He was right. The only faces of this war that Americans are seeing are the faces of tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib or of crying Iraqi children as tanks roll through to fight terrorists. The only pictures of American soldiers Americans see are headshots of the wounded or killed, or pictures of caskets. It's no wonder that support for the war is at an all-time low, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein has been deposed and captured, despite the fact that Iraqis have turned out in the millions to vote, despite the fact that rape rooms and mass murders have been stopped.
Without faces of the war, Americans are left in the dark. Maj. Sukut cited an incredibly offensive interview he saw on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" (MSNBC) with actor/comedian Richard Belzer. In that interview, Belzer claimed that asking troops in the field what they thought of the war was "bulls---," since it "doesn't mean [a soldier is] a brilliant scholar just because he's there. You think everyone over there is a college graduate? They're 19- and 20-year-old kids who couldn't get a job," Belzer sneered.
That conversation crystallized for me the importance of showing the American public just who our servicemen and women are. As Maj. Sukut put it, "Americans need to know about our new Greatest Generation." And so this column will be the first of a continuing series profiling the men and women currently serving in the armed forces, their families and the civilian contractors working in Iraq. Their day-to-day heroism is what keeps us safe; they do us honor and credit every day. The mundane details and regular jobs they carry out protect us. Their ordinary is our extraordinary.
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