Rich Galen

What most of us know about the military is either in heated action (now in southern Afghanistan) or when something goes horribly wrong (like the terrorist who opened fire at Ft. Hood).

What these folks have to do, I suggested, was to look for ways to promote the value of the military to work-a-day folks outside the boundaries of the base.

In the war-zone days if Iraq my job was to help bring non-combat news back to local U.S. markets. With the help of excellent deputies like Tom Basile (now the executive director of the New York GOP) we got footage of American service members and USAID employees rebuilding schools, fixing water plants, helping stand up the various ministries, and generally helping the Iraqi people get back on their feet.

It was easy interviewing a soldier in Mosul helping city officials restart services to their constituents and sending the tape to her hometown TV stations in Schenectady, or where ever. It is tougher to ferret out good stories of military personnel stationed in Louisiana, or North Dakota.

But, I suggested, it is no less important because what the uniformed service members do every day - Marines at Camp Pendleton, California; soldiers at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina; Navy personnel at Norfolk, Virginia; Airmen at Barksdale; or Coast Guardians just about everywhere - is completely devoted to allowing their fellow citizens to go about their daily routine safe from foreign attack.

I could have been in Washington on Tuesday in a projectile sweat about the Democrats' plot to pass healthcare without an up-or-down vote; but I was in a much better place.

With some really good people.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at