Friday, December 17, 2004

Lip Service for the Folks in the Service

Mark Hyman has a good idea. No, that’s not a typo--he really does. In his latest commentary, he points viewers to the website, a site that helps folks here at home send letters and care packages to men and women in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a good idea, and one that anybody, regardless of their position on the preemptive invasion of Iraq or the manner in which the war is being carried out, can get behind.

But it makes us wonder: why is it that Hyman and his friends at Sinclair only speak on behalf of the troops when it serves their political purposes? Why do they attempt to bask in the reflected glory of the men and women on the ground, yet refused to honor those who had paid the ultimate price by barring their stations from carrying an edition of Nightline that simply and movingly honored those who have given the last full measure on behalf of their country? Moreover, why does Hyman insist on labeling anyone who doesn’t voice full-throated support for the war in Iraq a “friend of the terrorists” or someone who “hates our troops” (as he’s said of Ted Koppel on numerous occasions simply because the respected newsman thought it was about time those who’ve been killed in Iraq received the honor and recognition they deserve)? And why is it traitorous to point out ways in which Washington policy makers have let down our troops?

This seems a particularly odd position for an arch conservative like Hyman to take. After all, one of the cornerstones of conservatism is a healthy skepticism of the federal government. Conservatives warn us all the time that decision makers in Washington are out of touch with the lives of those whom their decisions affect. But for some reason, when it comes to the most important and awesome decision the government can make, sending our young men and women into harm’s way, we’re just supposed to go along with whatever those in power say and give them unquestioned support (or at least keep our mouths shut). This doesn’t make sense.

This is particularly true given the current war in Iraq. There’s evidence aplenty that the bigwigs at the Pentagon and White House have little understanding of the situation on the ground and are putting their own political needs ahead of those of the troops. Rumsfeld’s cluelessness concerning the lack of armor for Humvees is only one example. We now know that despite being told it would take at least 250,000 soldiers to effectively secure Iraq, only half that were sent by Rumsfeld and Co., assuring the insurgency that’s now killing our troops on a daily basis. Children of Republican insiders get jobs “rebuilding” Iraq despite having no experience, assuring the lack of progress in putting Iraq back together (and again assuring that there will be plenty of disgruntled Iraqis to swell the ranks of the insurgents).

Even the website Hyman directs viewers to reveals problems. Not only are soldiers requesting home cooked goodies, music cds, and books (the stuff you’d expect soldiers to ask for). They’re also asking for things like soap, towels, flashlights, t-shirts, and other items that they should be supplied with. Most ominiously, an LA-based police gear surplus supplier is one of the sponsoring links of, and touts their supply of items like body armor and pepper spray as things that can be sent to troops in the field.

This was a war that was planned for months and months in advance. The number of troops involved is miniscule compared to World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. We live in the richest nation in the history of the world. Yet our men and women are still reduced to begging folks back home to supply them with basic necessities. And people like Hyman have the gall to suggest anyone who criticizes the war effort “hates our troops”? Shame, Mark, shame.

So send soldiers a letter, card, or even some body armor. Whether you think the war is a good idea or not, the soldiers deserve support, the kind of support their own Secretary of Defense and President aren’t giving them. But also keep criticizing those who are making the decisions that put our soldiers on the ground but don’t give them what they need to win. Point out those who use “supporting the troops” as political cover for themselves, but don’t follow through when it counts. And stay educated on what’s really going on. Soldiers for the is a site sponsored in part by David Hackworth, America’s most decorated living veteran, and Operation Truth was started by a vet of the current Iraq war. They offer a true soldier’s eye view of what’s going on and the many ways the administration and Pentagon are falling short in their duties to our men and women in uniform. But of course, I’m sure Hyman would say that soldiers on the ground who voice complaints about what’s going on, just like everyone who voices the least bit of dissent, are just doing so because they “hate our troops.”

And that’s The Counterpoint.


At 6:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Hyman is an Anti-american, Bush Pimp who will play politics over the lives of our young men & women in Iraq. For him narrow financial interest rules over the life of our soldiers. This Iraq war is illegal, immoral and completely mislead. Our troops were sent to harms way for personal interest and benefit of select few like Mr. Hyman,

I guess this is the Moral Value Mr. Hyman and his Republican party represents.

I commend the author of this blog site. Until we stand up strongly to mean minded political pimps like Mr. Hyman our country is destined to be doomed.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger iowadeaniac said...

To find out about how to take action locally to STOP SINLAIR, see today's post(Keep Corporate Bias off Local News: Take Back the Media from Sinclair Broadcasting) on


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