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Seems to me whenever I read something in the paper actually written by a soldier it looks like this:
On June 16, 2004, I willingly said goodbye to my wife and parents in a parking lot at Fort Drum, N.Y., not knowing if I would ever see them again. I don't expect any kinds of praise for this or special thanks because that is my job, and I knowingly volunteered for it. I never would have done that if I did not believe that I was defending this great country of ours and all those in it.That's from Lt David Lucas, just back from Iraq, and writing in his hometown paper. He also notes this (and it's the most commonly expressed complaint I've ever heard from GIs back from Iraq):
I know that the war my men and I fought is a totally different war than the one I see being reported by almost the entire media.In a nutshell, I think most GIs back from Iraq would say they served willingly and gladly, but would appreciate it if they didn't have to fight one enemy in Iraq and another in the States. It's not surprising that some in the media might make efforts to deny that problem.
Or worse, fabricate their own version of what soldier's want. According to the New York Times, soldiers in Iraq and around the world are demanding that Americans begin making more sacrifices for the war:
WASHINGTON, July 23 - The Bush administration's rallying call that America is a nation at war is increasingly ringing hollow to men and women in uniform, who argue in frustration that America is not a nation at war, but a nation with only its military at war.What a coincidence - the soldiers' alleged demands for higher taxes and conscription to fill military ranks are solid planks in the Democratic Party's platform.
From bases in Iraq and across the United States to the Pentagon and the military's war colleges, officers and enlisted personnel quietly raise a question for political leaders: if America is truly on a war footing, why is so little sacrifice asked of the nation at large?
There is no serious talk of a draft to share the burden of fighting across the broad citizenry, and neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions.
There are not even concerted efforts like the savings-bond drives or gasoline rationing that helped to unite the country behind its fighting forces in wars past.
"Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice, except us," said one officer just back from a yearlong tour in Iraq, voicing a frustration now drawing the attention of academic specialists in military sociology.
Here are all the actual quotes from soldiers in the story:
"Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice, except us," said one officer just back from a yearlong tour in Iraq...and
"For most Americans," said an officer with a year's experience in Iraq, "their role in the war on terror is limited to the slight inconvenience of arriving at the airport a few hours early."If I were a cynic, I'd propose that "one officer just back from a yearlong tour in Iraq" and "an officer with a year's experience in Iraq" were the same person. But I'm not cynical (/cynicism) so I'll simply note that neither quote supports the story's claims. Every military person I know is quite proud of the fact that due to their service Americans are not suffering - as both "one officer" and "an officer" noted. I've never heard a US soldier demand that Americans suffer more.
Let me emphasize that, because it's crucial: I've never heard a US soldier demand that Americans suffer more.
Here's the third and last quote in the piece from a soldier:
While officers and enlisted personnel say they enjoy symbolic signs of support, and the high ratings the military now enjoys in public opinion polls, "that's just not enough," said a one-star officer who served in Iraq. "There has to be more," he added.I'm sure that "one-star officer who served in Iraq" is a different person than "an officer" and "one officer", both of whom also had served in Iraq, but once again I see a factual statement that in no way supports the author's claims.
Of course, given that this is a New York Times article, we can't know for sure whether the story was written by the person who's name is on it or by an editor who simply added numerous sentences, clauses, or paragraphs to suit his own purposes.
That's what they recently did to Phil Carter, after all. Rather brazenly editing in phrases to his oped that had nothing whatsoever to do with his piece.
I'll let them explain, without changing any of the words:
The Op-Ed page in some copies of Wednesday's newspaper carried an incorrect version of the below article about military recruitment. The article also briefly appeared on NYTimes.com before it was removed. The writer, an Army reserve officer, did not say, "Imagine my surprise the other day when I received orders to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., next Sunday," nor did he characterize his recent call-up to active duty as the precursor to a "surprise tour of Iraq." That language was added by an editor and was to have been removed before the article was published. Because of a production error, it was not. The Times regrets the error.They explained it further afterwards:
"Within 10 minutes" after receiving the changes, he recalled, "I said, 'No way.' Those were not words I would have said. It left the impression that I was conscripted." His call-up was "not a surprise," he told me, because he had actually "volunteered" for mobilization. (It's not clear when the editors first learned that he had volunteered for active duty.)That time I added emphasis - making the last line bold. It's curious, that not writers bit - considering that Phil has a great, well written blog, has been published in Slate (more than just that one link), and also at least once previously in the New York Times. So since "not a writer" doesn't apply they must have had some other reason for changing his words.
This sort of give-and-take is standard practice on the Op-Ed pages. "We try to clarify and improve copy," said Mr. Shipley. "We do this for the benefit of our contributors, many of whom are not professional writers.
We can only guess what that might be.
We've noted drug and alcohol stories here before. In the US population as a whole:
An estimated 17.6 million American adults (8.5 percent) meet standard diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder and approximately 4.2 million (2 percent) meet criteria for a drug use disorder. Overall, about one-tenth (9.4 percent) of American adults, or 19.4 million persons, meet clinical criteria for a substance use disorder -- either an alcohol or drug use disorder or both -- according to results from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) reported in the current Archives of General Psychiatry [Volume 61, August 2004: 807-816].Note that the figures are estimates of numbers of people with use disorder, not one time, casual users. We'd expect that number to be higher.
But among soldiers in Iraq, the numbers seem to be significantly lower, as the London Daily Telegraph reports:
According to US army figures, out of the 4,000 men of the 256th Brigade Combat Team, 53 faced alcohol-related charges and 48 were charged with drug offences.The types of drugs aren't noted. Nor are the number of overlapping cases among the 48 drug and 53 alcohol cases. But the low figures aren't surprising, given that alcohol is banned and most drugs are too. One wonders how many drug related issues involve sharing prescriptions, always a problem, and likely the leading cause of drug busts in Iraq. But if the author is aware of the answer he chooses not to provide it. Still one thing seems certain - drug and alcohol problems aren't rampant among troops in Iraq.
By the way, probably the easiest way for US troops to obtain alcohol would be from their British or Australian allies, who aren't subject to the order banning it.
Want to do something to support the troops? Maybe you can meet the magic vegetable oil bus when it comes to your town.
Jane Fonda is ready to exercise her political beliefs once again.Maybe those are the veterans who think Americans should suffer more.
The actress announced her plans to embark on a cross-country roadtrip to protest the war in Iraq during an event to promote her autobiography, Jane Fonda: My Life So Far.
"I can't go into any detail except to say that it's going to be pretty exciting," Fonda told an audience Saturday in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
This time around, Fonda will be traveling aboard a vegetable oil-powered bus, accompanied by her daughter and the families of Iraq war veterans.
Speaking of veterans - check your local Vietnam Veterans organization for bus arrival times in your area. They'll know.
Update: The NY Times can't quote a single soldier to support their contention - but none the less claim that US troops are demanding more sacrifice from civilians. Want to see how many people believe what they read in the NY Times without question? Click here. Enjoy.
Try the comments at Eschaton too.
Update 2: Times Watch responds to the same story, and notes the obvious holes in the cheese.
What those would accomplish for the troops Shanker keeps silent about. Despite the assumption made in that paragraph, none of the military members Shanker quotes actually demand such World War II-era measures as gas rationing (a theme strengthened in the story with archived photos of old propaganda posters).
Hey, Hey, Hanoi Jane--How many troups have you slimed today?Posted by R.Jones at July 26, 2005 10:45 PM
Your point on the soldier's claim that American's are not sacraficing is not supported by the context of the quotes you provided.
First, every quote from the article used the term "sacrafice" yet you find it hard to believe a soldier would want American's to "suffer" more. Unless there is more to the story than you provided, no where did the soldiers use the term suffer. They used the term sacrafice. Big difference.
This is something I have been writing on for almost 1 year now. The biggest concern for most Americans this summer is "how much will it cost to fill my boat up with gas?" Unlike virtually any major war in the past, the American populace, especially in most towns which are not connected to military bases, are totally unaffected by this war. Makes great news, some cool video games are coming out, but other than that, it is a "who cares" war.
The point they are making is that this is very dangerous on two fronts. First, it is very dangerous for the soldiers because NO ONE has any incentive to stop this war. In fact, the incentive is to keep it going. Down the street from me, Oshkosh Truck is making Billions off this war and jobs are plentiful. No one has any negative effect (like sons having to die in the war) so the incentive is to keep it going.
Second, the military is now totally and utterly disconnected from the society at large. BRAC will make that worse. Meaning, I can go months without ever seeing or hearing a soldier. It is just something that goes on "somewhere else".
I have always said, if we are truly going to war, EVERYONE needs to participate, otherwise, bring it home. It is not worth it.Posted by Kevin at July 27, 2005 03:52 AM
I think the point is the troops don't want Americans to sacrifice or suffer. I think they're proud to be fighting for the American way of life (if you want to know what that is - it's everything Lefties hate and despise)
The New York Times is lying by insisting that American soldiers support their political views, and couldn't even provide a single quote froma soldier that does so. Further, they are insulting American soldiers about 10 different ways in this story. Still, people like you (gullible) believe that if you see it in the Times, it's so.
Fortunately the majority of Americans don't accept everything they read in the NY Times as Gospel.Posted by Old Soldier at July 27, 2005 10:54 AM
BTW Kevin - you claim that every quote from a soldier uses the term "sacrifice" when actually none of them do. How does it feel to have been so skillfully manipulated by the Times?
And on your semantics issue - can you give an example of where someone sacrificed something without suffering? You're right - they are two different things, and suffering is the result of sacrifice - unless you have some weird Lefty definition of sacrifice.
Back in my day we had a saying "question authority" - today you might want to try that.
As far as that "military disconnected from society at large" that's exactly what the Time's hopes to take advantage of when they publish horrendous lies like this one about military.
Another of the ten thousand reasons I'm thankful for Milblogs.Posted by Old Soldier at July 27, 2005 11:12 AM
Well, old soldier, first, I did not READ the article in the times,I read the analysis here which I stated was flawed. If you read my post, instead of going on a typical right wing nut rant, you would have seen I made no comment about the article, merely about the posting. I do not subscribe to the times and read the on line portion sometimes.
Again, READ my post, I said that the quotes HE USED used the terms "sacrifice" not suffer. I did not say that every soldier in the article did. I even said, "Unless there is more to the story than you are posting..." indicating I am responding to his POST not the article.
Here is your example of sacrifice but not suffering. I have a 22' lake boat. Part of the reason the soldiers are over in Iraq is to defend the oil so I can tool around a lake on the weekends. What if the Government said, in a massive attempt to control our fuel consumption, that they would dye marina fuel and you would be rationed to 50 gallons per month? That would be a sacrifice but because I could not boat on my weekends, I certainly would not be suffering.
If what you say is true that the soldiers do not care then LEAVE US ALONE! Meaning, go fight your war, have fun, but don't ask for more money, more veterans benefits, more enlistment bonuses etc. etc. Just go do "That voodoo that you do so well" and leave us alone.
Let us know how it turns out...
I do not know who you are or why you immediately went on a name calling rant but here is what you should do:
1) God gave you TWO eyes... read closely before replying to things that are not said or even implied.
2) Try to see beyond "The NY Times sucks" and look at the substance of the article.
3) Try, just try, to reply without calling someone a name or implying they are gullible etc. Stick to the facts.
4) Question authority? HELL YES!! The NY Times has NO AUTHORITY .. question the Government. You know, the Government that has JAILED a NY Times reporter who never published a story... and allows a conservative "friendly" reporter (Novak) to get a by when he is the one who outed the CIA agent.. you know, that authority.
Finally, the military IS disconnected... plain and simple. I just posted at my BLOG about the issue with 2006 recruiting. They will miss 2005 and 2006 looks just as bad. That is a strong indicator that the populace just doesn't care.
BTW, that was not from the "evil" NY Times but from the military itself.Posted by Kevin at July 27, 2005 12:47 PM
Problems in recruiting in 2006? Wow - can they give me good stock tips too? I'd also like to know whether it will rain on my July 4th picnic.
Kevin also says: "Well, old soldier, first, I did not READ the article in the times,I read the analysis here which I stated was flawed."
You don't even realize you're a blithering idiot. By the way, I haven't read your blog post, and I can tell I don't need to. You're incoherent.
"That would be a sacrifice but because I could not boat on my weekends, I certainly would not be suffering."
Demanding the government stops you from using too much gas, while thinking a "sacrifice" is something painless.
Go away.Posted by Steve at July 27, 2005 07:54 PM
I WANT TO BUY WAR BONDS!!!
It would also be nice if there were only 1 clearing house to send donations to the troops, would be easier to keep track of how much is being sent to the troops that way. But I suppose sending donations, letters, and such isn't a sacrifice. I suppose being personally wrapped up in soldiers blogs, so that you are hanging on their every word, and wondering if they are alright when they don't post isn't a sacrifice. I suppose defending their good name against those who would defame them, isn't really a sacrifice.
No, I think what the troops want is support from Americans, not sacrifice. I do everything I can to support the troops, because they are over there sacrificing themselves for us.
This opinion piece disguised as an article is trying to propel the meme that the Harvard prof was trying to push. That there is a disconnect between the military and the general population.
I think it's much more accurate to say there is a disconnect between the NY Times and Harvard elite w/ the military and the general population. They need to get out of their Ivory Towers and see what the majority think of things.Posted by Keith, Indy at July 27, 2005 10:43 PM
Do you know anything about the military at all besides the movies? If so, you will know there is a thing called the DELAYED ENTRY program. Usually, by now, they have 14,000 or so candidates in the program waiting to go in. Instead, now, I think it is like 4,000. It is the friggin military that is saying they will have a problem in 2006... not me or the evil NY TImes. So, if this assertion is that of a "blithering idiot" then so be it. You have called the General in charge of recruiting a blithering idiot. If that is your position, ok.
You are a moron plain and simple. You read nothing, go on rants and are basically ignorant of the situation.
You reinforce why the right wing nut agenda needs to be stopped.
As I said, if all is OK in the military fine. THEN LEAVE US ALONE. Don't ask for more money or benefits. Go fight your wars and leave us alone.Posted by Kevin at July 28, 2005 02:56 AM
Yeah, the military is doing so "great" at recruiting that now they're offering a term of 15 months active service and the rest in the Peace Corps! That's what I call desperate. I personally know a guy whose uncle has served seven years on a ballistic missile submarine in the Navy and his CO is trying to talk him into re-enlisting but going to Iraq as a truck driver! He's not the only one, plenty of guys driving trucks for the Army in Iraq are Navy or Air Force personnel. The Army can't even recruit enough guys to drive trucks for them in Iraq, let alone as what they try to call "infantrymen" who in the U.S. Army (and Marines) are glorified forward air controllers: as soon as they hear a car backfire they are screaming for air support. Do you really think the military can keep 138,000 "troops" in Iraq for even another year??
Notice how now they are talking about drastic withdrawls from Iraq by early 2006? The 100% unneccessary war in Iraq is breaking the so-called U.S. military.
It's very difficult to overcome the bias which our attitudes create in our PERCEPTION of "reality."
Your post seems (to me) to imply that you know this (or else that you believe "liberals" are liars) since you cite a number of instances in which those who oppose the Bush war/war-plan mis-state what you take to be fact, and do so in a way consistent with their beliefs.
But you do it too. I came to the discussion of the NYT editing a soldier's op-ed piece and read the quotation you provided from the NYT:
'This sort of give-and-take is standard practice on the Op-Ed pages. "We try to clarify and improve copy," said Mr. Shipley. "We do this for the benefit of our contributors, many of whom are not professional writers.'
And while I wondered how disingenuous a defense this might be for the Times' editorial policy in general, it did seem to me adequate explanation for the facts in the situation under discussion.
But then you add your perspective:
'It's curious, that not writers bit - considering that Phil has a great, well written blog, has been published in Slate (more than just that one link), and also at least once previously in the New York Times. So since "not a writer" doesn't apply they must have had some other reason for changing his words.'
And that's not a logical argument: If a practice is, as NYT claims, "standard practice," then the fact that the reason for the practice's having been established is not applicable in a specific situation does NOT mean that the "standard practice" is re-examined in that case and the decision made whether or not it should be applied (practiced.) That's why it's STANDARD practice.
Surely you as a military person know this. There are many regulations in the service which were written because adherence to them created a stronger unit. If a soldier were to tell his superior "I know that's standard practice, but the reason it's there doesn't apply in my case, so the regulation shouldn't apply to me" s/he'd be laughed out of the service.
I'm asking EVERYONE on both sides to state the observable facts objectively and then state the conclusions they draw from those facts. THAT behavior on all sides will allow us to see and so discuss the underlying assumptions each of us is making (since they are the bases for the conclusions.)
But creating invalid arguments can only hinder the process of mutual understanding.Posted by toby ziegler at August 27, 2005 05:40 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(10) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)