Sgt. Ron Long who like to occasionally post in all caps when he wants to make a point, says that everything that you have seen and heard about My Photo-Op with the President (AKA Hey Mister, That’s Me Up On The Teleconference Screen) is wrong, wrong, wrong and he is just sick to his tummy that the media isn’t telling everyone that he is too winning the war and he’s not going to let the media lose this war like they lost Viet Nam and dammit he works his fingers to the bone to give us freedom of speech and then we go and use it and all he ends up with is boney fingers…or something like that.
Yesterday, I (bottom right corner in the picture) was chosen to be among a small group of soldiers assigned to the 42ID’s Task Force Liberty that would speak to President Bush, our Commander-in-Chief. The interview went well, but I would like to respond to what most of the mass-media has dubbed as, “A Staged Event.”
First of all, we were told that we would be speaking with the President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, so I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us NOT to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President.
We were given an idea as to what topics he may discuss with us, but it’s the President of the United States; He will choose which way his conversation with us may go.
We practiced passing the microphone around to one another, so we wouldn’t choke someone on live TV. We had an idea as to who we thought should answer what types of questions, unless President Bush called on one of us specifically.
President Bush told us, during his closing, that the American people were behind us. I know that we are fighting here, not only to preserve our own freedoms, but to establish those same freedoms for the people of Iraq. It makes my stomach ache to think that we are helping to preserve free speech in the US, while the media uses that freedom to try to RIP DOWN the President and our morale, as US Soldiers. They seem to be enjoying the fact that they are tearing the country apart. Worthless!
The question I was most asked while I was home on leave in June was, “So…What’s REALLY going on over there?” Does that not tell you something?! Who has confidence in the media to tell the WHOLE STORY? It’s like they WANT this to turn into another Vietnam. I hate to break it to them, but it’s not.
Is it possible that, maybe once, someone representing the pro-war side could refrain from reminding us that someone somewhere, or someone in the past, died/is fighting for/respects our right to dissent? Yeah. We get it. We’ve heard.
We know it’s meant as a dismissive note that is supposed to cow us into a red, white, and blue shame for even supposing that we can have any opinion that doesn’t come from Ken Mehlman, and yet it’s not terribly germane to the issue at hand of the unilateral invasion of another country for trumped-up reasons as well as the side order of killing the colorful indigenous people found within. The fact that we did so with no exit plan and a resulting American death toll that doesn’t appear to be running in our teams favor seems to be out of bounds too. We truly hate to bring it up but it is the flag-draped coffin sitting in the middle of the living room and we’re expecting company.
Meanwhile Sgt. Long fails to note that one of the Potemkin Patriots who also had to practice passing the mike (something not covered in basic) defends our freedom to say what we want by taking reporters out to lunch which is where Freedom of the Press meets Free Meals for the Press.
Freedom isn’t cheap and it requires eternal vigilance…and a 15% gratuity if the service is good.