Sunday, February 05, 2006

Matty O' Says What We've Known All Along

The real story of Iraq will not be written today or tomorrow. You will not see it on your television screen. If you're lucky, you get cable channels like the Military Channel or Times Discovery which often plays segments recorded in Iraq with our soldiers, interviews them, discusses their activities, shows what they are up against, etc. But, what you don't know is the number of people that have done heroic things. You won't hear about men running into fire fights to pull wounded soldiers, both Iraqi and American, sometimes even other allies, from danger, saving their lives and those of their friends.

You won't hear about the sacrifices made on a daily basis. You won't hear about men shooting an insurgent and then Combat Medics running up to save the same man that was trying to kill them a moment before. You won't hear about heroes or battlefield gallantry. You won't hear about the likes Major Biegler who was attacked by a suicide car bomber along with his troops and twenty children standing around, then these same soldiers jumping up, treating the children, trying to run a little girl named Farah to the hospital to save her life (a photograph that made the news, but the story was little known or publicized).

She died, by the way, but not from lack of trying to save her through extraordinary means by tough men with guns who cried over her loss.

No, what you hear are stories about abuse, slow reconstruction, the mistakes that occur in battle that sometimes lead to civilians being injured or killed, reporters being kidnapped or killed, the continuing infighting of politics that allegedly show failure. All of these things are part of the story, but the parts that show something more, that show men and women to be more, that show the world that there are brave men and women who sacrifice, not just idiots playing S&M games in a notorious prison, those stories about good men and women are hard to find on your regular news, cable, print or even web based news organizations.

I know how hard they are to find because I watch the news and read the web everyday. I know because every few months I'm having a relaxing talk with my dad and we're discussing the war, I'll mention something about this or that incident, about activities that are going on, about progress that's being made, about other problems or things we are trying to work out and he is always surprised. He always asks me to remind him where he can find the information. I even introduced him to a few blogs so he could get the info.

My dad is a news junky. He's retired and spends a lot of his time working on hobbies with the TV on in the background. Unfortunately, where they are, CNN is the only international news channel they get.

And, it's not just my dad. My brother in the ANG was up two weeks ago for the funeral and we were having a general chat and chew, the war came up and he was surprised how much I know about what's going on. He was surprised what he didn't know about what was going on.

No, he never heard of Peralta, though he knew about Paul Smith. He was then surprised that I knew about the picture of the EOD guy flipping the bird to the insurgents after they tried to blow him up. While we laughed over that, he wondered where I had seen it since he thought it was something mostly military guys were forwarding to each other from the DoD link. In fact, I told him, that is how I saw it, from a military blogger. And this is from my brother, who, as they say, is "all ate up" (ie, all military, all the time).

There are no heroes in uniform according to the press. Only journalists and activist civilians can get that title.

Sgt York is dead. He's been replaced by Brenda Star, Ace Reporter.

My prayers and good wishes for recover to Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt

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