Friday, May 27, 2011

Insidious Implications for Memorial Day

On this first day of the 2011 Memorial Day weekend in these United States of America let me exhort all readers to thank the one true God--Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit--for the men and women of our American military forces who have sacrificed their lives so that we are be able to live peaceful, free, safe, and fruitful lives in this great nation. And please pass along this exhortation, if not this article to all your friends and loved ones who happen to share this blessed citizenship with us.

Now, let me ask you a question. When is the last time you have heard anything about U.S. military casualties in a national network radio or television broadcast, or as a front page or otherwise prominent news article in your newspaper of news magazine of choice? As long as I am dealing in rhetorical questions, however long it has been, why do you think that is?

While you are searching your memory banks and processing your conclusions, let me ask you one more question. Were you at all bothered by the "photoshopped" image of the flag at the top of this article?

Well, you should be. While that image is my creation, it is emblematic of how our current administration--following the lead of the previous administration--and national news media view the involvement of our military forces.

Where's my evidence? Having heard of the latest U.S. military casualties in Afghanistan this past week on one of the many syndicated conservative radio talk shows this morning, my curiousity was piqued. So I did a Google search of "U.S. miltary fatalities." Here is what I found. A link to iCasualties topped the list. And here are the articles linked from iCasualties reporting on our latest U.S. military casualties in Afghanistan.
  • The Florida Times Union
    American troops killed in 2 explosions in Afghanistan
    Posted: May 27, 2011 - 6:17am
    By Associated Press
    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Eight U.S. troops who died in the latest attack in southern Afghanistan were hit by two different blasts while they were on foot patrol.

    . . . U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information, have confirmed that all eight victims were Americans.

    It was the deadliest day for NATO in Afghanistan since April 27, when a veteran Afghan military pilot killed eight U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor at Kabul airport.
  • ISAF Joint Command- Afghanistan
    For Immediate Release

    KABUL, Afghanistan (May 27, 2011) – Eight International Security Assistance Force service members died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

Now, perhaps you are wondering, “Who in the name of United States sovereignty is the ISAF?” Well, again, you should be. The ISAF is the International Security Assistance Force. According to its website, “ISAF was created in accordance with the Bonn Conference in December 2001. . . . [The ISAF was] initially limited to providing security in and around Kabul. In October 2003, the United Nations extended ISAF’s mandate to cover the whole of Afghanistan (UNSCR 1510), paving the way for an expansion of the mission across the country.”

Here is the ISAF mission statement from their website.

"In support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, ISAF conducts operations in Afghanistan to reduce the capability and will of the insurgency, support the growth in capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and facilitate improvements in governance and socio-economic development in order to provide a secure environment for sustainable stability that is observable to the population."

Are you disturbed yet? If so, are you more disturbed by my manipulation of our flag or the coopting of the sacrificial service of our nation's military men and women along with the national news media's dereliction of duty in reporting it?

A quick check of the website home pages for ABC, NBC, CBS, & CNN news services shows not one of them listing yesterday’s U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan. Not even Fox News saw fit to include it among the stories featured on its home page.

Sadly, even a search for “latest us military fatalities in Afghanistan” on CNN’s page at 12:30 p.m. MDT did not turn up a single hit to a report of this tragic, national news story. The same search did turn up a report on the Fox website, where the third hit links this story:

7 Americans Killed in Explosion in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan – Nine NATO service members were killed Thursday in Afghanistan, including seven U.S. troops among eight who died when a powerful bomb exploded in a field where they were patrolling on foot, officials said.
. . . Thirty-eight international service members have been killed so far this month, including at least 13 Americans. So far this year, 189 coalition troops have died in Afghanistan.

Which brings us back to my original questions.

  1. When is the last time you have heard anything about U.S. military casualties in a national network radio or television broadcast, or as a front page or otherwise prominent news article in your newspaper of news magazine of choice?
  2. However long it has been, why do you think that is?

Is it not just a bit strange and provocative that after being bombarded by U.S. military casualty figures for the seven years following 9/11/2001

  • we rarely, if ever hear of these casualties anymore;
  • and when we do they are reported primarily as fatalaties of NATO and/or ISAF service members?

So take another good look at that flag above. It is the flag under which your sons and daughters are being sent to battle--minus the red and white stripes. As we remember and thank God for the men and women who gave their lives for their fellow citizens--for you and me--let us also pray that their lives have not been given in vain.

While as God's baptized and forgiven children in Christ we are citizens of heaven and aliens here on earth, still let us pray as citizens of the United States of America in this world that God grant Memorial Day to always be a day for us to remember our fallen U.S. miltary heroes and never become a day of remembrance for the sovereign nation that once was.


roger said...

Interesting article Kurt. Well written, as you always do. If none noticed teh flag until after your mentioning it, I will let you know that I noticed it right off. Not only am I a very loyal son of the LCMS, which sometimes acts like an absent father, I am also very patrotic.

But I have a good reason why the numbers are no longer posted and that is because the current president cannot make any political points with them.


I. M. Abaldy II said...

Or to put a finer point on it, because it would not further the news media's agenda as it did during the previous administration.

Ted said...

As a servicemember who is returning from serving in a NATO command structure while involved in Operation Unified Protector, I think you misunderstand the whys and how of NATO and other military alliances. NATO is a force multiplier - it's a way to bring more airplanes or ships or troops on target without YOU, the taxpayer, having to maintain Cold War force levels. The units themselves remain US forces, and the national chain of command keeps track of them, but being allowed to work with other warfighters makes us better, it doesn't hide what we do.

The daily readboards that I see everyday still track those casualties, and they are still reported by the AP and others. If you don't see them on the evening news or the front page of news websites, that's a product of consumer choice and what draws the most eyeballs, not some carefully constructed agenda.