack any semblance of an education at all. Many of these Soldiers are also disgruntled at being asked to do their jobs. Now picture these Soldiers receiving their news via television, newspapers, emails, phone calls, etc. and all they perceive is negative content about the war, about their government, about their country. Take this tremendous fighting force and preach to them that they have been misled; tell them that they have been lied to, show them that they are not supported, suggest their government is corrupt, label them murderers, and explain to them that in the end we were wrong and now expect them to continue to fight this war in which they have no option to fight.

In most debates both sides of an issue are represented. This however is not a debate, this is real life and unfortunately there is no strong representative to help stop the bleeding that is continuing to grow out of control. How do you reach an audience that is more concerned with aligning their beliefs with their favorite Hollywood star than hearing other sides of an issue and beginning to think beyond themselves and their immediate hedonistic drives. Unfortunately our nation’s defenders are swayable by the media they encounter.

As a Soldier my concern is that while Americans enjoy their freedom of speech and freedom of the press they are inadvertently weakening our defenses, damaging our nation, and negatively influencing the frontline soldiers that continue to ensure their freedoms.

I could not agree with him more.

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