Saturday, October 15, 2005

Something to Think About

The Bush administration has been receiving flak from the media for what has been described as a well scripted but poorly rehearsed question & answer session with American troops serving in Iraq. If you didn't see the nationally televised broadcast of the session, and you've missed the soundbytes on the radio, and you've missed the quotes in newspapers and on the Internet -- well, crawl out of the hole that you're in and let me tell you -- it definitely was well scripted and poorly rehearsed.

If you ever spent any time serving in the United States military, you probably aren't surprised by any of this. In the military, everything high profile is very well choreographed. Having served eight years myself, I'm not at all surprised that the troops were provided with the questions and coached on the answers in advance. Everything in the military is all about training and practice and preparation for the purpose of preventing unexpected situations.

The military spends more time rehearsing for such events as retirements, funerals, and awards ceremonies than they do actually performing them. They expend more rounds of ammunition in training and qualification than they ever will in combat. Much more than the Boy Scouts ever dreamed, the mission of the military is to be prepared.

They clearly were prepared in this case for all of the President's questions. Their answers were respectful, professional, and well-executed. For their preparedness and performance, they should be commended.

But consider one thing: these troops were probably selected for their patriotism, professionalism, and high level of dedication to their country and their Commander In Chief. Have you ever been in a position where you had such a high level of dedication and devotion to a person, place, or thing that you would risk your very life for people with whom you've never met and don't even share a common language. In most cases, I would guess not. If you've never stood on a military parade field as a proud member of America's armed forces, then you probably don't understand that the responses those soldiers gave to their Commander In Chief would have sounded respectful, professional, and well-executed even if they had been ad libbed.

The media doesn't understand it. Most Americans don't understand it. But those soldiers understand it completely. And our media today is taking one of the proudest moments of their lives -- the day they actually had a person-to-person conversation with their Commander In Chief -- and is trying to make it a mockery.

Just a little something for you to think about.


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