By: E&P Staff
In today’s letters, readers respond to Greg Mitchell’s recent column “Blood on Our Hands” in which he criticized the nation’s editorial boards for not speaking out more strongly against the Iraq war.
Readers Respond to “Blood on Our Hands”
My son, a 19 year old Marine, was able to get a 96 hour liberty over the 4th, so we spent it together. Early on the fifth we were at the airport, sending him back to his base. Next to us in the check-in line were two soldiers in uniform. We struck up a brief conversation with one of them.
I asked where he was headed. “Back to Iraq”, he said. Not to Iraq, but back to Iraq. Heads around us turned. One woman stepped up and solemnly shook his hand and thanked him for his service. “Stay Safe”, I told him. “Yes Ma’am”, he replied calmly. No one seemed willing or able to muster any further conversation with him, maybe because it was five in the morning and too early for most of us to mask the raw emotions those three short words produced. Back to Iraq. We all just looked sad and worried and unwilling to say anything more, turning away from him back to the shelter of our own thoughts. What is there to say?
Behind the soldier stood his parents. They stood, for the most part, silently by him. But the emotion radiating off of them was like heat off an iron.
I saw his name on his uniform. It’s branded on my brain now. I know that if I see it on some horrible list on the news, whether it’s next month or next year or the year after that, I will remember him standing there, tall and strong and achingly young, with his parents behind him, pride and fear mixed on their faces, trying not to look broken-hearted. I wanted to grab my son and hang onto him, drag him into the past before any of this existed.
After the soldier left, I saw his parents walking away, without their child but with the knowledge of what he was being sent back to. If I had not known why they were there, I would still have known that there was some great sadness walking with them. It was in every step they took.
I ache inside for them and every other parent of a soldier in Iraq. I don’t know what to do with this pain. I don’t know how to stop it from turning into hate for those who so cavalierly use our children for their war profiteering and their political games.
This is a nightmare. This is Vietnam all over again and we seem helpless to stop ourselves from another descent into madness.
Remember how Vietnam crept into our lives? First it was some obscure news about war in some foreign place. Then troops were there, but no one we knew. Then it became personal. Suddenly, it seemed, it was the brother of a friend, or somebody’s cousin, or someone we knew from school. Then it was everywhere. We all knew someone who was going, or who would never return, or who came back ruined and unrecognizable.
Now all we have are memorials and a long black wall with too many names on it. And for what? For lies. Damned lies.
Why are we doing this again? Why can’t we seem to muster the strength to stand up and say no? No more of our children coming home in boxes. No more.
Are we going to wait until we have enough names for another wall?
Those parents I saw at the airport, will they be running their fingers across their son’s name on a piece of cold granite, the way I have seen people do at the Vietnam memorial; tears pouring down their faces, their hearts forever broken? Will I?
I don’t understand why we can’t stop this when so many of us know its wrong.
In his current article, “Blood on Our Hands” Greg Mitchell covers up the collusion and crimes of the media that drench our hands in the blood of the victims the press creates.
This seems to be the policy of mainstream media in its current blacklisting of journalist Peter Brock, who dared to expose the unethical behavior of many of your colleagues and editors.
Peter Brock, a 30-year veteran and former Foreign Editor of the El Paso Herald, received 17 major journalism awards including runner up to the 1989 Pulitzer. He built a reputation for hard-hitting investigative reporting and for this he is being muzzled! NO ONE in the media will interview this journalist or review his book, “Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting … Journalism & Tragedy in Yugoslavia.”
Brock’s book exposes the lies, distortions, fabrications, omissions and collusion that deceived the world about the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo and attacks the 30 correspondents most responsible for the collusion. The fact that the media — on whose judgments governments made political decisions — allowed itself to be duped by propagandists, and that editors then refused to recant when their errors became obvious is the essence of Brock’s indictment. Little wonder his book is being muzzled.
As a war correspondent in Bosnia he reported the ugly transgressions of his colleagues as early as 1993 in an article entitled Dateline Yugoslavia, published in Defense & Foreign Affairs Magazine. He was roundly condemned by the media for telling the truth. Now, ten years later the ugly truth has come out that 350,000 were not killed in the Balkan Civil Wars, according to the “I did not have sex with that woman,” Bill Clinton. (the body count was recently reduced to about 90,000 on all sides according to Associated Press findings). Why did the media defend this pathological liar in the White House for ten years?
David Binder, former Balkan correspondent for the New York Times put his reputation on the line to write the forward to Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting and he has put his head on the chopping block by demanding the revocation of the Pulitzer from John Burns of the New York Times and Roy Gutman formally of Newsday for their unethical, and fabricated award winning stories or in Binder’s words: “… give Janet Cooke’s Pulitzer back.”
Gregory Copley, Editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs says it best on his back cover endorsement: “… for freedom to perish, all it takes is for the media to exempt itself from its ethical responsibility toward impartiality.”
I suggest that if Mr. Mitchell is going to beat up on those in government who lie, cheat and steal, that he first begin with your colleagues who seem to get away with collusion, fabrication, omission journalism.
Los Angeles, Calif.