Posted by Wordsmith on 15 March, 2007 at 1:26 am. 1 comment.


airforcewife has been a reader and friend since sometime last year. She not only leaves great comments, but she is a good writer (her blog is no longer active, but she still writes by contributing to SpouseBuzz). Witty, perceptive, knowledgeable, and a good representative of military family life. So it was infuriating to learn about her recent experience as a guest on a taping for the Montel Williams Show. Apparently, the Montel Williams Show invited airforcewife and 24 others to participate in what was misrepresented to them as a program that would examine the effects of deployments upon military families. What it turned out to be, was an ambush.

As soon as the opening tape began to roll, hubby and I were uncomfortable. Montel was using this episode to discuss the debilitating illnesses some military members have suffered from anthrax inoculations. Using footage with the flag and men in uniform, Montel referred several times to military members being "guinea pigs", repeated several times about the mandatory vaccine which he presented as going to everyone with no one being able to refuse it.

Which is a deliberate lie; or agenda-driven ignorance.

while the issue of the anthrax vaccine is a very real one and one that needs to be addressed further, Montel Williams chose to use this subject to ambush a military group (which included women whose husbands were currently deployed to Iraq). The sudden ambushing of such an emotionally charged subject, combined with the portrayal of our military members as total victims (which included Montel’s assertion that the military was being treated so terribly that no one would volunteer again and the draft would have to be reinstated) was an emotional manipulation and degradation of the very military members that were supposedly being lifted up. The blatant emotional manipulation and doomsday scenarios implied by the footage shown reduced more than one attending wife to tears.

Like Amy Proctor and others have experienced before, airforcewife and the other military family members found that their ability to voice their opinions was stifled and suppressed. Cheri Jacobus writes on Amy’s blog entry,

As a guest on the Montel Show, I was surprised when watching it to see they had edited out more than half of my comments — most of which were pretty significant and made good points in rebuttal to Montel. The show that aired had little resemblance to what actually transpired during the taping.

Having been caught off guard, and inadequately prepared to counter-argue, it was a despicable, disrespectful treatment of military families. A betrayal of trust. One that is all too commonly felt, causing many involved with the military to feel suspicious of those in the media.

Ever since Vietnam, there has seemed to be a strong anti-war current running through the mainstream media. They profess to "support the troops". But their idea of support is to portray those in the military as "victims".

When ABC Nightline wants to televise photos of the war dead or when there is an outcry by journalists wanting to take pictures of flag-draped coffins, their intention isn’t to "honor" the fallen; their intention is to make a statement: "Look at how awful war is." The manner in which stories about our military are often portrayed in the media, is designed to take the fight out of us; to extinguish America’s support to sustain the costs and the sacrifices that are inherent in any armed conflict. It is why a gold star mom such as Cindy Sheehan is pushed into the media limelight, as "Mother Sheehan", while the voices of other gold star parents, such as Mark Crowley and Debra Argel Bastien who are pro-Bush and pro-victory, are all but ignored. It is the victims and the whistleblowers who are given the spotlight; the conscientious objectors and deserters who are hailed as heroes; not the medal of honor recipients; not the actual heroes of this war who believed in what they fought and died for.

This mentality among those on the anti-war left, crystallized itself to me a month ago, when a liberal friend of mine in NYC repeatedly made phone calls and sent me an e-mail, trying to talk me out of joining the military. She is an occupational therapist, and had applied to Walter Reed. She definitely is someone who I would say is against the war, but supports the troops. Yet, I would also add that she does not understand the stakes and does not understand the heart and mind of warriors. She gave it away in her letter. Her whole argument against me enlisting centered upon trying to scare me about disfigurement, amputations, permanent injuries, etc. And then she said how Marines at Walter Reed still wanted to return to the battlefield and she could not understand why……she could not understand why. And that is her problem, right there; and the problem of many in the media who seek to project the status of victimhood upon the troops, always referring to them as "children". My friend even called me up, excitedly, alerting me to the Bob Woodruff’s ABC special that was airing in a few hours. She felt that the focus on traumatic brain injury would dissuade me from military service. Just the opposite effect occurred. Like the media, she just doesn’t get it.

 Thomas Sowell wrote a brilliant article, published this week. As usual, he is perceptive and cuts through the fog. Here is his genius, in full:

By Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The front cover of Newsweek’s March 5th issue featured a woman with amputated legs and a sweatshirt that said "ARMY" across the front. Inside, there were pages and pages of other pictures of badly wounded and disfigured military veterans, in a long article that began under the big headline: "Forgotten Heroes."

The utter hypocrisy of all this can be seen in the word "heroes." There have been many acts of heroism among our troops in Iraq — but those heroes didn’t make the front cover of Newsweek.

One man fell on a grenade to protect his buddies, smothering the fatal blast with his body, so that those around him might live when he died. But that never made the front cover of Newsweek. It was barely mentioned anywhere in the liberal media.

They are not interested in heroes. They are interested in depicting victims — in the military as in civilian society.

The Newsweek hypocrisy is not unique. It has been the rule, not the exception, as much of the mainstream media has devoted itself to filtering and spinning the news out of Iraq.

Parading casualties is called "honoring our troops." But what does it mean to honor someone? When we gather at a memorial service to honor someone in death or at a ceremony to award prizes to them while they are alive, what do we do?

We talk about the good things they have done, their endeavors and their achievements. We don’t call simply pointing out that someone is dead "honoring" them. Nor is simply pointing out that someone is dismembered or disfigured "honoring" them.

Talk about "supporting the troops" or "honoring the dead" is part of the general corruption of language for political purposes. It is like saying "I take full responsibility," when all that this phrase really means is: "You have caught me red-handed and there is no way to deny it, so I will just use these words to try to dissipate your anger and escape punishment."

After generations of dumbed-down education in our schools, perhaps it is inevitable that there would be large numbers of people who have no way of separating rhetoric from reality.

 The reality is that many of those in the media and in politics who are constantly talking about "supporting our troops" or "honoring our troops" have for years been in the forefront of those criticizing or undermining the military, long before the Iraq war.

During the early stages of that war, men fighting for their lives were criticized for not protecting the contents of an Iraqi museum.

Unsubstantiated charges against American military personnel create instant front-page news stories in the New York Times. But innumerable things that our troops have done that would make us proud are not likely to be reported at all.

It was front-page news in the March 4th New York Times when a young soldier said goodbye to her father before heading off to Iraq. It was front-page news in the New York Times when some reservists had financial problems when they had to leave their civilian jobs after being called to active duty in Iraq.

Anything negative, no matter how commonplace, can make the front page of the New York Times, while even remarkable acts of bravery or compassion are passed over in silence.

Activists are creating displays in which a small American flag is planted for every death in Iraq. For some of these activists, it may be the first time they have ever touched an American flag, unless they were burning it.

Perhaps the most irresponsible act of all has been Congress’s promotion of a non-binding resolution against the recent increase in American troop strength in Iraq.

People’s opinions can differ on troop deployment, even if — like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — they have never deployed troops in their lives and have no military experience whatsoever.

 But if anyone in Congress is serious about stopping the war, they can simply cut off the money — and take responsibility for the consequences that follow.

Instead, they want to have it both ways, passing a non-binding resolution whose only effect is to embolden our enemies and undermine the morale of our troops that they keep saying they are "supporting."

Please take the time to read airforcewife’s full account, as well as the following links, on whose blogging.

Send Montel a piece of your mind, civil or otherwise.

Also blogging:
Amy Proctor
Hot Air
Tanker Brothers
The Mudville Gazette

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