To avoid service in the Army or Marine Corps during the Korean War, I volunteered for four years of service in the United States Air Force. Other than being in a bar fight from time to time, I was never in -- or even close to being in -- harms way. None of this really matters other than to say that I wondered then why our government took a four year chunk out of my life, and it is over fifty years later, that I still wonder.
The "Coalition of the Willing" (how about that for a name?), along with our service men and women, are other peoples' sons and daughters. They volunteered to protect and defend our country and our constitution. Is that what they have been doing? And, the war in Afghanistan has cost the coalition almost 1300 dead, and counting, and counting... Were we ever threatened by the country of Afghanistan?
It is sad that we still find ourselves in Afghanistan for most of this decade with no end in sight.
As a whining media person I have noted in the past that it is important to report on all of the events having anything to do with the life, times, and death of a popular singer, yet not report in any detail whatsoever on what our soldiers are trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan.
There was an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled: "The Tragedy of Michael Jackson." I jest that this was a very important story for the Journal to cover. I continue to admire them for their journalistic courage in these matters. The self-proclaimed King of Pop was nobody's victim. He was solely responsible for his life as well as his death.
Almost all of the radio and television outlets have dedicated countless hours to the unfolding of the Jackson story, his life, his career, his family, and of course the circumstances surrounding his death.
While I hope we are coming to the end of our national mourning for this entertainer I would like to comment about a minor issue that has affected our country for nearly eight years: the death of so many and the destruction of so much.
General Stanley McChrystal, is currently in the middle of a 60-day assessment of how to turn the Afghan war around. We are near the end of eight years of war and we are "assessing?" The Taliban and its allies are obviously growing stronger, and they have killed 35 U.S. troops in the first three weeks of July.
"We've seen the security for the Afghan people deteriorate over the last three years," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told troops during a visit to southern Afghanistan on July 17. "We have to start to turn that tide over the next 12 to 18 months." Even as Mullen was hoping for a year and a half to turn things around, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged on that same day that the U.S. public is war-weary and that progress must come quickly. "After the Iraq experience, nobody is prepared to have a long slog where it is not apparent we are making headway."
What follows is to and for those people who work at the broadcast networks and purport to be "journalists."
You guys did a great job incessantly covering the demise of Michael Jackson. He will still be dead as our boys and girls continue to be killed in our two horrid wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was/is more coverage on how Jackson died than the how and why our kids are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Many ask why I incessantly write about our wars and our television coverage, and I have no reasonable answer other than what is going on makes me nuts.
These wars continue to need to be reported on. Every single day. Tonight on the CBS Network news they reported on such hard news stories such as: Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Wall Street, health insurance, a car crash, a bicycle race, a high school, baseball hall of fame, and a technology story. A war? What war? Didn't anyone tell them that we are actually involved in two wars with our kids in harms way? If not, why not?
Broadcasters are required to serve in the public interest, convenience, and necessity. Is there anyone out there who thinks they are doing that?
Wanna see real journalism, at least most of the time? Read the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune.
Sadly, Howard Beale lives on US Cable and Broadcast Networks, but he is presently using names like Lou Dobbs, Katie Couric, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Bill O'Reilly, Larry King, and Others.
Bet each and every one of them considers themselves a journalist. Perhaps they are, but to me they are primarily entertainers pretending to be journalists.
Our President, and our Congress will sleep soundly in their beds tonight knowing that the managements of GE, Disney, CBS, Time Warner, and News Corp are sleeping soundly in theirs.
If only our kids who are in harms way could be sleeping soundly in theirs.