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Honoring Our Military



With our service men and women putting their lives on the line day in and day out for our country, it can be easy to take what they do for us, for granted. It is a shame really. I feel that we live in dangerous times and at any moment, like September 11, 2001, our lives can be changed forever. Some of you may feel the same way. It is important to remember our military men and women who have, so graciously put their lives on the line to protect America.

It saddens me to hear our elected officials denigrate these fine people by politically motivated comments that seem as if they come from nowhere like a drive by shooting, or a homicide bomber. Sen. John Kerry told us that if we were stupid, we would get stuck in Iraq. Sen. Dick Durbin compared our troops to nazis and communists. These kinds of comments cast a cloud over the armed forces that the soldiers do not deserve and no politician should be allowed to prepare themselves for re-election by speaking badly of them.

With the war on terror’s main front in Iraq, it is easy to forget about other troops who work and fight elsewhere to provide the blanket of security we all pull close. Our military is engaged in thousands of missions around the globe that keep America safe and help out those in need. I recently read an article about a squadron of American troops that is currently in Nicaragua, building medical and educational facilities for the people there.


“Almost 250 U.S. military members, under the lead of the 820th Expeditionary Red Horse Squadron out of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., in conjunction with the Nicaraguan government, are scheduled to build a two-room schoolhouse in San Martin de la Calera and a five-room medical clinic in Buena Vista. They will also provide free medical care during three scheduled Medical Readiness Training Exercises and will donated a water well the 820th ERHS members built for Camp Red Horse to the town after the exercise.”

“Camp Red Horse Commander Lt. Col. Aaron Young praised the Nicaraguans’ hospitality and commended the Airmen’s, Soldiers’ and Marines’ hard work that has already poured into the community since Feb. 5. He closed out with expressing his expectations of his team – nothing less than excellence.”

“We’re making a huge impact,” he said. “For Red Horse, that’s our business, we do full-up construction. Once we leave Nicaragua, we’ll definitely impact the community and leave permanent structures that will benefit them for many years to come. Everybody is proud of being able to contribute and work together.”

These are the kind of stories that our media should present to the American people alongside those daily, if not hourly reports from Iraq. Without these kind of stories, one would almost think the media in this country had an agenda. I salute the 820th Red Horse squadron and all of the troops who are under it’s command. You all do so much that America can be proud of and we are. Thank you.


20 Responses

  1. Thanks for you beautiful work!

    John E. Carey


  2. Something like this is the least I could do! Thanks for your writings as well!

  3. Thank you for the comments on New Horizons!

  4. Are you saying these stories are not presented by major news outlets? Have you looked?

  5. Actually, what Sen. Kerry said was that if students didn’t study, and got by only on “gentleman Cs,” they could get elected president and get the nation stuck in Iraq. Had he not muffed the delivery of the line it would be even funnier, since Kerry himself got such grades until after his Vietnam service, and law school.

  6. I agree it’s a decent story, but I first heard it on a national news program, in broadcast. I note that there isn’t much coverage of the story in print, and that’s directly attributable to George Bush’s snubbing the U.S. press while he toured Latin America (you can see a story about it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/world/americas/15notebook.html). Clearly Bush didn’t sell the story, nor has the Pentagon done much.

    Heck, it looks to me as if the hometown paper for these patriots has not covered it, either — ineffective press relations.

    I’m curious how you found the story — can you tell?

  7. Which national news program did you hear about this? Are you really serious when you say that no one covered this story because Bush didn’t want to talk about Chavez while on his Latin America visits? The Old Grey Lady’s story sound more like a baby whining when they don’t get something they want more than an actual news report. It also has nothing to do with the New Horizons story, Bush wasn’t on this trip to sell the New Horizons story. Neither Bush, nor the Pentagon should have to sell this story, the New Horizons humanitarian program has been in existence since the mid 80’s and new projects happen every year. You blame it on ineffective press relations, yeah the media doesn’t want to portray our heroes in a good light do they? I’m still chuckling that you said the poor media coverage is “directly attributable to George Bush’s snubbing the U.S. press”. At least I love to laugh. I found the story because I follow the humanitarian efforts of our country. What national news broadcast did you see this on again?

  8. I heard it on NPR; for example, here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7859085

    NPR covers this sort of stuff all the time, but of course, people who are allergic to news and factual treatments of issues tend to avoid that venue. Didn’t you hear the story there?

    I said that the story was not covered by the traveling press because Bush and the Pentagon didn’t push it. Chavez has nothing to do with that. Especially from the White House, and this White House, the press corps covers what the Bush people want. I was particularly struck by the notes that Bush’s press office failed to provide any briefings on several of the stops along the tour, appearing to be caused by Tony Snow’s having to get something to eat, and then being waylaid by the great food (that’s what the articles say; Snow didn’t show for the press briefings scheduled). Bush’s office rarely pushes the good work of the military, generally taking every opportunity to snipe at veterans, especially veterans of Vietnam. It seems wholly in character for them to fail to push this story even when they had a captive audience.

    And then, of course, there is the Pentagon. They have a press release on this stuff, but they don’t even bother to sell it to the hometown paper of the military unit. The Las Vegas papers eat this sort of stuff up. The Pentagon, with a world-wide WATS line, can’t be bothered to call the city desk of two newspapers in Las Vegas?

    I agree it’s a good story. But you present no evidence of bias by the news organizations, so I find your remarks about them to be wide of the mark.

    But what do I know — I’ve only been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists for 33 years, having spent well over a decade flacking exactly this sort of story for various government agencies, with success. Your experience detecting bias from unreported news may be far superior to mine. I have no divining rods to find such stuff.

  9. I am going to go ahead and say it this way, you didn’t hear the story I posted about New Horizons on an NPR national broadcast. There may have been a show on your local station that is a NPR affiliated station, where the local hosts mentioned it. A search on the NPR site for the terms humanitarian, New Horizons, Nellis, Air Force, Red Horse, 820th, military and, Nicaragua came up with absolutely no mention of the of the New Horizons project in Nicaragua. The NPR site allows for searches of all of their broadcast programs all the way back to 1996, which leads me into your next point.

    Searches through NPR’s archives reveal reports that mention some humanitarian problems and some humanitarian efforts done mostly by private entities. I wouldn’t say that the results justify your statement “NPR covers this sort of stuff all the time”. Regarding NPR, your statement “ people who are allergic to news and factual treatments of issues tend to avoid that venue” of course is your opinion and quite a juvenile one for someone who has “been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists for 33 years”. I listen to NPR everyday, I think the issues they do cover are presented in a way where both sides of an issue get the same amount of air time. It’s what they don’t cover that I take issue with. No I did not hear the story on NPR’s national broadcast, not because I don’t listen, but because they didn’t do it. Your link to an NPR story had nothing to do with the original post I made on this page. You are trying to argue a completely different story.

    I thought journalists sought out stories instead of waiting for someone to call their office with a press release, that every other news desk in the country is going to see as well. Bush and the Pentagon didn’t push the New Horizons story because, like I said before, New Horizons was not the story. Of course Chavez has nothing to do with Bush and the Pentagon not pushing a story that wasn’t even the story. But Chavez did have everything to do with the New York Times link you posted in your original comment. Well at least the reporters along on the trip thought that Chavez had everything to do with it. Last time I checked, the people who make up the White House Press corps are their own persons, they can write or go after the stories they want to go after. If the White House only releases stories that they want, then the Press corps should go after what they want. Maybe the “wait for the press release” mentality has weakened journalism. Saying, “Bush’s office rarely pushes the good work of the military, generally taking every opportunity to snipe at veterans, especially veterans of Vietnam.” you are presenting your opinion and your opinion is speculation.

    If the Las Vegas papers truthfully ate this stuff up, they would have sniffed this story out on their own. The journalists would have left their desks and been on top of the Nellis spokesperson about it. Waiting around for a press release seems like a lazy way to report.

    Again, I never said there was bias, I stated that the media should report on some things that they do not report on. And you explained the reason to me. The journalists are sitting around at the news desk waiting for someone to send them a release. Thank you for clearing that up. Also being a member of the Society of Professional Journalists for 33 years, I would think that you may have done a little more research on my post before blaming everyone else in the world but journalists who are waiting at their desks. The 820th Red Horse Squadron is headquartered at Nellis AFB, but soldiers from different branches of the military from all over attach on to this squadron for the New Horizons program. The story from the Redfield Press in Redfield, SD tells how soldiers from the South Dakota Army national guard are doing their part.

    As I step back and look at what my post has prompted you to write, it is my opinion that what really stirred you up was my saying that the media should be doing a better job of of producing stories like the New Horizons story. You have taken the stance that the media isn’t at fault, blame Bush, that’s fine at least we know exactly where you are coming from. In fairness, Bush needs to be left alone at least for a few more months, he is too busy planning, hurricanes, fires, mudslides, thunderstorms, deforestation, at least two oil spills and, if I am not mistaken, he is making sure that a few under privileged neighborhoods suffer from government distributed STD. Now there is a story, maybe people won’t wait for it to be dropped in their laps.

  10. No, what got my dander up was your unwarranted and incorrect claim that the media have “an agenda” and that it somehow included ignoring the great efforts of U.S. servicemen who do service to others in other nations. It’s not necessary to slap at the messenger in order to compliment the military, but you did anyway. And now that I check it, I see NPR’s story was on yet another military group doing similar work in Guatemala — an enterprise piece that the Bush folks also didn’t flack.

    It’s not anyones fault that the story isn’t known better, except, perhaps, those who know about it and say nothing. That would be the Bush folks, who failed to even attend the press briefing in the country where the military folks were knocking themselves out to make America look good, but it wouldn’t be the press people, who covered such stories when they found them.

    Our nation’s errors in foreign policy belong to Bush almost alone, since January 20, 2001. We don’t even have a campaigning newspaper saying “America! How do you like your war?” as we did in 1898.

    Your unnecessary snipes at decorated war heroes, and journalists, who put their lives on the line daily, take away from an otherwise commendable attempt to put the spotlight on other Americans doing well. In the credit business, the pie grows whenever credit is given. It’s not necessary to slam a war hero like John Kerry in order to compliment someone else.

    Keep listening to NPR. There’s hope.

  11. Good! The media does ignore does ignore the good that our troops do. I have friends and family members doing tour after tour in Iraq or Afghanistan and they all come back with good stories of the positive work that is being done in both locales. I sure haven’t heard about it elsewhere and we have already covered the NPR issue of non-coverage of our servicemen on humanitarian missions, even though you tried to provide an NPR story that wasn’t even close.

    I wasn’t sniping at only a decorated war veteran, I was sniping at a United States Senator who has taken it upon himself to use our troops and our current situation in the war on terror, to play politics instead of using his decorated status to keep the troops spirits high. Kerry may be a war hero to some, but he denigrates the honor while undermining our current war heroes.

    While I listen to NPR, I do not get the whole story and there really is no hope in that.

  12. Your charge was the media intentionally failed to print a good story. As I pointed out, the media dug out a good story despite the White House’s failure to pass it along to the media.

    It wasn’t the story you wanted — too bad. Your point still fails.

    There is no single source to get the “whole” story, but NPR is better than any conservative leaning outlet, and better than the liberal press that conservatives love to bash, but which continuously does yeoman reporting that no conservative outlet gets (how many correspondents does the Washington Times actually have in war zones right now, compared to the NY Times, or the Washington Post, or the LA Times, or the Chicago Tribune?)

    If you want to laud the troops, laud the troops. Don’t dishonor the troops by turning a laudatory post for them into an unwarranted and unfair jab at reporters, who die in much higher percentages than the troops themselves do, to get the story.

    True bravery does not require insults to others to shine. Don’t tarnish the story.

  13. I never said or charged the media “intentionally failed to print a good story” You made that up. What I said was,

    “These are the kind of stories that our media should present to the American people alongside those daily, if not hourly reports from Iraq. Without these kind of stories, one would almost think the media in this country had an agenda.”

    I simply made a recommendation that the media focus a little more on the humanitarian efforts by our military along with our noble servicemen who are fighting to win the war on terror. By saying that a person may think the media had an agenda simply raises the question that there is one.

    My point only fails if you can prove to have failed by arguing my actual point not making up something that I did not say.

    It is not about how many reporters are in a war zone, it’s about how accurate the story is that they are submitting.

    It is sad that you are telling me that I dishonor the troops by raising questions about the way reporters report news stories. In fact it is an insult to the troops to be compared to the likes of a journalist, a journalist who spends his time at the news desk waiting for a story to be dropped in his lap.

    Your argument might hold more water if the Democrat Party succeeds in quitting the war on terror with it’s cut and run policy. It might hold more water when liberal policy brings the war to our streets, malls, churches and, homes.

    Once again, I need for you to provide a source for your comments that provide evidence and proof to back up the statement “unfair jab at reporters, who die in much higher percentages than the troops themselves do, to get the story.”.

    Do you want America to fail in the War on Terror?

    Do you want to hand Iraq over to Al Qaida?

  14. No, I don’t want to hand Iraq over to al Quaeda, and I wish Bush would stop doing it. Do you want Bush to succeed in handing it over?

  15. In what way is Bush handing Iraq over to al Qaida? Is it the way he is standing strong and not backing down no matter how many liberals try to undermine him and our military? I don’t know why I even ask, you won’t answer.

    Bush is not handing over Iraq to al Qaida, so I don’t think he will succeed in doing so.

    I notice you didn’t answer my first question. It really is not a hard one.

    Do you Ed Darrell, want the United States of America to fail in the War on Terror?

  16. I want the U.S. to stop failing in the war on terror, to abandon Bush’s policies which are handing greater Arabia to al Quaeda on a platter. Since you think Bush’s failing policies are “standing strong,” I suppose you’ll find another way to say I’m avoiding answering your questions.

    The question is, why do you want the U.S. to fail? One of the first rules of management is, when things aren’t working, change what you’re doing. “Standing strong” is the road to failure. We need to change what we’re doing, because what we’re doing is not working, and is counterproductive.

    The “surge,” four years late, is probably too late to make a difference.

  17. More and more people are starting to tell of how Bush’s policies are working. Why are you and all the other liberals so afraid of America being successful?

    I have made it abundantly clear about my position on America’s success in the War on Terror.

    It appears that a 30 year membership in the Society of Professional Journalists has given you a foresight in strategic military planning so I ask, what would you do different in the War on Terror?

    Opening up trade does not count, we have been down that path and you neglected to answer any questions about it, so let’s not go down that road again.

    I also have to ask this, Is the general groupthink in liberal circles that the War on Terror ends when the security detail in Iraq ends?

  18. We hope something works in Iraq. There is no sign of that yet. Deaths are down one week, up the next. Yesterday in Iraq thousands of Iraqis — the non-insurgents, the ones on our side — demonstrated for the U.S. to leave Iraq. ‘

    Is it the general groupthink in unthinking conservative circles that Iraq had anything to do with the “war on terrorism?” Are you still laboring under the voodoo history idea that Iraq had anything to do with the attack on the U.S. in September 2001?

    Why is it you think that the policies that have failed for four consecutive years will suddenly start to succeed?

  19. The Iraqis who displayed anti-American sentiment were those who are following the lead of ireconcilable muslim terrorist Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Who said Iraq had anything to do with the 9/11? Did you read that here? We here in the thinking conservative circles haven’t mentioned it.

    I see that you refer to the War on Terrorism in quotes, is that because you do not believe it is something that exists?

    I don’t think the policies have failed for the last four years, I think the undermining of our troops by the liberals in this country has made the fight that much tougher. I think the speech in this country by our elected liberals and speech of liberals who support them has given terrorists support and resolve. I think that giving a timeframe to pull out helps terrorists.


    It appears that a 30 year membership in the Society of Professional Journalists has given you a foresight in strategic military planning so I ask, what would you do different in the War on Terror? (remember that trade doesn’t count because you won’t answer my other question)

    Is the general groupthink in liberal circles that the War on Terror ends when the security detail in Iraq ends?

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