Video: Montel Williams has a good point about the news media’s coverage of Heath Ledger’s death.
I think that a show that would get a lot of ratings and probably be one of the best possible shows for Americans to experience at this time would be a reality show in which viewers follow and get to know five or ten random troops in Iraq. Viewers would come to know and identify with these people and then when they die or are severely wounded (as is not unlikely), they will have someone they can mourn with honesty. They will also reap the added benefit of gaining a better understanding of the toll wars take so that, hopefully, they might begin to realize that it is not acceptable to support politicians who make warfare their bread and butter.
Yeah, I’d watch that.
I agree with all of this and thought of another thing.
The day my friend told me about it, I was kind of sad [though not significantly so] and then I stopped and said, you know, it’s unfortunate, but what’s more unfortunate is that there are millions dying in Darfur and lots of other places in the world but we don’t give a damn about them. We’ll spend hours of news coverage on one dead celebrity, but when it comes to real tragedies, we do nothing. I actually had to stop and realize that it’s not that big of a deal. To his family, yes, it’s a big deal…but why should we care so much?
i wouldnt. war takes no toll. i was shot in Iraq and want to be there still. i would do anything to go back. thats why we sign up, we sign up to fight. no one wants you to mourn with them, nor do they want america to understand. all we ask is for a 4 percent raise at the end of the year, not some reality show that will get in the way of what we really do. reporters in combat zones are a huge reason this war isnt over.
Maybe we need it so we can save you from yourselves.
hahahahahahahahahaha. that was so deep.
Not that deep. Ultimately, whether and where U.S. soldiers fight is the determination of the citizenry—for the president is meant to be servant to that citizenry. If the citizenry elects a president with a taste for blood, there will be blood. We tend to elect such leaders out of our ignorance and negligence, forgetting that war, against your protest, actually carries a very high toll.
If the citizenry can be reminded of that toll, of the disgusting human cost of war, it will be less likely to elect leaders who are quick to war.
You say that you want to go back, that you sign up to fight. That is exactly why you need to be saved from yourself. Also the reason that your victims need to be saved from you. Soldiers are not generally given the apparatus to decide whether a fight should be fought. They sign up to fight when there are fights to be fought. It is the citizenry who should decide IF there is a fight that needs to be fought.
And a citizenry inform with the results of their decisions (e.g. the lives they take by their decisions) will be better equipped to make wise decisions.
Strap on a weapon and fight they way we have to, your little taste of blood theory will go away quickly. its easy to sit back and blog away about what war is like and what soldiers are like. its another thing to do it. when you have seen the peace in iraq first hand and not from some news outlet….you will see that bush’s plan is working. then i hope, off to darfur.
Matt, the people with a taste for blood I was talking about are the president and the average citizen, not the soldiers. And the president’s as likely to strap on a weapon and fight as I am.
The point is: if the American citizenry does not comprehend the cost of war (e.g., over 1 million Iraqis dead and piles of them displaced with a demolished economy), then how can they realistically make the best decisions for our troops? The American people, for awhile seven years ago, had a taste for blood. They were blinded by circumstance combined with a complete amnesia for what war encompasses. The did not understand the consequences of their actions and so in their ignorance and negligence, far too many have died. It’s real easy to sacrifice one’s own life for a larger cause, but in our international politic, we have decided also to sacrifice the lives and livelihoods of uncountable others, never giving them any chance to say, “Y’know? Personally, and it may just be me, but I’d rather not die for your cause.” Essentially, there’s little difference between our actions in Iraq and you coming to my house right not and shooting me “for the greater good.”
If there’s finally peace settling in in Iraq, then that’s a good thing. Of course, our goal for being there was never to bring peace to the nation, so if peace comes…that’s nice, but not our purpose for being there.
p.s. I never made any mention at all about what soldiers are like.
dane, we just see things from an extremely different view. as much as you seemingly hate wars, i hate the things that prevent us from winning wars quickly…like the media. that was my biggest disagreement that i had with what you wrote.
That’s fair enough, Matt. I can see how the media could impede military plans – and thereby extend conflict. I think some sort of recording apparatus is a necessary evil (for the reasons stated above), though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a mainstream news service.
That was a great little speech by Montel. Too bad his show got canceled after that. Maybe he could start an online show with real media like he’s suggesting be covered
the dane, there is a media outlet that sent like 500 cameras to iraqs. they made tapes of what they saw and went through. its awesome. you here both sides of the story. i will look it up and tell you what it is. the book “generation kill” is also a very real account. i worked with the main person the story is around. its being turned into a mini-series on hbo. look into it if you are interested.
Thanks Matt. I appreciate it.