This is from an Army Chaplain written Sept. 16, 2004. Please read this and share it with as many people as you can. Our men and boys, women and girls, all are not given the credit they deserve. God works in mysterious ways. Continue to pray for His guidance, and the safe return of those serving there and in Afghanistan and other areas where terrorists threaten freedom.
<< It is always refreshing to get another view of what is happening so far away. I know God is with them but this from the Chaplain solidifies that fact.
Letter from an Army Chaplain in Iraq:
Dear Friends and Family:
I am addressing this letter to you to express a frustration that I know has been voiced time and again, yet is met with little change. It concerns the media coverage of this war and the effect of that coverage on the morale of our troops. As a battalion chaplain I hear the comments and complaints of soldiers who, while performing an incredibly difficult job under hostile and stressful conditions, constantly see their efforts portrayed as futile. NBC's coverage this morning (your Thursday evening, 16 September 2004) is a prime example that I believe shows the gulf that exists between the truth of what is happening here and the deceitful agenda of the mainstream media at home and abroad.
Only 24 hours ago the NBC media crew arrived here and filmed hours of footage with our unit. They were told of numerous projects in which our unit is involved, not only in the area of force protection and Troop Medical Clinic support, but also in humanitarian aide to a local village here in Baghdad. Here is an example of some of the projects to which they were introduced:
1. The reconstruction and furnishing of a clinic
2. Miscellaneous enhancements for a local elementary school and a local day care center
3. Reconstruction of the decimated electrical, sewer and water systems
4. Reparation of exterior walls and gates surrounding the village
5. Rubble and garbage removal projects to cleanup the entire village
6. Construction of a protective chain link fence around the local Shi'a Mosque
7. Studies to examine the development of agricultural systems and a garment industry to help the locals provide for themselves
8. The ever-growing clothing and school supplies drive for the children of the village
In the roughly one minute clip that they drew from their day of filming, what did they show? The First Lieutenant who is the primary driver of these projects was shown with one quote about never believing he would be in Iraq, being a National Guard soldier. This was followed by their interview of another soldier's wife, saying her husband was supposed to have retired this summer, that his responsibility to the military should be over and that he should be home. They showed NOTHING of the great humanitarian efforts that are going on here!
It is coverage like this that is convincing more and more soldiers that the consistent media agenda is to show you, the American people, the futility of our current efforts and how everything is going wrong. There is no apparent attempt to show all the good that is happening that, for those of us who are here, far outweighs the very weak, though spectacular, moments of insurgency. And we see it via satellite, just as you do. In a day of great violence across the country, last Sunday, where the insurgency failed to take one American life, what one film clip was shown over and over? They showed the lone burning Bradley fighting vehicle, with Iraqis dancing on and around it, waving flags of the insurgency. Out of the thousands of troops who made it safely around Baghdad and the country that day, the media focused on one piece of impressive footage and repeated it over and over until the viewer receives the message that this is all that went on in Iraq today -- an insurgent victory. I also remember how the body count, for two days thereafter, was printed in ever-increasing increments, never mentioning who the casualties were --giving the impression that they were American casualties.
The despair and depression, as well as the thankfully limited antiwar sentiment, over our country's efforts in Iraq are not based upon all of the facts. They are rather based on what the media has chosen to show -- and what they have chosen NOT to show. The media knows that they can always find those willing to complain, grouse, protest and disagree. And they splash those voices all over their screens and pages, drowning out the voices that will tell you, as I am, that there is good going on here.
There are things going on here you would be proud of, things that would bring tears to your eyes; like the looks of parents whose children are going to school for the first time in years, equipped with pencils, pens and paper and clothed with clean new clothes. There are essential services being provided to people to whom they were denied under the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein.
There is a trial going on for that man and at least eleven of his evil cronies who, let us remember, killed over 300,000 people under the watchful eye of the Untied Nations (pun intended) during the 12 years they had responsibility for the health and welfare of this nation (yes, the same, inept organization that is currently ignoring the Darfur, Sudan slaughter of Christians by Islamic fundamentalists). This was the same time that the oil-for-food program monies were being used to line the pockets of Saddam and his friends and build luxurious palaces like the ones our forces now occupy as headquarters allover this nation. And Saddam all the while complained that it was "American Sanctions" that were killing his people. I don't remember a sanction that required a
Please know that the media is NOT giving you the right picture, much less the WHOLE picture. They have an agenda, it is clear, and that agenda does not include the current administration claiming success in this endeavor. It is unclear if their sensationalist "reporting" will change if the administration changes. The one thing I know as I watch the morale of the men who are here doing the job is that every time the enemy's paltry attacks are made out by the media to be marker events in Iraq, it becomes a little harder for soldiers to see value in even the greatest things we are doing. Your care packages, your letters and your constant prayers are the only things that remind us that the majority of thoughtful Americans are truly behind this effort and that what we are doing has great value. Don't let that go. Keep supporting your troops, not just in word, but in action. Remember this: You cannot support the troops AND denigrate the war effort. It is a logical and a practical inconsistency. While the soldier fights the enemy, he needs those behind him to offer support to his back, not daggers. The news media is one of the greatest threats to this war. Just ask a terrorist. Every time he can do something desperate and spectacular and have the effect with one man blowing himself up in a crowd that an entire U.S. Brigade has in securing a city, the media has thrown terror the victory. It is not the side that wins the most ground any more that is victorious, but the one that can satiate the blood-hungry media. We have given them the stories they need to show how much we are truly doing. The question then must turn to why they have a fascination with making the villain the victor. If we win this war, it may not be much of a story for them, but if we lose
Your troops are doing amazing things here -- things many of the mare not even trained to do, like a medical platoon leader doing public works projects! I hope that either the media start showing the REAL stories here or that you will show your contempt of their deceitfulness with your complaints and,
ultimately, with your vote. Don't watch the news media that thrive son the death of American soldiers to bump their ratings! And remember your troops. Support of victory is support of your troops.
Sincerely, CH (CPT) Chris Bassett Baghdad, Iraq