One thing most anti-war protesters learned from Vietnam is that Americans do not like it when those who fight wars on their behalf are disrespected. As a result, for the most part, returning heroes from Afghanistan and Iraq were spared the treatment their brothers who fought in Vietnam received. Thankfully those returning home have not been called baby killers or been spat upon by opponents of the war.
What has happened in many instances, however, is instead of making war heroes into villains, as happened during the Vietnam era, opponents (particularly of the war in Iraq) have made them into victims or they have simply ignored them.
Yesterday, on Memorial Day, Bruce McQuain at Blackfive.net pointed out what he referred to as a casual defamation. In an otherwise very positive story about Army MAJ Chris Carter who “jumped out of his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in the middle of a firefight to rescue an Iraqi woman,” the reporter referred to Carter as “an early hero in a war with few heroes.”
McQuain cited numbers to disprove the statement. “ 4 Medal of Honor recipients, probably 20 or so Airforce, Navy and Distinguished Service Cross recipients…well over 200 Silver Stars…hundreds of Bronze Stars with "V" device have been awarded.”
He said, “The problem isn't that there are few heroes in that war. The problem is that the many heroes of that war have gotten little media coverage. ..the media's lack of coverage has created a ‘conventional wisdom’ within the press that Iraq is a war with ‘few heroes’.”
Matt Burden started the popular military blog, Blackfive, in honor of his friend, Major Mathew E. Schram who was killed in Iraq on Memorial Day 2003. “Major Schram's convoy was followed by a car with a major weekly magazine reporter in it. Once the action began, the reporter and his driver turned and got the hell out of there. If it wasn't for Mat's charge up into the ambushers, they never would have made it out of there alive. The weekly magazine never ran a story about my good friend, Mat.”