Prev | List | Random | Next
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2007 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
Back in August the press had a field day when 21 members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines were killed in Iraq. As a former 3/25 member reported:
They broke this story so fast that the Marines could not even notify the families before hand. This led to absolute panic among the 3/25 families.They all wanted to be the first to thrust a camera into the face of a grieving survivor, of course. One intrepid reporter was able to get a quote from a manager of a donut shop near their headquarters:
?Oh my God,? she said softly. ?I?m all for protection but this is getting a little bit ridiculous.?There's a grieving survivor photo and a video report at that link. However, a few days later Cindy Sheehan set up camp in a ditch in Crawford, and the Ohio Marines were promptly forgotten.
Despite the national attention, the Marines arrived to little fanfare. The battalion will face about a week of debriefing and administrative tasks before they can head home, so the Marine Corps asked families not to come to Camp Lejeune.Don't miss this letter from a Captain in the 3/25 Marines, written at the height of their battles.
Some quiet was exactly what the Marines had in mind.
"We understand because of events over there, people are interested and we appreciate that support," said Col. Lionel Urquhart, the battalion's commanding officer. "The low-key is not disappointing. In fact, it's what we wanted."
While Urquhart, from Akron, Ohio, will have to wait to see his two sons, 22-year-old Lance Cpl. Marc Fencio is getting a surprise visit from his girlfriend, who flew in to welcome him back Friday night.
Fencio, a college student who lives in Athens, Ohio, said living and fighting in Iraq was an excellent reminder of how good we have it here.
"It felt like a different planet," he said. "I wish everyone could see how other parts of the world live. Over there, running water is a privilege. I'll live a much better life after seeing that. It's definitely going to make me appreciate America."
It was Fencio's first tour to Iraq, and he said combat was different than he expected.
"Our generation grew up on World War II movies, Playstation 2 games, where you get hit 10 times and keep on going," he said. "But combat: it's surreal, it's prolonged. It's real."
"You take incoming, get shot, get blown up, and sit around," said Cpl. Eric Bildstein, with Weapons Company and hailing from North Olmstead, Ohio. "War is boring, mostly. There's lulls when there's nothing happening. That's a challenge, fighting through the boredom."
While Fencio didn't know any of the battalion's fallen members personally, he said it still felt like he lost brothers.
"It's tragic," he said. "But when you saw as much combat as we have, it's inevitable."
Bildstein, however, did know some of the fallen personally. Some of the dead were from his original platoon, and he lost one of his best friends, Cpl. Brad Squires from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, to an explosion in Haqlaniyah on June 9.
"That was tough," he said quietly. "He was a great guy."
And the way the Marines dealt with the grief was to do their job to the best of their ability, Urquhart said.
"That's very tough," he said. "As a commanding officer, it's one of the toughest things you have to deal with. Fighting for your country, you go through the grieving process much faster. Dealing with the grief is something we all have to do."
Now that they are home, the main thing is to get some well-deserved rest and live lives that honor their fallen comrades, Urquhart said.
"They accomplished the mission we set out to accomplish," he said. "What our fallen brothers would have wanted is we live life to our fullest, and make sure we make life better for the families of Marines who made that ultimate sacrifice."
Welcome home, Marines.
Tending Distant Fires
Far from hearth and home, watching
Cold alone but not alone
On distant shore and only wanting
Safe return and little more
What tales we'll tell
When that time comes
When tales can be told
When things grim
Seem far away
When other fires go cold
Some distant sunset, vision fading
And tired eyes gaze 'pon folded flags
While distant drums beat their refrain
Saluting fallen friends whose names
And youth will never fade
Here's to those on other shores,
for them live well, the price is paid
-- Iraq, December 2004
I remember reading an article published quite a while ago in the Columbia Journalism Review about media interviews with grieving families. The author went and contacted families interviewed in the immediate aftermath of accidents, disasters and the like to find out what they thought about the media having done so and to get their impressions of how they were treated.
I was a little surprised by the findings. The overwhelming majority of people contacted said that they had been treated with respect, and that they were glad they had been given the opportunity to voice their grief.
Now, I'm sure some people here will say "Columbia Journalism Review," it figures. I'm not a regular reader of it, but they're not any sort of megaphone for the press. They're pretty harshly critical of the media on occasion. So I trusted that article.
As for the media reporting it too quickly, i.e., before the families could be notified, while I sympathize with that complaint I disagree with it. The Iraq War isn't the first one that has been covered by the media. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and newsreels of yesteryear waited until families were notified of the casualties to report things like this.
Families worried like crazy during the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the two World Wars and the Civil War when news of battle casualties preceded the names of those felled. It's part of the heartache of war, not the result of the media's irresponsibility.Posted by Wilson Kolb at October 2, 2005 01:38 AM
I'm correcting you, because you're wrong. Back in Vietnam, Korea and World War II the news media did not have the ability to contact the families of specific soldiers before the Army. Why? Because the kinds of technologies that exist today did not exist back then. It might be weeks or months before news reels were played from battles in World War II and Korea. In Vietnam, news media did not have the unprecedented level of access to troop level operations that they have today. And they also did not have the benefit of the internet to transmit data across the world in seconds.
The issue here is not "coverage" of the war. The issue here are members of the media failing to respect those killed in action by putting their lust for the story over their thoughts of the feelings for those family members.Posted by Rob S at October 2, 2005 04:17 AM
It's simply not true that it took weeks or months before news reels made it back from WW2. The battle for Iwo Jima was covered in near real time, and that's only one example. Besides, I don't think the issue were discussing concerned video coverage of the deaths in Iraq.
The complaint was about the reporting of the additional 14 deaths. To my knowledge, the names of the dead were not revealed in the reports, but only the identity of the unit. The very same kinds of news reports were a stock feature of reports in other wars as far back as the Civil War.
In fact, in the Civil War it was even worse. Big crowds of spectators would go out from Washington, D.C. and watch the battles as they occurred. In areas where this didn't happen, war correspondents sent reports back to newspapers via telegraph and the accounts were published the next day.
The Civil War really caused the birth of the press as we know it. Several things came together: The telegraph, cheaper printing technology, and demand for accurate reports of battles. People wanted information, not censorship of the news.Posted by Wilson Kolb at October 2, 2005 06:47 AM
I hate the media. They're all newsmongers.
They are losing viewers,though.
Love your poem.Posted by Lucille at October 2, 2005 05:59 PM
I hate the media. They're all newsmongers.
Yeah, you'd really hate to have the media in the business of reporting the news. But hey, if you don't like it there are always re-runs of Leave It to Beaver on channel 162.Posted by Wilson Kolb at October 2, 2005 07:08 PM
"Yeah, you'd really hate to have the media in the business of reporting the news. But hey, if you don't like it there are always re-runs of Leave It to Beaver on channel 162."
Reporting the news Wilson? So that's what you call them doing when they try to "catch" the guys doing something or "creating" the news to fit their agenda, right? Yeah, OK. Try selling that to someone that doesn't know any better but you won't find those types of suckers on this site. We know too much about your "reporters".
Now there are exceptions. You know the type, the ones that are actually on our side and truthfully "report" the news without putting their own bias and spin on it. The same ones that don't try to throw our troops under the bus or further endanger their lives by "reporting" something they know will inflame the ignorant.
Read Michael Yon sometime and you'll see what a real war correspondent looks like.
But as far as your "reporting" in real time please spare us. Those of us that have family fighting this war would prefer to get our loved ones' fate "reported" to us by official channels thank you very much! And if someone decides to put a micropphone in my face they'd best not be surprised if it takes a proctologist to remove it from where I stick it next!
BTW, in the War Between The States the newspaper accounts were the ONLY place the citizenry could get word of loved ones' deaths or wounds. Mail and official notification could take weeks. The newsreels of Iwo, Okie, et al were a minimum five to ten days old before they hit stateside. Notification of family was already performed by that time. There was NO real time jack squat in WWII. Period!
But then I wouldn't expect you to understand common decency for something so trivial as loved ones' notification. Why let all that touchy feely stuff get in the way of a good story huh? After all, we can't have something so miniscule as a real hero's death not used to good advantage, correct? Gee, who would think "reporting" the death of Marines in a specific Regiment, Battalion, Platoon, or Squad would cause such idiotic responses in the great unwashed family and friends of those mind numbed robots in the military anyway. It's all just false patriotism red state theatrics anyhoo. Ignorant people that would vote Dubya in office couldn't possibly be respected as they are the idiots that are tearing down the country. Who gives a rat's a*s about them anyway. They are beneath contempt and border on moronic. We get your point! Thanks Wilson, we "understand".Posted by JarheadDad at October 5, 2005 02:50 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(7) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)