Yeah…the media sucks…

…and it helps people form ignorant negative biases toward the military’s action in the Middle East.

This is an email from Ray Reynolds, a medic in the Iowa Army National Guard,
serving in Iraq:

As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to
say thanks to all of you who did not believe the media. They have done a
very poor job of covering everything that has happened. I am sorry that I
have not been able to visit all of you during my two week leave back home.
And just so you can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq
that is noteworthy, I thought I would pass this on to you. This is the list
of things that has happened in Iraq recently:

* Over 400,000 kids have up-to-date immunizations.
* School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.
* Over 1,500 schools have been renovated and rid of the weapons stored there
so education can occur.
* The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off-loaded from ships
faster.
* The country had its first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.
* Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever
in Iraq.
* The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the
war.
* 100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed, compared to 35% before
the war.
* Elections are taking place in every major city, and city councils are in
place.
* Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.
* Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.
* Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.
* Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with
US soldiers.
* Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.
* Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to
prevent the spread of germs.
* An interim constitution has been signed.
* Girls are allowed to attend school.
* Textbooks that don’t mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time
in 30 years.

Don’t believe for one second that these people do not want us there. I have
met many, many people from Iraq that want us there, and in a bad way. They
say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their
children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone,
anywhere to dispute me on these facts. If you are like me and very disgusted
with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a
friend and let them know there are good things happening.

Ray Reynolds, SFC Iowa Army National Guard
234th Signal Battalion

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3 thoughts on “Yeah…the media sucks…

  1. That letter’s been around for many, many months. Unfortunately it is fraught with many inaccuracies and misleading statements.

    http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/rayreynolds.html
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/war/reynolds.asp
    http://www.orwelliantimes.com/2004/04/26.html

    Ray Reynolds does actually exist, did actually write the letter, and I’m certain had good intentions. However the sheer number of mistakes in it damage its effectiveness as a rallying point. In fact, such mistakes probably have caused people to think even more poorly Iraq, the military, etc.

  2. Isn’t it ironic how many inaccuracies were in the orwelliantimes.com article? Can you say hypocrisy? It makes me sick that some “myth”-busters would sit around on their butts in air-conditioned comfort and attack a serviceman who was in the hot desert sacrificing his life for democracy and their right to do what they do. Take into account that the troops don’t know what’s going on besides what they see themselves, hear from other troops, hear from home, or research on their own time. Jon didn’t even know about the tsunamis until my mom told him. By the way, their own time (Jon’s, anyway) comes rarely and in 24-48 hour periods. This time is precious, and is spent sleeping, eating, cleaning up, and talking to loved ones at home. I applaud Reynolds’ effort to find out what good is being done over there. I just think it’s stupid that a serviceman’s letter to home is expected to be as accurate as a Pentagon report or something. It’s just a letter shedding hopeful light on a dark situation. These “myth”-busters are missing the point. It’s funny how THEY (the article writers) are some of the media folks he’s talking about; people too busy digging up crap to see why the military is actually over there. Missing the point…….

  3. I suppose we had different interpretations of the Orwellian Times page. I didn’t feel like they were attacking Reynolds so much as they were attacking the inaccuracies of the letter. Their breakdown of his letter was primarily done using the same fact sheet Reynolds supposedly used.

    I agree with you about people who simply sit around and attack servicemen. They aren’t worth listening to. On the other hand, just because a serviceman’s job is hard, very hard, does not exempt him from reasonable criticism.

    As for people “digging up crap,” many of them are doing it because soldiers’ lives are on the line. They question the government’s and military’s actions to see if those actions are worth the cost. The cost in dollars, diplomatic relations, and human lives, both American and foreign.

    Now I’m going to throw out a situation parallel to Reynold’s. An Iraqi named Salam sends out an email to his family that’s residing outside the country. The war has been hard on him, he’s had little free time, and only a minimal amount of contact with his family. The letter’s purpose is to emphasize what is, in his opinion, the negative effect the war in Iraq has had. It cites a wide range of statistics, including the number of Iraqis killed, mosques destroyed, etc. His email winds up getting forwarded around the globe, gaining widespread exposure on the web. However, there’s a problem with the letter. While some of the statements are true, others are misleading or just plain wrong. Should such a letter be ignored? Or would detailing its inaccuracies be “digging up crap?”

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