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Sgt. Christopher Hicks has been a Marine for 18 years. He is currently serving his second deployment in Iraq as part of an Army Reserve unit from Newburgh, N.Y. He is part of a fixed wing KC-130 Hercules squadron that flies cargo, people and fuel "all over the country, every day."
[b]Like most soldiers in the war zone, he is flabbergasted and Angry about media coverage of the Iraqi operation.[/b]
He has sent two e-mails to his family and friends since before the elections and has given me permission to reprint them. He tells another side of the war that we don't often hear about in the news reported by the television networks.
Here are some excerpts sent via e-mail Jan. 28 just before last month's elections. He calls his observations, "a Marine's point of view." His statements are reflected in his own words with little editing:
For every one thing you hear bad on the news, there are 10 good things that go on here that fail to get reported. In the past few weeks, our squadron aircraft have shuffled hundreds, if not thousands, of election officials to every city in this country. Our planes are packed full of the locals, which for some is their first time ever in a plane. Some are puking their guts out, singing praises to Allah for protection.
The Iraqi officials are for the most part in good spirits. They were actually clapping when they saw that our crew and the plane was there to pick them up. They know they have a job to do and this is an exciting time for their country.
I have always said this place is like the Wild West of the 1800s in America. The police here are slowly getting a hold on things, and although I wouldn't go walking around in the streets at night by myself, we have thousands of Marines all over this country coming back alive every day after interacting with the Iraqis in their home towns.
The people here want a better life. I expect there to be a few who are scared to vote and won't come out of their house. Then again, judging from what I have seen of this country, most of them don't even have a radio or TV to know about the insurgents and their attacks. Consequently, they will be voting while being oblivious to a lot of the craziness in the news of late. I am being a little sarcastic, but I hope that whatever they have heard, it won't stop them from participating. I think we have done the right thing by locking down the borders and not allowing transportation between the provinces here. Personally, I think we should have done that a long time ago, but I am not the president.
The base I am at hasn't received a mortar attack in at least two to three weeks, so I have not seen an increase in insurgent activity as we get closer to the elections. I don't want to discount what you are seeing on the news too much; yes it is happening, but I guess I just want to get across the point to you that the attacks you see on the TV are but a small portion of what is going on over here.
Every day in America somebody, somewhere, is getting shot at, despite the best efforts of the police to prevent it. Same thing here, no difference. We will never get rid of the few radicals who exist just to disrupt the little bit of normalcy around here. The media is just focusing on this as they have been for the past two years now. I wanted everyone to hear another side of the story compared to what you are being beat to death with every time you turn on the news. We are doing fine over here, the elections are going to go as planned. There are 18 provinces in Iraq, and 15 are at peace. Keep your prayers coming for those other three.
Here are excerpts from a letter sent by Hicks on Jan 18.
-- I don't get CNN or Fox News over here, so I don't know what those silly reporters are up to most of the time. You should only believe 20 percent of what you hear on the news because most of the time it's not true or goes under the assumption that we all feel that way.
-- Nothing gets me twisted around the axle faster than a news reporter calling this "another Vietnam." That simply isn't true. While it's true that we will never make Iraq into a totally safe place, which we haven't even done in our own country, we are making tons and tons of progress.
-- Don't be snowed by some reporter who happened to find the one whining soldier out here. There are soldiers, sailors and Marines that would whine about the color of their Kool-Aid if you let them. The media puts a lot of pressure on us to get the job done now, because the media is what drives public opinion. If we pull out, the country will dip into a bloody civil war with no winners. Then we will ask the question, "Did our troops die in vain? For nothing?" But if we stick with the Iraqis and get them going, no matter what the cost, then we are looked at as dragging this whole thing on and turning it into another Vietnam, yet we have secured a safer future for ourselves and our children.
Bottom line is this: there are many critics and we can't listen to them. It's not the critic that counts. It's not the news reporter or protester who points out how we have stumbled or how we could have done things better that should deserve credit. The credit belongs the military men and women who are in the arena. It's our faces smeared with the dust, the sweat and the blood that strive valiantly for our country. It is us who err and fall short again and again. And who, if we succeed, will know the triumph of high achievement. And who, if we fail, at least fail while daring greatly so that our place will never be with those weak and timid souls -- the naysayers, the reporters and the critics who know neither victory nor defeat.
Sgt. Hicks returns to his home in New York later this month, where he will be promoted to sergeant first class.
[quote][i]Originally posted by jets5ever[/i]@Feb 9 2005, 10:50 AM
[b] True, Bit. That was the only reason. Removing Saddam had nothing to do with it. [/b][/quote]
cmon saddam was a threat to his own people but not really a threat to the USA.
we are 6000 miles away from iraq you know that right? ;)
the guy was so far removed from reality he didn't even know that his own WMD programs were defunct for a decade!! no one wanted to tell him!
[quote][b]CNN Slimes Our Troops
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005
One of the most common complaints I hear from our troops is that the media rarely report on the military's good deeds.
A simple column I wrote last month lauding the humanitarian efforts of our men and women in the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, for example, resulted in an avalanche of mail from military members and their families expressing astonishment and relief over a bit of positive press.
"I cannot tell you how much that it meant to myself as well as several of my shipmates to be praised," wrote Mariano Gonzales, a member of Strike Fighter Squadron 151 aboard the Lincoln. "Sometimes it seems that in today's world, it is just not fashionable for someone in a position to influence public opinion to admit that the U.S. military's role in the world involves more than just war and bloodshed."
Well, with folks like powerful CNN executive Eason Jordan in charge - a man who clearly has issues with the U.S. military - it's no wonder our troops so often feel smeared and slimed.
For the past week, Internet weblogs ("blogs") around the world have been buzzing about outrageous comments regarding American soldiers reportedly made by Jordan, the head of CNN's news division, at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland. (My reporting on the controversy, with extensive links to other bloggers, is at [url]www.michellemalkin.com[/url].) According to several eyewitnesses, Jordan asserted on Jan. 27 that American military personnel had deliberately targeted and killed journalists in Iraq. (Jordan has since disputed the characterization of his remarks.)
Why wasn't this headline news?
Forum organizers have stonewalled citizen attempts to gain access to a videotape or transcript of the Davos meeting. But American businessman Rony Abovitz, who attended the panel Jordan participated in, reported immediately after the forum that "Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-U.S. crowd) and cause great strain on others."
Another panel attendee, historian Justin Vaisse, wrote on his blog that Jordan "didn't mince words in declaring that the intentions of journalists in Iraq were never perceived as neutral and were made deliberate targets by 'both sides.'"
On Monday, journalist and presidential adviser David Gergen, who moderated the panel, told me that Jordan indeed asserted that journalists in Iraq had been targeted by military "on both sides." Gergen said Jordan tried to backtrack, but then went on to speculate about a few incidents involving journalists killed in the Middle East - a discussion Gergen cut off because "the military and the government weren't there to defend themselves."
Panel member Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., also told me that Jordan asserted that there was deliberate targeting of journalists by the U.S. military and that Jordan "left open the question" of whether there were individual cases in which American troops targeted journalists.
Finally, panel attendee Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., issued a statement in response to my inquiry that he "was outraged by the comments. Senator Dodd is tremendously proud of the sacrifice and service of our American military personnel."
Jordan's defenders say he was "misunderstood" and deserves the "benefit of the doubt." But the man's record is one of incurable anti-American pandering.
Jordan's the man who admitted last spring that CNN withheld news out of Baghdad to maintain access to Saddam Hussein's regime. He was quoted last fall telling a Portuguese forum that he believed journalists had been arrested and tortured by American forces (a charge he maintains today). In the fall of 2002, he reportedly accused the Israeli military of deliberately targeting CNN personnel "on numerous occasions." He was in the middle of the infamous Tailwind scandal, in which CNN was forced to retract a Peter Arnett report that the American military used sarin gas against its own troops in Laos. And in 1999, Jordan declared: "We are a global network, and we take global interest[s] first, not U.S. interests first."
Now, who is more deserving of the benefit of the doubt? Eason Jordan or our men and women on the battlefield?
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Today, when speaking of Condi Rice's trip to Europe, one of CNN's "experts" consistently mentioned America's "beligerant" stance towards Iran....said it at least three times from my recollection.
With all the "beligerance" of the media against America these days I am reminded of a great OP Ed cartoon I saw about 12 years ago when the "aids" crisis started to hit mainstream....it was a fireman with a helmet and jacket that said "Trojan" on it for Trojan condoms...he was hosing down a fire which was suppose to represent the "fear of aids"...only thing is the other end of the hose he was using was drawing "liquid" from a bucket labeled "gasoline"..aka-fueling the fire.
I wonder what the ratio is of people dying as a result from violent crimes in the United States compared to the number of A. American Soldiers who have died in Iraq B. Number of Iraqi civilians killed in Iraq C. Both A and B combined