Friday, April 30, 2004

Nightline and the War

Here's a copy of the letter I sent to Sinclair Broadcasting concerning their decision not to air tonight's Nightline, due to it's "perceived anti-war stance":

Mr. Smith:

I heard with some disappointment your company’s decision not to broadcast tonight’s Nightline. Your protestations to the contrary, I don’t see how tonight’s Nightline program is anything other than an effort to put a human face on war, an opportunity that we are frequently denied living several thousand miles away from the active conflict.

While I personally have reservations about the war in Iraq, I fully support our troops, who are in an impossible situation. Given the opportunity, I would have watched tonight’s program; unfortunately, your decision prevented me from doing so.

So my ultimate question becomes this: why do you have so little respect for the viewing public? Why can’t we watch the broadcast and make up our own minds? In the words of Leroy Seivers, producer of Nightline:

"As I have said many times, whether you are for the war or against it, these men and women, whose pictures you will see tonight, have paid the ultimate price in our names. We think it is only fitting that for one night, we present their names. All I would hope is that all of you who watch, like all of us who are working on it, will take a moment at least to think about that sacrifice. "

That doesn’t strike me as a particularly anti-war stance, nor does it strike me as any sort of condemnation of the war in Iraq. It’s a reminder that these are real people dying in Iraq, and that war, while sometimes necessary, always comes with a terrible price.

One of the cornerstones of our country is that we live in a marketplace of ideas; without the ability to share and communicate those ideas and concepts, we become a weaker society. Frankly, I believe your decision not to broadcast this program was a far more unpatriotic stance than any that you so “bravely” decided to shield us from.

As I said, I'm not for this particular war. By no means am I a pacifist, but I think we're barking up the wrong tree. If we want to catch the people responsible for Sept. 11, then let's get them.

But they're not in Iraq.

I'm pretty certain they're holed up in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan or Pakistan, laughing and waiting their chance to strike again, which they'll get because we're going on an ill-conceived poorly planned expedition into Iraq. There never have been enough troops available to do the job properly; there's been no plan for dealing with post-conflict Iraq; and now we're seeing the results of this planning.

So I can't help but wonder just what the hell has this administration been thinking?

But what burns me up more than anything is that there are people who refuse to acknowledge that people are dying over there. Military personnel, civilians, insurrectionists - it doesn't matter; that's the price of war, and yet people complain when photos showing bodies appear in the paper. The military has had people fired for showing caskets being transported into the country. It's like we're all for a splendid little war, but let's not show you what happens in one.

That's wrong. If you're willing to fight, you need to be prepared to pay the price, and you should be reminded of that price. Otherwise, the people dying over there are sacrificing their lives in vain, and there's no bigger sin than that.

EDIT: Check this out to see someone do a far better job than I breaking this down.

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