Sunday, January 02, 2005

Service to Country

This photo is of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, of Jonancey, Kentucky.

Many Americans have seen this picture before. I've published it again because after the joy of the holidays, we need to remember that young men and women like LCpl Miller are still out there, serving for all of us. Some face the dangers of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan; some perform other important and sometimes dangerous duties, such as assisting in disaster relief in Asia.

The photo was taken during the Battle of Fallujah by Los Angeles Times photojournalist Luis Sinco, who accompanied the Marines fighting in the city. Sinco, describing the situation in which he took the photo, said:

All I know is that if Miller had turned the camera around on me, I would have had that same look: eyes filled with anxiety and fatigue framed in a face determined to survive.

LCpl Miller was later interviewed by Patrick J. McDonnell, also of the Los Angeles Times. In the interview you get an image of a young American like so many others who serve in our military forces. He's not particularly happy to be in combat, which proves his sanity. He also isn't likely to be a career Marine. But he's doing his duty alongside his comrades, trusting them as they trust him. He wants to go home eventually, back to his small town in Appalachia to live the life he knows best, and he'll forever have the warm respect of his friends and neighbors for having served bravely.

Personally, I'll take LCpl Miller any day over today's self-important "metrosexuals" and liberal elitists, many of them young men and women who can't help sneering at the mere idea of service to country. Some of them revealed themselves publicly in their distasteful responses to this young man's photo and to the sacrifices of soldiers like Pat Tillman. Let these dangleberries* become journalists; they'll fit right in.

Lest anyone think I've missed the irony, I realize that both the photographer and reporter mentioned here represented the Los Angeles Times, one of the least objective newspapers in the U.S. However, this illustrates an important point. When journalists are embedded with military forces actually in combat, far from their bosses and editors, they tend to report truthfully what they see around them. This was clear throughout the campaign to defeat the Iraqi Army and the government of Saddam Hussein, when embedded reporters did a good job of reporting on the remarkable people of the U.S. military.

*The definition of "dangleberry" exceeds the family-friendly format of this site. If you'd like the definition, ask and I'll send it to you by e-mail.


Blogger Kevin said...

With all due respect, Tom... It seems to me that you're proffering a logical fallacy. Which is that the photographer and reporter from the LAT are somehow less biased because they've published something which conforms to your own apparent bias.

The problem that I have with both ideological sides here in America is the picking and choosing of select examples with which to demagogue the alleged ideological biases of media sources purported to be biased in favor of the other side.

You assert that this photographer and reporter somehow are more "truthful" here because they're a long ways away from their editors and bosses. Yet just the other day you were alledging that another reporter in the region was playing gotcha with Rumsfeld, and doing it based on the allegations of a mainstream American newspaper which is widely viewed as biased in favor of the Bush administration.

Isn't it patently obvious that you're filtering the perceived biases of these reporters thru your own biases? How else are we to interprete the disparate treatment of two different reporters equally embedded and equally removed (geographically) from their editors and bosses?

2:58 PM, January 02, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Kevin, two entirely different situations. The young reporter who planted the question for Rumsfeld was from a paper outside the orbit of the big media outlets, and he was on the periphery in a secure area, just hustling to make a story happen. That's how they make it to the bigs.

From that, the mainstream media picked it up and ran with it, reporting a selective piece of the quote and the facts that fit their agenda.

The photographer and reporter who did the photo and story on LCpl Miller were with the Marines in combat. Not at all the same circumstances.

4:53 PM, January 02, 2005  
Blogger FatherofFour said...

Mr. Carter,

Thank you for adding Oil. War. Ice. The End to your blogroll.

Just wanted to let you know I've moved the blog to:

... in case you wanted stay in touch.

- FatherofFour

8:20 PM, January 02, 2005  
Blogger Anastasia said...

I think pieces that depict or photograph soldiers in frontlines are necessary.

I remember just before and weeks (and weeks) after the most recent war in Iraq, how everyone was embroiled in whether the war was 'right or not', there was such a focus on this, people around the world were protesting. I even attended a Sydney march (which was like a quiet walk around the city) and it was the first time I ever did that in my life but after it I realised (after seeing thousands and thousands of people) that many offshoot political groups used that one event to promote their own causes - everyone from Amnesty International to every communist or socialist group was there promoting their gig (giving out leaflets) and frankly, it annoyed me, I asked myself why I went there in the first place.

What I realised, the most important thing, is that everyone was 'stuck' on the morality of it all (when this varies depending on a wide scale of interests or necessity) and forgot about the fact that soldiers were actually there. The next turning point, I guess, were those leaked photographs from an airport hangar which showed mass coffins all draped with the US flag. I don't think Australians actually realised or even considered that people were dying, because the majority of our soldiers aren't on front lines (they're on navy ships). So without such reportage, some people in other nations aren't give the impetus to actually think outside the usual dramatic drumbeat of protestors who focus on the supposed personality of political leaders rather than the bigger issues.

4:09 AM, July 07, 2005  

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