Skip to comments.Media Bias: The Press, the Prez and the Parent
Posted on 08/12/2005 7:27:00 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack
A young American soldier is killed in action in what some view as an ill conceived military action. A grieving parent holds the President of the United States personally responsible, and writes the president a letter to that effect. The parent is given a private audience with the Commander in Chief, and leaves disaffected and largely unsatisfied. The parent later relates that during the meeting the leader of the free world makes the implication that the soldiers death was largely his own fault for being too aggressive. The level of media coverage surrounding the story is entirely unprecedented largely by its absence. I of course, refer to James H. Smith. Captain (retired) James H. Smith, is a decorated Viet Nam veteran whose son, Jamie Smith was killed in action in Somalia in October 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. Needless to say, most Americans remain largely unaware of his exchanges with then President, Bill Clinton.
The recent media lionization of Cindy Sheehan provides a stark contrast with the minimal coverage afforded to Captain Smith. If one has any doubts regarding the existence of a bias in the mainstream media, an intellectually honest comparison between the two cases will go far to eliminating them. Since the media insists on telling the story of Cindy Sheehan, it is only proper that an effort be made to tell the Story of Captain Smith:
October 7, 1993
Mr. and Mrs. James H. Smith
10 Mallard Lane
Long Valley, New Jersey 07853
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith:
Hillary and I were very sorry to learn of the loss of your son. Specialist James E. Smith's death is a great loss for our nation, as well as for us personally, and our hearts go out to you in your sorrow.
Our efforts in Somalia have helped bring security and stability where anarchy, famine, and suffering once prevailed. You should know that your son and his fellow service men and women have preserved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Somalis. Your son's courage, and his commitment to the ideals on which America was founded, will long be remembered with pride by his fellow citizens.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Bill Clinton [signature]
President William Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C., 20500
October 25, 1993
As a warrior who was disabled in the Vietnam War and as a father of a warrior killed in action in Somalia, I cannot accept your letter of condolence for the death of my son Ranger Corporal James E. Smith. To accept your letter would be contrary to all the beliefs I, my son and the Rangers hold so dear, including: loyalty, courage and tenacity.
During the battle for Anzio, in World War II, an inept indecisive field commander sent the Rangers into battle where they were slaughtered. Fifty years later the Rangers again were ordered into battle, where they were surrounded and outgunned. But this time it was not the fault of the field commanders. No - this time it was the fault of the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States. Your failure to provide the requested combat support reveals a lack of loyalty to the troops under your command and an extreme shortage of moral courage.
I had the honor to meet the Rangers who fought along side my son and were with Jamie when he died. I heard of magnificent acts of courage and sacrifice. I had Rangers, with tears in their eyes, apologize for letting my son die or their failure to break through and rescue the trapped Rangers. The failure is not theirs, it is yours. Trucks and Humvees cannot replace the requested tanks, armored personnel carriers and Spectre gunships.
As a combat veteran I know that there are no certainties on the battlefield; however, as an Infantry Officer I will always speculate that significantly less casualties would have resulted if you, as Commander in Chief, provided the Rangers with the requested combat support - equipment with which Rangers routinely train and for which approval should have been automatic. The Rangers were pinned down for twelve hours - long hours when the Rangers were fighting for their lives and a Delta Force medic fought to save my son. Jamie bled to death because the requested armor support was not there to break through to the Rangers.
Rangers pride themselves on the Ranger Creed. "Driving on to the Ranger objective", or "Surrender is not a Ranger word" are not hollow phrases to the men of the black beret. These soldiers understand the word tenacious and wanted to complete their mission. As Ranger after Ranger told me, they were hitting Aidid's forces and command structure hard. But, the United Nations was actually impeding Ranger missions by offering sanctuary to Aidid's supporters. Your willingness to allow this dangerous situation demonstrates a lack of resolve in supporting the men you sent into battle.
My son is no longer here to "Lead the Way"; however, I am. Until you as President and Commander in Chief are either willing or able to formulate a clear foreign policy, establish specific objectives and, most important, support the men and women in uniform, I will "Lead the Way" in insuring that you no longer send America's finest to a needless death. When you are capable of meeting these criteria, then I will accept your letter of condolence.
James H. Smith
On May 12, 1994, Captain Smith was called to provide congressional testimony, the full text of which has been archived online. The MSMs inattentiveness to Captain Smith is likewise, not the result of Captain Smith going away, and he apparently is willing to speak when asked. As recently as 2002, Newsmax.com provided the following account of an interview of Smith conducted by WABC Radios Steve Malzberg:
Disabled Vietnam vet retired Capt. James Smith, whose son James was killed during the disastrous raid in Somalia memorialized in the movie "Black Hawk Down," took exception Sunday to ex-President Clinton's recent attempt to blame President Bush's father for the 1993 debacle during a recent interview with Washington, D.C., TV station WJLA.
"He seems to forget that when Bush number one sent troops into Somalia he sent them in by the tens of thousands. And they had complete armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, air cover support," Smith told WABC Radio's Steve Malzberg.
While Bush the elder was president, the Somali warlords "decided to keep a low profile because they knew if they stuck their head up they were going to get it shot off," he insisted, adding, "So Bush number one did it correctly."
But things changed when President Clinton took over, the former soldier told WABC.
When his son's Ranger unit was sent to Mogadishu to capture notorious Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Adid, they didn't have the artillery, helicopter gunship or tactical air support they needed, he told Malzberg.
Smith's comments were prompted by Clinton's recent attempt to dodge responsibility for the episode, where he told WJLA, "Now, you know, I didn't blame [President Bush's] father for Somalia, when we had that awful day memorialized in 'Black Hawk Down.' I didn't do that."
Although then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin was forced to resign over the deadly blunder, Smith said he had no doubt that the decision to under-equip his son's unit came directly from the White House.
When he testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the episode, the former soldier said reporters privately agreed, telling him, "Les Aspin had nothing to do with this. This was a White House decision."
"They knew how the White House works. They knew there was no way Les Aspin made that decision on his own."
Smith recounted his trip to the White House to meet Clinton, an invitation he suspects was prompted by advanced word on his damaging Senate testimony.
Instead of taking responsibility, the Vietnam vet said, the president "blamed Les Aspin, he blamed the Defense Department, he blamed the Joint Chiefs ... he blamed everybody except himself."
At one point, Smith recalled, Clinton even attempted to blame the Rangers "for being too aggressive."
"There were three fathers there," he told Malzberg. "The three of us just leaned over instantaneously and he backed off of that one."
After the exchange, Smith refused to shake the commander in chief's hand, handing him instead a 3rd Ranger Battalion patch.
"Don't forget them," he remembered telling Clinton.
"I honestly believed that the Rangers had died in vain, that the failure to provide proper combat support would have made the difference," he lamented.
Capt. Smith also revealed that he has another soldier son now in Special Operations who recently served in Afghanistan.
During a recent conversation with his son's Special Ops commander, he asked, "Sgt. Major, are we doing this one right or is this just a knee-jerk reaction?"
After a moment's hesitation, Smith said the commander responded, "Sir, we've got a real commander in chief this time. This time we're doing it right." :
Needless to say, Captain Smiths remarks have nowhere the visibility as do those of Ms. Sheehan.
Both Jamie Smith and Casey Sheehan are American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. The parents of both have reacted in the manner they both no doubt see as appropriate, and while I believe that Ms. Sheehan is doing a disservice to the memory of her son by politicizing her reaction, those on the left could make a similar argument that Captain Smith has done the same. My conclusion then is not about either Captain Smith, Denise Sheehan, or for that matter about Bill Clinton or George W. Bush. My conclusion and final remarks are reserved for the mainstream media whose bias in regards to these events is blatant and utterly contemptible in scope. Our Founders saw fit to guarantee the press freedom to keep watch over our government, and generations of soldiers like both Smiths and Casey Sheehan have bled to preserve those freedoms which the press has abused, perverted and warped, and it is ultimately the media who spits on the graves of our fallen service members.
A thread that has so many references needs to be bumped.
Like so many of us here who remember Somalia and the Rangers,I am again reminded of the media double standard.
The old media is once again today the cheerleader for those who want America to fail and for fear and loathing to replace principle and perseverence.
This old so-called mainstream media truly is a Fifth Column.
Thanks for the post. Excellent. I'm sending it to my brother. Former Ranger and retired Special Forces. He knew a couple of the soldiers that died in Somalia. He can't stand the MSM either.
Excellent thread. Have any of the MSM told how this grieving mom had nothing but praise for President Bush after her meeting with him at first? Wonder who helped her change her story?
FRiends......Pinging you to a 'Must Read' thread.
The piece is very touching and reminds us why we come to FR day after day .....to kick some serious MSM butt!
Thanks so much.
Thank you verty much....BUMP for the Monday a.m. crowd....
Thank you for this thread and the research to put it together.
"has been archived in the Congressional Record at the Library of Congress (see full text in Reply #13, below).
If you have a ping list, could you add me? Thanks.
I'll keep you in mind on future posts; Thanks for your interest!
Right here Rush!
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