June 22, 2004
A columnist's reaction to The Green Side
Mike North is a columnist for 6 papers in the northwest GA, southeast TN, and northwest AL area. After reading Major Dave Bellon's letters to his father on The Green Side, he wrote a two part editorial. Below is an excerpt from the first installment.
Maj. Bellon writes his Dad regularly. In his letters, we get a glimpse of the conflict not described by the media. In a letter dated April 14, 2004, Bellon writes, “The real story here that the media is ignoring is how brutal the enemy has been on the Fallujans and other locals who have chosen not to fight. I cannot tell you how many reports I have gotten about insurgents threatening civilians at gunpoint telling them that they will be killed if they try to leave the city or do not let the enemy use their land/homes for attacking us. The enemy takes over houses at gunpoint and tries to draw fire hoping that we will kill innocents so they can exploit it.”
He continues, “I could go on and on about the treachery of our enemy here, smuggling weapons in humanitarian rations under Red Crescent banners, moving arms and ammunition via ambulances, bombing civilian vehicles in order to alienate the people from the coalition....However, the worst are reports that these foreign fighters have snipers in the city that engage the women and children as they try to escape the fighting. It sounds too horrific to be true but nothing is off the table to this enemy. Daily, they fire unguided rockets into the city and then get on the mosque loud speakers to blame the US. On, and on and on....”
I wonder if the reporters and writers back home understand how they undermine the efforts of these soldiers and Marines. Do they even care? Their reportage isn’t going unnoticed. Maj. Bellon told his father, “I sincerely doubt that the Marines have passed by a mosque/minaret where they have not taken fire. We return fire and it is the lead story. The hypocrisy and lies are exasperating. Almost as exasperating as some of our own media's seeming eagerness to believe it or at least report it as fact. I can hardly bear to read CNN as it just disappoints me to know when the heroism and suffering of the Marines in that town has been twisted for political agendas.”
The picture painted for us at home by the networks and major market newspapers may be bleak, and our forces are sometimes portrayed as callous and trigger happy. But Maj. Bellon describes a different picture. “Many people have died during this offensive and during the moments when the adrenaline/anger dies down, it is clear that we have an obligation as human beings to spare as many lives as possible. We also have an obligation to encourage the Iraqis to take some responsibility and ownership of their own destiny.”
These do not sound like the words of a man whose sole goal is to kill Arabs, as some critics have stated.
To the contrary, this is a man who along with his fellow Marines, is risking his life to help the Iraqi people help themselves. The Major also believes that a democratic Iraq means a safer America. “There has been so much bantering,” he writes, “over the past two years about whether or not we should be involved in Iraq as ‘it has nothing to do with Terror.’ Nonsense. Terrorism is what is going on right now, today in Iraq. Al Qaeda and other extremist/terrorist organizations are active in Iraq making it their primary battleground.”
The second part will be published next week. It's refreshing to read a columnist who gets it.
Posted by Deb at June 22, 2004 05:20 AM
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Hey Marine Corps Mom:)
I found you by Googling Dave's name. I think I have dropped by once or twice. I am aFromer Marine's Wife. R was in for eight years and is a veteran of The Persian Gulf War.
Dave is a personal friend of ours and I regularly publish the lettters on my blog he sends home.
I have looked around and really enjoy your blog :) Did the you post the second half of this unbiased repoter's editorial?
Posted by: Rae at July 12, 2004 02:33 PM