Wednesday, February 11, 2009

God, I hate the media.

Over at mudville gazette, Robert Stokely writes a piece about the media asking for access to Dover AFB to film returning warriors, to illustrate the "true" cost of war. Not the triumphant parade of soldiers and marines who should be lauded with flowers and ticker-tape, but rather the solemn ranks of flag-draped caskets. To the news media, anything they can't get access to begins a tantrum of "we (or the people) have a right to know!!!" (Which, oh by the way, is not a right enumerated in the constitution.) When their cries are ignored, they switch tactics, like their recent ploy:
Ed Henry with CNN, who asked the President whether he thought the arrival of American coffins at Dover should be accessible to the media to "show America the real cost of the war...." and would he reconsider the policy of not allowing the media in.

First, any American who doesn't understand that people die in war, isn't going to understand what a flag-draped casket coming off of a C-17 means.

Second, and more importantly, any journalist who thinks that this is "news," that a deployed soldiers' family wants to be reminded of the risks involved this on the nightly news, that the family of a a service member who has given his last full measure wants to see this, is sadly, sadly, mistaken.

Third, Ed Henry, and his editors who encourage this line of thought, are jerks
(This may seem a bit harsh, but I just learned yesterday that a friend and mentor of young 2LT Ziegenfuss, was killed in Iraq.)

LTC Gary R. Derby, Commander of 3/8 Cavalry, was killed in Mosul. He is survived by a spouse and three children, and an Army of young leaders who he inspired.

This brings to six the number of personal friends that I've lost in this war. Men I served with, laughed with, shared hardships and spilled blood with. Men who've place their lives in my hands and in whose hands I've placed mine. I don't have to see their caskets to miss them, or to know "the cost of war."

I am honored, truly honored, to wear the same uniform as they, to be counted amongst their ranks. When people see the uniform, they see a soldier. A random they. I see the faces of these men and many others with whom I've served. I see their families, their kids and their spouses. I know their sacrifices. I know that none of them would trade places with anyone else if given the option, each of them would gladly give their lives to save anyone else the pain their families suffer through their loss. Can you imagine? Knowing how badly your family will suffer without you being around? A daughter who will soon graduate from high school, whose father will be absent from her graduation? A son who will never be able to show his dad he figured out how to assemble his pinewood derby car by himself? A lonely bride at her father/daughter dance, walked down the aisle by her Uncle?

When the trumpets fade and the family now enters the "civilian" world, they are pitied, seen as lacking or unfortunate by their neighbors, when in reality they have given more for their country than their neighbors could ever understand. And the thing they will never understand the most:

Every one of these men went willingly, knowing the risks, and their families know the risks, and not one of them would dream of letting the "other guy" take his place.

We've lost thousands of men just like this, while our nation focused on so much trivial bullshit over the last eight years. The cost of the war can't be measured in Billions or Trillions of dollars, it can't be measured by any tangible rationale. The loss of these men, and men like them is the true cost of any war. If you show that cost as flag draped coffins, you still don't show the cost. Parading a flag-draped coffin as the cost of war compresses everything these men have stood and sacrificed for, everything their families have lost, everything that they've ever done, into a seven foot aluminum box. It disgraces their memory to show their sacrifice this way, to claim that as the cost of war.

The cost of war is the loss of these men and women, their contributions to our nation and the legacy they've left behind. The cost cannot be measured, because their future has ended, their ability to serve is gone. All we have left is their memory, and we remember the best of them, and try to carry on the lessons learned from them, but will never be able to replace them.

That is the cost of war. If CNN or any other journalist can't understand that, then they can go fuck themselves.


Edit - Contact info added below the fold
-Code Monkey

Pentagon Switchboard
SCTY Defense Robert Gates:
Dr. Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen:
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
Washington, DC 20318-9999
General James E. Cartwright:
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 Joint Staff Pentagon
Washington, DC 20318-9999
General George W. Casey, Jr.:
Army Chief of Staff
200 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0200
Admiral Gary Roughead:
Chief of Naval Operations
2000 Navy Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-2000
General Norton A. Schwartz:
Air Force Chief of Staff
1670 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1670
General James T. Conway:
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Headquarters USMC
2 Navy Annex (CMC)
Washington, DC 20380-1775
Senator John Kerry:

218 Russell Bldg.
Second Floor
Washington D.C. 20510
202-224-2742 - Phone
202-224-8525 - Fax

One Bowdoin Square
Tenth Floor
Boston, MA 02114
617-565-8519 - Phone
617-248-3870 - Fax

Springfield Federal Building
1550 Main Street
Suite 304
Springfield, MA 01101
413-785-4610 - Phone
413-736-1049 - Fax

Fall River
222 Milliken Place
Suite 312
Fall River, Ma 02721
508-677-0522 - Phone
508-677-0275 - Fax
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg:

Newark Office
One Gateway Center
Twenty-Third Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: 973-639-8700
Toll Free: 1-888-398-1642
Fax: 973-639-8723

Camden Office
One Port Center
Suite 505, Fifth Floor
2 Riverside Drive
Camden, NJ 08101
Phone: 856-338-8922
Fax: 856-338-8936

Washington, DC
Hart Senate Office Building
Suite 324
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3224
TTY: 202-224-2087
Fax: 202-228-4054
The White House

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

Comments: 202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
Find your Senator / Congressman
"Oh, and for good measure, give Biden something to do."

I couldn't find a contact page for him. I imagine snail mail to the White House in his name would be the best route.
Please let me know if I broke anything in formatting or got any of the names wrong.

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