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May 26, 2009

On the Right Side: The military deserves more respect

Just a little more on the book ``Lone Survivor'' by Marcus Luttrell, Navy SEAL. He continues to describe what the military is up against.

It gets very discouraging for them to pick up a paper and read about our politicians degrading the military. We all remember the Haditha Marines who were accused of murder. Jack Murtha jumped out front (with Kennedy, Kerry and Reid close behind), and with absolutely no facts, declared them guilty.

It got even worse. He called our troops rapists, murderers and uncontrolled criminals. Predictably, the lapdog media loved it and aggressively ran with it. Remember, there were no facts known about the incident, there hadn't been any trial and no evidence had been presented, but that didn't matter to the media and our leftist, anti-American politicians.

Lo and behold, the charges turned out to be false. Seven marines were acquitted and one had the charges reduced. Egg on the accusers' faces? Of course. The sense of honor to apologize and retract? Of course not. Murtha sure didn't feel any need to.

And the mainstream media wonder why more and more people are seeking other outlets to get the truth? If they don't wake up soon, they will simply follow the path of The New York Times into oblivion and irrelevance. Actually, I sort of hope they don't wake up.

Luttrell hits the nail on the head when he says, "In the military, if we don't know something, we say we don't and proceed to shut up until we do. Some highly paid charlatans in the media (and politics) think it's absolutely fine to take a wild guess at the truth and then tell a couple of million people it's a cast-iron fact, just in case they might be right."

Do you really believe they have these special undisclosed "sources" that for integrity purposes must remain so? I don't anymore.

Bad things are bound to happen in war. It is not a game where you keep score and have umpires, regardless of what the politicians think. Occasionally, the wrong people get killed. But what rules are you to play under when you are facing murderous, monstrous terrorists who will do anything possible to kill as many military and innocent Americans?

When two of Luttrell's comrades were dying, the Taliban emptied clips of ammunition into their faces so they couldn't be recognized. This apparently is a common practice of the Taliban when they find a wounded or dying soldier. Then you say the Geneva Convention rules apply to these monsters? Give me a break. Won't it be nice when we start working as aggressively to protect the rights of our soldiers at least as much as we do these terrorists?

Another quote from the book: "I am hopeful that one day soon, the government will learn that we can be trusted. We know about bad guys, what they do, and, often, who they are. The politicians have chosen to send us into battle, and that's our trade. We do what's necessary. And in my view, once these politicians have elected to send us out to do what 99.9 percent of the country would be terrified to undertake, they should get the hell out of the way and stay there."

Of course, the bad things should be reported, but not sensationalized. When the media start reporting the thousands and thousands of good deeds done by our military, the public will see how extremely isolated the actions of a few bad apples are.

So who do you think deserves the higher level of credibility and respect? The combat soldier actually out on the field of battle and experiencing all of the unspeakable horrors that go with it, or the people who legislate and report in the little confines protected under the freedoms kept safe by our military?

Marcus Lattrell and others like him deserve our respect. He is a decorated warrior who earned the Navy Cross for combat heroism. He has the right to speak out and be heard. Other people haven't earned our trust and respect quite yet. Unfortunately, the persons who need to read this book the most are those who will be too obstinate to do so. Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans respect men and women like Marcus Lattrell and our military.

A physician friend of mine asked that I point out a piece of history that occurred last week. After the president's weekly radio address, the opposing party is allowed to reply with a rebuttal. The doctor proudly pointed out that for the first time in the history of radio, the opposing party was represented by an orthopedic surgeon, Sen. John Basso, from Wyoming. Now he owes me.


Tom Sears is a professor of accounting at Hartwick College in Oneonta. He can be reached at His column appears every other week.