Maine Writer

Its about people and issues I care about.

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Location: Topsham, MAINE, United States

My blogs are dedicated to the issues I care about. Thank you to all who take the time to read something I've written.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fallen Heroes and Bob Schieffer

As I write from my Topsham, Maine home in the woods, I'm reading headlines in today's Portland (Maine) Press Herald reporting problems with clams and those who are "clammers". In other words, we aren't supposed to eat shellfish right now. There's nothing on the newspaper's front page about the War in Iraq or about the War on Terrorism. Nothing. Ditto on The New York Times webpage for June 11, 2001. Yet, if my memory serves me correctly, five Americans were killed yesterday (Friday) in Iraq by a roadside or suicide bomb. This traditional and ritual Iraqi killing is now commonplace; it's difficult for me to keep track of how people are actually killed. Except, there are lots of bombings in all kinds places with names I cannot pronounce.

Killings and bombing incidents in Iraq are sadly under reported by our "liberal" news media. Just listen between the lines from journalists reporting in Iraq and clearly hear the salient clues - this war in Iraq is going badly. Therefore, there is no good news to report. Even if the Iraq government wins the peace - even if that happens - I believe America has lost this war because the thousands of Americans and Iraqi lives lost were not worth the price of the victory.

There is one wistful TV-news item served up with appropriate sadness on the CBS Evening News with anchor Bob Schieffer called "Fallen Heroes" - a short vignette about a person who has died in Iraq. In this mayhem of underreporting the Iraq War, I say a short prayer each night after dinner and wait for the name of the Fallen Hero to be disclosed. It's a real person, an American soldier, who was either killed or died in some unexpected way as a result of the Iraq War. After Bob Shieffer gives a very short biography of the Fallen Hero, I say another prayer for the dead person's family. "Fallen Heroes" tell us what other news media cannot seem to get right - war is about people. Moreover, here they are. I dare you to meet them. See their faces and hear their stories By the way, Fallen Heroes names are listed with video feedback on the CBS News webpage. I dare you to check it out.

All Americans should read the names of our Fallen Heroes. In fact, I believe the Fallen Heroes webpage should receive more internet "hits" than any other website, anywhere. If Americans really care about the War in Iraq, we should demand to know what is happening there. We need to know why there are so many Fallen Heroes?

We must be reminded about how the number of American service men and women killed in Iraq and in Afghanistan will soon exceed the total number killed in the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001.

Some people who are against the War in Iraq claim the planning for this horrible conflict was a vindictive act by our US government and President. It was, they claim, a war already in the works before September 11, 2001. How handy it was to have the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as a smokescreen for a nifty oil claiming war against a country that should have been handled during the Operation Desert Storm operations of the early 1990s. Saddam Hussein should have been disposed of during Operation Desert Storm.

Americans would most likely have been heralded as heroes for liberating Iraq after Operation Desert Storm. Of that, I have no doubt. But, waiting over 10 years to finish the job, using the guise of a War on Terrorism when the perpetrator of the World Trade Center attack is still on the lamb, is just plain wrong.

I thank Bob Schieffer for sensitive and appropriate reporting of America's Fallen Heroes on CBS News. Of course, there aren’t enough newscasts to report everybody's name. Nevertheless, the intention of remembering our Fallen American Heroes is more than thoughtful. It's also news reporting at its best because "Fallen Heroes" describes a piercing human condition - that being, the very high cost of war. Moreover, it's a reminder about the futility of a war going badly.

Although I hope and pray for the freedom of the Iraqi people, I also know there was a time when all our Fallen Heroes were alive and the Iraqi people didn't seem to be any worse off then they are today. Rather, Iraqi people live on the edge of civil war and daily terrorism attacks by insurgents. The perpetrator of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center is still on the lamb.

To all the families of our wonderful Fallen Heroes - please accept my sincere condolences. I wish The Portland Press Herald and The New York Times were as responsible and sensitive as Bob Shieffer in reporting our Fallen Heroes, daily.