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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A War Without Heroes?

Never has a major news/op-ed source said something so true.

The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes, hits this one directly on the head.

A War Without Heroes?
Only if you're reading the mainstream media.

Do you know who Paul Ray Smith is? If not, don't feel bad. Most Americans aren't familiar with Paul Ray Smith. He is the first and only soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary courage in the war in Iraq. Five days before Baghdad fell in April 2003, Sergeant Smith and his men were building a makeshift jail for captured Iraqi troops.

Surprised by 100 of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guards, Smith and his men, some of them wounded, were pinned down and in danger of being overrun. Smith manned a 50-caliber machine gun atop a damaged armored vehicle. Exposed to enemy fire, he singlehandedly repelled the attack, allowing his men to scramble to safety. He killed as many as 50 of Saddam's elite soldiers and saved more than 100 American troops. Paul Ray Smith, 33, was killed by a shot to the head.

The war in Iraq is a war without heroes. There are no men--or women, for that matter--known to most Americans for their bravery in combat. There are no household names like Audie Murphy or Sgt. York or Arthur MacArthur or even Don Holleder, the West Point football star killed in Vietnam. When President Bush held a White House ceremony to award the Medal of Honor to Smith, posthumously, the TV networks and big newspapers reported the story. The coverage lasted one day. The story didn't have legs.

Instead of heroes, there are victims. The two most famous soldiers in the war are Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman (in Afghanistan). Lynch was captured by Saddam's troops after her truck crashed. Stories of her heroism in a gun battle with Iraqis turned out to be false. She was rescued later from an Iraqi hospital. Tillman, who gave up a pro football career to join the Army, was killed by friendly fire. "The press made that a negative story, a scandal almost," says a Pentagon official.

It gets worse. In a study of over 1,300 reports broadcast on network news programs from January to September of this year, Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center found only eight stories of heroism or valor by American troops and nine of soldiers helping the Iraqi people. But there were 79 stories, Noyes said, "focused on allegations of combat mistakes or outright misconduct on the part of U.S. military personnel."

And there are still people out there that say the MSM bias is having little to no effect... Sure...

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