Tuesday, November 11, 2003

An Army of One?...

Remember the recruiting slogan used by the Army a few years ago?... "Be! all that YOU can be... in the Army!" Well, now you're probably familiar with the latest slogan... "An Army of One" I doubt that the marketing director (if one exists) in the Army really thought through the post-modern, narcissistic implications of such a slogan. For starters let's take a look at some definitions: army - a large body of people organized for warfare. warfare - the act of waging war. war - a state or period of armed conflict between nations, states, or parties. military - of or relating to the armed forces or war. Those of us who are Baby Boomers and older will have no problem understanding that an Army of One is a contradiction in terms, unless it is referring to a body of soldiers (like the definition above). But our culture today is so narcissistic in its thinking that they really believe the implication of the slogan that an Army of One means themselves as INDIVIDUALS. Don't think so? Just check out the article on Jessica Lynch's new book, co-authored with Rick Bragg, I Am a Soldier Too: the Jessica Lynch Story. The article is titled, Lynch book debunks myths about rescue: Former POW says Iraqi doctors were gentle caretakers. Here are some excerpts: "The authorized biography of Pfc. Jessica Lynch debunks early myths that U.S. troops waged a daring rescue to save her, and describes a team of Iraqi doctors as gentle caretakers who worked at their own risk to keep her alive." "I AM A SOLDIER, TOO: The Jessica Lynch Story, published Tuesday, suggests camera-toting American fighters met no resistance as they rushed a Nasiriyah hospital April 1 to retrieve the prisoner of war. The biography, by former New York Times writer Rick Bragg, discredits stories from the war’s first days that Lynch shot at her Iraqi captors, and that the Iraqi hospital was hostile territory that posed grave danger to Lynch’s rescuers." "Once, according to the book, Iraqi medical workers even loaded Lynch into an ambulance and drove it to an American checkpoint in hopes of returning her - but came under fire from U.S. troops and had to turn around." ""From the heartbreaking mess of the convoy ambush, gold was spun - first from an event that looked more dangerous on television than it perhaps had truly been, and next from a story of heroics in the fight at Nasiriyah that a Hollywood script writer would have been hard put to invent," Bragg writes." "Lynch and Bragg are splitting the book’s $1 million advance, and publisher Alfred A. Knopf ordered a first run of 500,000 copies. The cover features a smiling photo of Lynch in military garb, a U.S. flag behind her. "The book’s release, timed for Veterans Day, comes amid a blitz of promotional interviews by Lynch and Bragg. ABC’s Diane Sawyer interviews Lynch in a prime-time special Tuesday; NBC aired an unauthorized movie about her Sunday." "Lynch told Bragg she wished the war had never taken place because other soldiers would then be alive - including Lori Piestewa, a soldier close to Lynch who was killed in the ambush. ""We went and we did our job, and that was to go to the war, but I wish I hadn’t done it - I wish it had never happened," Lynch says. "I’d give four hundred billion dollars. I’d give anything."" I'll repeat what I've written earlier that Lynch is to be commended for going through and surviving the horrible experience of war and brutal captivity. Yet, as I've also stated before, she is confused. Bragg is of no help. Harping on about the unconfirmed and incorrect early reports of the incident is a waste of print. Anyone with half an ounce of sense who watched those reports remembers that they were sketchy from the get-go. As far as incorrect reporting goes, maybe Bragg should counsel his colleagues at the N.Y. Times. Bragg's biggest error is to paint the entire rescue raid as a publicity stunt woven in gold by the U.S. military. If Bragg truly thinks that the raid was less dangerous than it looked on TV then I suggest he be embedded on the next similar type raid conducted by our Armed Forces. Now, is anyone else a bit more than repulsed at the fact that they are promoting this book on Veteran's Day? $500,000 each upfront for Bragg and Lynch, and appearances on talks shows? I can understand Lynch wishing to have never gone through the experience. Who can blame her for that? I doubt you'll find that anyone who has experienced the horrors of war would wish to walk that road again. An Army of One? No, it isn't... but can we blame Jessica for thinking that it was? It seems that she wasn't fully aware, when she signed up, that the Army was part of the military... and that the military engages in warfare. And that warfare means people getting killed. It was said that she joined the Army to see the world. If true, we need to reeducate our youth that besides seeing the world, when you join the military, you may see war as well. An obvious point? Extremely. But it has somehow been lost by our youth.

No comments: