LEFT OF DAYTON

Military Responds To 7 Soldiers’ Critical Op-Ed in ‘NYT’ On Iraq | August 22, 2007

Reproduced from Editor & Publisher  

http://www.editorandpublisher.com

By Joe Strupp

Published: August 21, 2007 11:05 AM ET
NEW YORK Military officials responded Tuesday to a unique New York Times Op-Ed column by seven U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq that had raised concerns about the operation there, saying they had the right to voice their opinions — but urged readers to take other viewpoints into account.

“The individuals’ perspectives expressed in the New York Times reflect their unique ‘boots-on-ground’ experience,” the statement from the Multi-National Force Iraq press command in Baghdad, sent to E&P this morning, reads, in part. “While they are in their own right valued and important, each perspective is going to be different based on an individual’s assignment. Ultimately, it is context in such a historic and monumental effort which remains paramount in conveying the significance of their contributions, service and sacrifice.”

Military officials gave no indication in their statement that any disciplinary action would occur, and appeared to support the soldiers’ right to express their views. “We offer soldiers a variety of means by which they can express their personal views, provided they don’t compromise Operational Security or Army regulations,” the statement declared. But it also pointed out that their perspective was only one viewpoint.

The statement is in reaction to the Op-Ed, published Sunday, which raised troubling questions about the U.S. actions in Iraq, as well as press coverage.

The bylines and blurbs at the end identified the authors as follows: “Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.”

Among the column’s statements: “In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a ‘time-sensitive target acquisition mission’ on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.)”

The soldiers, with the 82nd Airborne Division, concluded: “In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.”

The military’s response today observes: “It is important to note that as individuals voice their opinions on matters, that those viewpoints are representative of their personal perspective,” the statement continued. “With approximately 160,000 Americans serving in uniform here in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, you’ll probably get that many different perspectives if you ask each of them.”

The entire military statement is posted below:

********************

We are proud of the intelligence, determination and grit of our
soldiers, and we recognize they each have tremendous and unique insights borne through personal experience. We offer soldiers a variety of means by which they can express their personal views, provided they don’t compromise Operational Security or Army regulations.

It is important to note that as individuals voice their opinions on matters, that those viewpoints are representative of their personal perspective. With approximately 160,000 Americans serving in uniform here in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, you’ll probably get that many different perspectives if you ask each of them.

The individuals’ perspectives expressed in the New York Times reflect their unique ‘boots-on-ground’ experience. While they are in their own right valued and important, each perspective is going to be different based on an individual’s assignment. Ultimately, it is context in such a historic and monumental effort which remains paramount in conveying the significance of their contributions, service and sacrifice. We’d refer you to their parent unit to determine their individual standing within their units.”


Joe Strupp (jstrupp@editorandpublisher.com) is a senior editor at E&P.

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1 Comment »

  1. What a load of bullshit. The perspective on the ground is good enough for Petraeus but not for anybody that disagrees with The Party.

    Comment by audendi — August 22, 2007 @ 7:07 pm


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61 Y/O VIET VET WORKING FROM THE LEFT OF CENTER

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