Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

20 December 2005

Where is the good press?????

Why is it that every time I pick up a newspaper or watch a news report, I see nothing but negative press about the Iraq War and the War on Terror? Now don't get me wrong, I know that the "bad" stories will always generate more ratings than the feel good stories. It’s a sick twist in human nature. I also know that things aren't all peachy over there so the positive feel good stories may be hard to come by. That being said, why an effort isn't being made to find them is beyond me. Whether or not you like or dislike Bush, the war, how the war is being run (and I am no fan of the way the Iraq War is being handled) there is one thing we must put our views and differences aside for…our troops. I'm a card carrying member of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars for you ignorant civilian types) and sure, much to my dismay I never saw real combat having served in Korea to earn my stripes, but that doesn't mean that I feel any less like a Veteran than any of the Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines that have been in the shit. Because of this, I fully support our military and especially the brave soles who are on the front lines doing their best to protect our way of life every single day. And don't try and argue this point. They are doing perhaps the hardest job imaginable away from their families, friends, loved ones, etc. The media likes to show stories of despair, troops who have lost all their moral, the extremely minuscule percentage of troops who loose their minds and do asinine things like beat prisoners etc. Every time one of our troops loses their life its all over the news. Every arm chair General and politician is calling for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq etc. It’s a good thing the media wasn't like this during WWII. I couldn't imagine the bloated stories that would come out of D-Day alone!

All that being said, last night I found my feel good story. And I didn't read it in the Times. I didn't see it on CNN, Fox News, or the BBC. I found it on the USA Network. I found it during WWE Raw. That’s right ladies, during a live broadcast of wrestling. Last nights telecast originated from Baghram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. And while you might laugh, and start running off with all your "wrestling sucks/is fake" jokes, the fact of the matter is this. On one two hour telecast they gave me more positive stories about the troops, their moral, their missions everything than I have seen anywhere else for the past year. Instead of listening to those in the media that "think" they have the pulse of the troops, the WWE SHOWED the troops. Vince McMahon and the WWE are big supporters of the military. Since the inception of the War on Terror in Afghanistan and the War in Iraq, the WWE has been scheduling shows for the troops and the Wrestlers have been making visits to the troops not only in the U.S. but overseas as well. Every Christmas since the start of these conflicts, the WWE has gone to Iraq and Afghanistan during the Holidays and provided shows for our Fighting men and women giving them a break from their harsh reality…if only be it for a few hours. The WWE wrestlers give up their own time off (which is few and far between for them) with their own families and such so they can provide those on the frontlines a bit of enjoyment. They do this selflessly and because they want too. Vince McMahon doesn't do any of this for press, or to get his name in the news because unless you read the Stars and Stripes (Military newspaper) you would never know Vince and the WWE do things like this. The press is more worried about the negative aspects about wrestling to report on something good like this.

Last night as the show opened, Vince strutted to the ring as only he can. He grabbed a microphone and not only thanked the troops for all they do, but he blasted the media for basically ignoring all the good our troops are doing. The troops erupted because only they truly know the injustice the media is doing to them. The wrestlers played too the crowd and the show was specific to the troops. Perhaps the most telling part were the vignettes that were played throughout the show as well. They showed the WWE Superstars touring all over Afghanistan. Performing duties along side our men and women in uniform including mine removal and EOD. They showed the Wrestlers arriving in Germany where they visited injured soldiers and the troops and their families stationed at Ramstein Air Base. From there they all loaded onto a C-17 for their trip to Baghram. Their arrival into Afghanistan. The visiting of injured troops there as well. It was very heartening to see someone who is laid up in a hospital bed with burns, rifle wounds, broken bones, lost limbs etc. be able to have a genuine smile roll across their face because Vince McMahon is there to see them, or Triple H is there to see them, or one of the WWE "Divas" scantily clad for others pleasure are there to see them. Perhaps the most telling of all though, was the actual troops sharing their thoughts and feelings on camera. And its funny, their impressions are far different than the ones the media gives us. While they miss their families, they all understand the job they have to do. They all defend their country proudly and without question. Their moral is not as low as we are led to believe. Many of them enjoy the experience in helping the Afghan people. Many rejoice in the fact that they are part of a force that is not only out to preserve the American Way of Life in America but they are helping to rebuild an oppressed country into something hopefully great for the future. The telecast gave us stats throughout. Stats like before the U.S. led Coalition Force arrived, only 3% of Afghan women were allowed to go to school. Since we arrives over 300 plus schools have been built that teach boys and girls. Facts like the new Afghan government is the first elected government in over 30 years and 30% of the new government is made up of women. They showed the Airmen and Soldiers out helping to build homes for the Afghans. Showed them digging waterways and interacting with the Afghan people. And guess what, you might find this hard to believe but the people from 2 different nations were all getting along well. The wrestlers gave interviews and press conferences for the Afghan press. Allowing a taste of a different culture to be experienced but all. Try doing this just a few short years ago. For a wrestling telecast, it was one of the most rewarding 2 hours I have ever spent watching television. I won't even lie, I had tears in my eyes on several occasions. Watching the troops interact on so many different levels with the wrestlers. Seeing something as simple as wrestling and its performers bringing ear to ear smiles on the faces of those that look death in the eye every day was touching. I've spent a few holidays alone, in a foreign country and even in a tent. On Christmas Eve when I was in Korea, an Air Force General flew into my Camp specifically to see me and the other Airman who were stationed there. He came in, presented us with a couple coins (a military thing) thanked us for all our hard work and even came inside our station and talked with us for awhile. And sure when he left, he got to fly back to Osan and spend the holiday with his wife and family and he probably felt good about visiting us, but never the less, for the 2 Airmen stationed at Camp Page it meant a lot. More than most people will ever be able to comprehend. And like I said, I was just in Korea. I can't imagine the feeling the troops get from a major attraction like the WWE specifically coming to see them, perform for them, interact with them all on the front lines of war.

As our own holiday season rapidly approaches, lets not forget are Armed Forces stationed throughout the world. They are providing us with a service most people will never understand. Whether or not you like Bush or hate him, support the war or you don't. Whether or not you agree with U.S. Foreign Policy or not, lets not forget the Troops. They follow their orders without question. They do not have the luxury most of us do to sit back and criticize…mostly with hind sight. They stand on a wall, walk a perimeter, sweep a mine field, sleep in a ditch, eat MRE's all so we can be able to criticize why they do what they do. We should all follow Vince McMahon's lead. Vince doesn't go to the front lines for media exposure. You know why? Because he doesn't get it. You won't hear about the WWE tour in the news or read about it in the paper and if you do, it will be a quick blurb if that. Vince does it and the Wrestlers do it because they support our Troops fully. There are plenty of organizations www.adoptaplatoon.com where you can donate things to be sent to our fighting men and women. We should all be remembering their sacrifice right about now, so we can all bitch about crowded stores, cold weather, the fact the Family Guy was pushed back because the President was on T.V., and all of the other things we complain about that in the grand scheme of things are so small they wouldn't even register on the radar of these men and women. And I for one, will thank Vince McMahon for what he has done for the Troops. Even if its in a crappy blog that only about 4 people will ever read…at least the intent is there. Thanks to the WWE and to the U.S. Armed Forces. You are truly appreciated more than you know.


  • At 9:43 PM, Blogger Bill said…

    A couple points.

    1) That is very cool that the WWE is doing some USO-type stuff, because that kind of stuff is a real morale booster. So good for them. But let's not suddenly get the notion that the WWE is some kind of altruistic, good-hearted company. This is the same company that continued a show right after Owen Hart cracked his neck and died. WWE is getting some bank for this, I'm sure.

    2) I don't know anyone who isn't with the troops or behind them. But the argument of "criticizing the war equals criticizing the troops" or "don't criticize the war, the troops will hear it and morale will drop" doesn't wash with me for two reasons. First, one of the main reasons we want the war to end is to get the troops back home to their families. I bet some troops secretly believe this too. Secondly, the right to dissent is one that the troops are actually defending as an American way of life. Those who say "do not criticize" are the ones who put us in this position in the first place and are trying to squash people who are against it by saying it's unpatriotic. But needless to say, we are ALL behind our troops. Well all know how brave and heroic they are being over there. If someone says they are against the war, it does NOT mean they are against you as a military man.

    Ok that's all.

  • At 6:25 AM, Blogger 'Don' Cialini said…

    In all fairness to the Owen Hart thing, I think all people who are not wrestling fans will always point ot that and say "look at this". Lets face it. Canceling the rest of the show would have caused issues too. IF the harness setup that the Blue Blazer errr Owen Hart used was going to be used again, then sure. But there were 20,000 people in the crowd who paid 50-150 dollars or more for tickets. There were 750,000-1,000,000 people who dropped 40 bucks on the PPV to watch the event. I'm not saying money is everything, but the show does need to go on. When someone gets paralized in the NFL the game doesn't end prematurely. If someone died due to injuries sustained on the field shortly after, the game won't stop. This isn't boxing.

  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger padcrasher said…

    "Whether or not you agree with the war"...Sure Don, It's the media's fault for not blowing smoke up everyone's ass.

    The folks like yourself who rah rah'd the war from the start have nothing to look back on. We will leave Iraq having created a disaster by every measure. Lives, money, trust, respect, you name it, all wasted.

    Instead of these pointless attacks on the media. Picked up from your favorite right wing radio host. How about a little honesty on your part? How did that war go for you tough guy?

  • At 1:53 PM, Blogger padcrasher said…

    "Whether or not you agree with the war"...Sure Don, It's the media's fault for not blowing smoke up everyone's ass.

    The folks like yourself who rah rah'd the war from the start have nothing to look back on. We will leave Iraq having created a disaster by every measure. Lives, money, trust, respect, you name it, all wasted.

    Instead of these pointless attacks on the media. Picked up from your favorite right wing radio host. How about a little honesty on your part? How did that war go for you tough guy?


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