(WARNING: The excerpts in large bold italics are actual excerpts from the feature that NPR ran on Friday morning.)
(Producer): Kathy, you know my buddies in the Pentagon feel like we're not doing enough to support the war effort. They've loved our pieces on Army Strong, aircraft, drones, and counterinsurgency, but they're a little peeved at Danny Boy's poking into the post-war treatment of vets and said it's hard on the old recruiting efforts. So I told 'em, we've sent Dan as far away from veteran hospitals as we could, and that I thought you might come through with a feel-good gung-ho piece yourself - any ideas?
Lohr: Funny you should ask. I've got a great lead on a Georgia Vietnam Vet who, get this, is reenlisting at the age of 56. I think I could spin this baby faster than a stop loss turnaround! It'd be a great boost for prettying up the Vietnam War with its lies and millions of civilian dead. I can just hear our guest saying "I stood tall in a place of hell with other Americans doing a job that no one else wanted to do. I have no regrets. I'd do it all over again you know. That's what it's all about." I'll be careful to avoid the irony that anyone would be stupid enough to want to join in another illegal, immoral war based on lies and causing over a million deaths (because we definitely don't do that around here).
Producer: But Kathy, the guy's 56. Don't you think he's a bit too old to project the All-American Super Warrior image we want?
Lohr: No, no, no. That's the beauty of it; it'll be the he's old but "more than ready" storyline. I'll be sure to mention his "infectious smile" and that "he's a take-charge kind of guy." We'll get a lot of details about his physical prowess in there, stuff like "in the two minutes allotted for each exercise this 56 year old completes 47 push-ups and 60 sit-ups" and how in a 2-mile run "Owens finishes in 17 and a half minutes then he drops, does another 25 push-ups and runs back to encourage others." God, I get hot just thinking about it!
Producer: Yeah, sweet. I like it. A story like this will help blunt all the bad poll numbers that keep dogging the Decider and the Iraq War. Beautiful.
Lohr: Thanks. I thought you'd like it. And I see it ending on an upbeat call to arms for the glorious struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'll be sure that I mention that "This new, or should I say old, recruit is ready to be back in the thick of things." I'll have to be careful that we actually have him saying, "My intention is to be on the front lines with them and supporting the war effort the best I can," - wouldn't want listeners to think that was me saying that!
Producer: We'll get our web people to put up a real GI Joe kind of page on this war hero, and have Renee remind listeners "To see Tom Owens as he aces his PT test, go to npr.org." If we do this right, I'm thinking that old guy ain't the only one in line for medals from the Pentagon.