Monday, January 29, 2007


A reader notes, "Heard a narrative story from a soldier in Iraq this morning -- something I've not heard before. The soldier told a riveting narrative about an attack on his platoon, and the bravery of his fellow soldiers. It was something right out of a GI Joe magazine."

Here are a few tidbits from this NPR warnography featuring Benjamin Tupper, "a military trainer stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army National Guard."
Now we found ourselves in a cross fire ambush....Corporal Polanski was the machine gunner...he was the most powerful weapon we had. Bullets and RPGs were raining down on our forces, but "Ski," as we called him, bravely remained in the gun turret....

"Ski" and I were shocked, then we both grinned happy to be alive. Then Ski was shot in the ear....

A burly major stepped out of the first humvee. "What’s the situation here," he said coolly.
"We’ve been surrounded and taken fire for two hours!" I said.
“Surrounded?” A look of amusement rose on his face, “ I LOVE being surrounded!”

The reasonable reader above also asks, "What do you know about this new kind of piece? Is NPR now going to routinely give Pentagon-approved soldier accounts about combat? Or is it likely a one time deal?" I wish I could say that this was a new kind of piece, but NPR is a frequent purveyor of slop from the Pentagon (see this for a prime example). For a striking contrast take a look at Democracy Now! from a few days ago or from today to hear from the military heroes taking on the empire for the sake of our republic.


Porter Melmoth said...

A classic progression: further on in an unpopular war, hero tales are paraded in front of a burnt-out audience. If we know that the soldiers are at least having a grand and gloriously-good time, hell, all is not lost. At least there'll be some good stories to tell. I thought this was supposed to be Rumsfeld's computerized army! Instead, they're fighting WWI-style combat in the 21st century. Oh well, war's better than sex any old day of the week. Better dead with an erection that wimping out on cowardly Viagra (TM)back home. Gazing on in slobbering awe, NPR falls into line, as usual.

Legs said...

You really should do your homework before you write.

If you knew anything about CPT Ben Tupper, you'd know that he is *absolutely not* pro-government. In fact, he is so critical of the government that his friends and family were very shocked when he joined the National Guard.

If you had bothered to Google him, instead of your ridiculously paranoid screed, you could have written about a soldier who has studied the writings of Che Guevara and who helped the Sandinistas battle the Contras during a semester in Costa Rica. Ben Tupper and his commentaries are a precious resource for NPR listeners. He's not a gung-ho, "my country right or wrong" kind of guy. He's just a really good guy who is trying to make a difference in the lives of the people of Afghanistan-- the military is simply a platform for him to do his good deeds.