Posted on

Negative, biased diatribes hurt the war effort

I suspect that neither our late Gov. Frank O’Bannon nor his father, Robert, would have approved publication of your vitriolic diatribe (‘Bush Administration unravels in the war against Iraq,’ June 9, 2004) railing about the President of the United States and his policy advisors.
Knowing full well it is unwise to get into a ‘urinating’ contest with one who buys ink by the barrel, I nevertheless feel compelled to take issue with the substance of your editorial bias.
If your goals were to denigrate the office of President of the United States and its current occupant, to castigate the Vice President and the National Security advisor, to cast aspersions on service in the National Guard and average students, to spin facts to shift blame from errors in previous administrations, and to insult the intellect of many of your readers, then I say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
If your goals were to demonstrate any lack of bias in editorializing, respect for the office of President of the United States, or unskewed memory and knowledge about world issues and events, then I say MISSION FAILURE.
To insinuate that the present leadership of this great nation is incompetent and responsible for the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, the U.S. Embassies in Africa, the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center demonstrates a serious lack of historical recollection or a purposeful disregard of the facts in pursuit of one’s own agenda. It is relatively easy with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight to kibitz from the sidelines about errors made, plans gone awry, and other unforeseen happenstances occuring and labeling them as poor planning. Your readers would be better served were you to publish a list of the accomplishments of the troops on the ground in Iraq, especially in regard to schools built, utilities emplaced, businesses established, and many other positive accomplishments related to me by those troops.
Invariably, they say the Iraqi people tell them it it a much better place sans Saddam Hussein. But of course, that would not sell many papers.
Does anyone remember the almost total stripping of the CIA and the FBI covert activities capabilities, disallowing them to even communicate with each other on matters of intelligence gathering and national security? Perhaps recalling such names as Jimmy Carter, Stansfield Turner and Bill Clinton might prove enlightening.
The fact is we are in a global war against terrorism brought to the forefront by the catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a failed one ending in a field in Pennsylvania on 9/11.
This war is continuing with no end in sight and will result in huge additional expenditure of dollars and loss of more lives of brave Americans. We can ill afford to misunderstand that there are people in this world who, for whatever reason, hate Americans and all they stand for. They want to kill us and destroy our country and its way of life. Islamic fundamentalists and their holy wars are the most serious threat to the safety and security of this country since Hitler. These extremists rant and rave about mistreatment of a few prisoners by some misguided individuals while at the same time decapitating Americans or burning the bodies of Americans and hanging them from bridges.
I find it very disheartening that the good people of Harrison County are held as a captive audience to the liberal editorial bias of the only available local newspaper.
If the war on terrorism is in trouble, I maintain it is not because of faulty planning for the war in Iraq. All war plans are temporary and always have to be modified after the first volley is fired. No one is ‘all knowing’ enough to make the perfect plan and foresee all the roadblocks. It is not in trouble for not having enough troops on the ground. It is not in trouble because we haven’t captured Osama bin Laden.
It is in trouble because there are too many in the media who see it as their solemn duty to point out all the negatives (which occur in any war) over and over again, thus isolating themselves from the good, average, C students in mainstream America. They see it as their mission to undermine the courage, resolve or belief in our moral duty to carry out this war to a successful end.
The absolute worst outcome for our country and the world (because it is a world war), would be for those who seek our demise to be encouraged by those who continually bad-mouth our good intentions, our leaders and our government. They see that as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve on our part, much like the North Vietnamese related to Jane Fonda. That in turn, heaven forbid, encourages them even more to take up their holy war swords with increased fervor against what they see as a ‘paper tiger.’
Brig. Gen. Francis A Hughes, U.S. Army, retired, grew up in the White Cloud area and graduated from Corydon High School in 1953. A master Army aviator, Hughes and his wife, Ellen, live in Columbus, Ind., and Venice, Fla.