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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


THE MEDIA AND THE BODY COUNT GAME.  As the parent of a U S soldier proudly serving his country in the desolate mountains of Afghanistan, it is especially distressing to pick up a newspaper, listen to radio newscasts or watch television news, and be continuously assaulted by the latest body count.

An example is today's Times Union, front page, carrying the AP story headline: Troop toll at 101 for month. The article contains a red color graphic profiling the military death numbers, for the past 12 months.

My son recently sent a ominous letter on the eve of going into combat. He told me that he and his comrades were on a dangerous mission, and some would fall. He told me where he wanted to be buried. He also said, that he and his comrades were facing their fates with the belief that they were doing what must be done.

As each day dawns, I wonder, will this be the day that uniformed officers visit our home with the dread news.

I view the shallow political campaigns of those who aspire to "lead" us. I look around at my neighbors living their lives as if nothing had changed since the 1950's, oblivious to the decline of Albany and America, and to the sacrifices that some young Americans have made, and will make.

I admire those young Americans and share their ideals. For the others, I feel a growing contempt.

As I walk my dogs around the neighborhood, I look at the "Support the Troops-Bring them home now " signs. Nobody wants to bring the troops home more than the parents who have sons and daughters over there - but the troops have a job to do, and they are doing it for us, and for future generations of Americans, just as the troops who fought in bygone wars have done.

Those who really support the troops should fly their flags and yellow ribbons at their homes, and they should send letters and supplies to the troops, particularly those special forces who are living off the land in remote mountains.

To the media, I say: stop playing the body count game with our valiant military.

If the media wants to play a body count game, the numbers are even more staggering, with regard to domestic homicides, automobile fatalities and abortions.

To those politicians ,  political wannabes, and camp followers,  who are politicizing the war on terror, you only aid and abet the enemy and you do a grave disservice to our military men and women. 

We cannot run from the battlefield with our tail between our legs. For now, the front lines are over there. Soon, the home front will be the front line. Political correctness can not govern our response to the threats overseas and at home. 

Rabid political partisanship has deeply divided America. We are in a struggle for our very survival. As President Lincoln warned in the dark days of  the Civil War  " A nation divided- cannot stand".  Is that to be our fate? I suspect that we may have the answer sooner than most would contemplate.


                                                                                   Joe Sullivan



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