Small town girl. Joins Navy. Sees the world. Flies in planes. Hunts submarines. Gets out of military and has 3 kids.


A compilation of stories and lessons learned

Friday, January 27, 2012

Ask.

Among many of the lessons I learned while serving in the military, an important one was this:

Dear Americans, we do not always know what is really going on out there in the big world.  We, as the general public, often have no idea what is happening outside of our immediate circle.  We really have no idea the extent of involvement that our government already has.  I'm not speaking of conspiracy theories. The government is constantly extinguishing fires left and right from terrorist threats, suspect behavior, rumors of weapons, etc. (the list goes on)
 

I know this because I was directly involved with some of them, once upon a time.  We were assigned missions that if the general public knew how many times America was targeted, or suspected threats, they would never sleep another peaceful night.  Rest assured though, that is why we have intelligence analysts, the FBI, CIA, and US military.  So Americans can sleep at night.  These guys (generically used) are out on the front lines, fighting the threats and doing all of the worrying for us- so essentially, the general public does not have to.

However, I feel compelled to say it:  WE ARE A SLAVE TO THE MEDIA.  We only hear what they want us to hear.  Many times it is only a portion of the story- or the story is evaded completely.  Depending on the source, the stories are most often swayed. 

So what are the intentions behind reporting the stories that they do?  Shock value?  To sell a paper?   Or report the truth?  I have yet to find a news station or even a newspaper that is not biased- whether it is politically, demographically, or financially swayed.

I have a good friend that works for CNN.  She has told me before that they continuously have a plethora of news stories bombarding them all day long.  However, she is only allowed to report a very select few.  And yet the way CNN airs the same news stories all day long, you'd think they were out of stories.  Not so much. Consider this before making up your mind about a given situation.

Why are we policing the Middle East, but not African or other countries that are under constant genocide?  Why do we not hear about the other countries under a civil war?  Why not the other events that are stirring continuously across the globe?  What is the motivation of the government and what is motivation of the media?  How do we find out the truth? 

We ask.  

Sounds easy enough, right?

Ask someone who has been there.  Respectfully, ask a soldier who has just come home his or her perspective of what they saw- what their opinion is.  Note their opinion.

Do they believe in what we are doing over there?  Was it all horrible or is there any good coming out of it?  Are we making a difference?  Are we helping or hurting?  Why is it taking so long?  I know many of us have been questioning this since it all began.

Ask many.  The more people you ask, the more opinions you will get.  This in turn can help you be informed on what is really going on before believing the first report you hear. So often, they really just are opinions.  Get the facts.  Are pictures swayed?

Ask someone who has lived overseas what their story is.  Note their story and note where they are from.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone has a perspective.  Even the enemy has a perspective- wrong,
right, or otherwise.

I am ashamed to admit that there have been times I have jumped on a bandwagon without asking the questions.  I hated Jane Fonda- yet I was not entirely sure why.  I knew I was patriotic and heard that she wasn't.  I felt more patriotic because I hated Jane Fonda.  After I did some research- I realized many of the stories I had known about her were untrue.  There were true ones and I watched as she owned up to and apologized during an interview again her wrongs.  Suddenly, she appeared human.  

I would like to think I am a forgiving person and I can only hope that I am still not condemned when I am 74 for the mistakes that I made when I was in my 20's- mistakes that I've since learned from and can do nothing at this point but apologize. Why didn't I look into the whole story?  I didn't ask.

I just read an article from an online magazine that sparked something inside of me.  This is from the blog by Michael Yon.  He is a former Green Beret and now reporter in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  He is also the author of Danger Close and Moment of Truth in Iraq.  He has financed his own trips to report from the front lines.  He had questions that he needed answered.  The following is a piece from his online magazine.  It is from the perspective of an Iranian woman:


25 January 2012  A young Iranian woman has written to me off and on for a couple of years.  Yesterday she sent a note.
I responded in part with a few questions: 

What do young Iranians think about our government and about the Iranian government?  Also, do you think there will be war?
She replied immediately.  I corrected some minor grammar: 

“To make the long story short people in Iran, not just youth, hate the government and want to move out of the country as soon as they can...

“I am a patriot and I will remain one no matter where I am, but lets face it. Things are bad and getting worse as every day goes by. I have plans for my future and do not want to stay in a country where my skills and capabilities are most likely going to waste.

"The Iranians do not hate you nor do they hate ur government.  This is all the media.  The people have nothing to do with the media Michael.  No one is against you here except for those on the government's side.  Unfortunately they’re not few, they’re actually many, but they won’t last forever. Someday this is all gonna turn upside down.  Sometimes I ask myself do I wanna be here for the next revolution?  I dunno ..."  

(to read more about Michael Yon check out the following link:  http://www.michaelyon-online.com/)

I couldn't help but be blown away by this.  What a different prospective that we would never hear in the general media.

Of course we all can't exactly drop everything we are doing and fly to the Middle East to get some answers.  But we do have the responsibility to research before we believe everything we hear- regardless of where we stand on the issues.

We need to start by asking the questions.

4 comments:

  1. Very well said. As Americans, we have privileges that most only dream of and unfortunately we don't use many (if any) of our available resources to form an educated opinion. One of my biggest pet peeves with the media is the saying "on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the media". For one, how reliable can they be?? For two, if you are not authorized to speak to the media then why the hell are you??? Just my two pennies....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so true and very good additional points. Thank you.

      Delete
  2. Great post! And I totally agree. I have parents that totally believe every little snip it of conspiracy theory they hear. Usually, with a little research, I can disprove most everything. The problem is is that there is always a little bit of truth that gets blown out of proportion and embellished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes it does get blown way out of proportion. That's how rumors get started- right?

      Delete