It just so happened that I came upon an article on MSNBC.com entitled "What happened in the Fallujah mosque: NBC correspondent writes about the killing of an injured Iraqi." Although I am always weary of reading
these war reports because they often contain the usual anti-American sentiments and question why we are in this war in Iraq, the article struck me as particularly interesting, so I decided to read on.
The article dealt with a reporter who went to the front lines in Iraq under the protection of US marines, and more specifically traveled to the areas where the insurgents have been most active: Fallujah and Mosul. The reporter describes the following: "When we arrive at the front entrance, we see that another squad has already entered before us. The lieutenant asks them, 'Are there people inside?' One of the Marines raises his hand signaling
five. 'Did you shoot them,' the lieutenant asks? 'Roger that, sir,' the same Marine responds. 'Were they armed?' The Marine just shrugs and we all move inside."
On the outside, this may seem like a harmless description of what was happening.
However, if we look at this in more detail, we can notice the same old anti-American bias that has been plaguing our media since the beginning
of this war (since the beginning of time?). The quotes describe battling marines, AK 47s loaded and ready for action. The marines are young, blindly fulfilling their unknown-to-them duties, pawns in a war that they know nothing about and have no say in controlling.
They are described as young boys, eager to try out their new toys on anyone standing in the way of their testosterone-filled bodies. The reporter describes a scene where the marines enter a mosque and proceed to kill an innocent un-armed man as well as many others. The scene continues as the reporter finds himself in the middle of the mosque surrounded by dead and still-bleeding bodies, groaning as they gasp for their last breath. What is the point of this? The reporter
exclaims that he is not some liberal, anti-war hero spouting rhetoric against Bush and his entire administration. But is he really none of these things?
While the reporter happily proclaims that he is simply doing the war justice by showing it from every angle, good or bad, he slyly proclaims his already biased opinion. It might appear that the article is not doing any harm, and that it is only doing good by informing the public of what the soldiers of this country are doing. However, the language
that the author chose to describe this event is detrimental, especially at a time of war. How is a country supposed to rally behind its troops when they are being portrayed in such a way?
How can a nation gain public approval to support its troops when the media displays the troops in such a vulgar manner? And how is a military supposed to win a war, or win the peace in this case, when they do not have the support of their people? These are impossibilities
caused by the bias of the modern American media.It is difficult to imagine that the marines, who are after all only human, could have done otherwise.
It is true: they are young men; they have new toys; and they are sent on a dangerous mission where they do not know what will happen to them in their immediate future. Under such risks and with the deaths of their best friends under the hands of Iraqi insurgents still fresh in their young hearts, it is impossible to imagine how they could be saints. This is a war. These young men have risked their lives and are continuing to risk them. They have lost much and are terrified of losing more. How can we expect them to be superhuman, to react only when attacked and even then only in kind to the attacks on them? The media is focusing on the wrong things.
Reports from Iraq can have their share of atrocities. Articles can portray the many deaths and destruction
that have gone on. But to frame our troops in such a way, as killing machines without any regard for human life is not only inappropriate, it is wrong. It is wrong because we are holding these young men to a higher standard than we hold anyone else. These young men face death each day and they often make mistakes, much like the rest of the world would in such a situation. These young men must be judged on the efficiency of achieving the goals placed before them rather than their mistakes in the middle of warfare.
This type of reporting creates a negative image of the war, an image that can be true of any war, not particularly
this one. What is most important in all of this, however, is the fact that our troops are betrayed. Whether they have read this article on MSNBC.com or not, they will come back to a country that will judge them for their actions and see them as barbarians. But are we all forgetting that this is a war? In a war, people die, especially our enemies. Often, we must kill the enemy before they kill us. What saddens me the most is that the focus of our media is on ways in which our soldiers have failed in Iraq rather than the ways in which they have succeeded.
Very little coverage is given to the atrocities that daily are brought against our soldiers. Not much is made of the beheadings and murders of defenseless coalition personnel. Most of the media today portray our soldiers in a negative light. While it is true that there have been serious crimes committed, it is strange that we focus on the crimes of our soldiers and not the crimes of the insurgents - Sunni Arabs whose country
we are trying to piece together and help hold election in. In each separate example, we can find fault with anyone.
In looking at the war in Iraq, we must examine what has been done in whole rather than the specific crimes committed by our soldiers. In asking them to fight, we are allotting them a certain amount of responsibility to take matters of life and death into their own hands. When articles like the one described above are published, we are shaming our soldiers for taking responsibility into their own hands and not behaving like we, who sit on our couches and munch on potato chips during the 6 o'clock news, would.
In reality, who knows how we would have behaved in those conditions. The true question lies not in the crimes committed but in the realization
of how harping on this issue is a betrayal of our troops. I would like to see an article that praises them for all the good they have done.
Regardless of whether you agree with the war or not, the troops have the loyalty, love and obedience for this country that most of us can only dream of. For this they must be held high and praised, for in their love for their country, their intentions
have been nothing but pure.