"A few days earlier at a press conference, Major Daniel Chandler said the affected unit over in Afghanistan is keeping its spirits up. He said surviving soldiers know their dead colleagues helped to win that particular battle. [Chandler] 'There were a lot of heroes on that day and they're really rallying around themselves and morale in the 4th brigade combat team is high and it's getting stronger.'"Later in the story Brady talks to a college student whose father was in the army. Brady tells us, "She chose to focus on the sacrifice the soldiers made. [Student] 'I'm more thankful than anything...I'm thankful that somebody at least went over there and did it.'
Brady raps things up by talking to a priest in the area - the rightwing Father Carmody - who tells Brady, "People around here want to make sure that they didn't die in vain, and what I mean by that is, 'Are we going to win this war on terrorism or not?'"
I realize that it must be difficult for any news organization to cover the issue of US military personnel killed in combat. There is the tragedy of young people being violently killed and there are considerations to make for the feelings of the families and friends of those who have died. But could NPR ever - even just once - not use the trite and empty rhetoric of heroics, sacrifice and gratitude to talk about the war dead? Has NPR ever interviewed surviving family members who denounce the leaders and policies that have squandered the lives of their loved ones? When was the last time you ever heard members of Gold Star Families for Peace or Gold Star Families Speak Out interviewed on NPR? Have you ever heard on NPR from men or women who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and then have become resisters of conscience?
It is worth reading the comments under the story at the NPR site. This one really nails it:
"WE SHOULD NEVER 'QUIETLY MORN' THE SNUFFED OUT LIVES OF EIGHT YOUNG AMERICAN SONS, BROTHERS, FATHERS - WE SHOULD SHOUT OUT OUR RAGE AND FRUSTRATION WITH A WAR WE CAN'T WIN AND A PAST PRESIDENT WE CAN'T INDICT - GET OUT NOW"Unfortunately, hoping for such an angle from Jeff Brady (or NPR) is pretty hopeless; when covering an antiwar protest of over a thousand people, he gave all the coverage to a tiny contingent of pro-war counter demonstrators.