Press shirking duty in Iraq

Stars and Stripes - Mideast Edition; Saturday, January 29, 2005
I'm a soldier wrapping up a year in Iraq. I've followed the news all year and warned my family and friends that they are not hearing the full story.

There's been a lot accomplished this past year. Why, they wonder, aren't the achievements of the Iraqis and the coalition being reported? What better way of honoring those who have fallen, and substantiating the sacrifices of all, than by telling the world of their good works? It doesn't make sense. The free press of the greatest free nation on Earth ignores the other half of the story.

Now the Iraqi elections are about to commence, and the American press is busy reporting the gloom and doom of violence. This is exactly the kind of advertising the insurgents need to discourage a good portion of voters.
A tally of the number of schools built, hospitals operational, electricity restored, jobs created... guess it's just too damn boring to sell papers in America. Doesn't reach out and grab viewers like good-old smoke and destruction, does it? But that is desperately needed to fully inform the Iraqi voters - the families with the most to lose from these omissions in reporting, people who will risk their lives just walking to the polls. They'd be very interested to know. The soldiers patrolling their streets would be interested, and relieved, to have the true support of America's free press. The soldiers know the sacrifice. They need to know what their efforts have achieved.
I'm disgusted watching the American press shirk its duty while I fulfill mine. This is not some kind of ratings game. Iraqis and members of the coalition will live or die over this election. If members of the American press were so concerned with honoring our service members, they would report the other side of the story and continue until Election Day in Iraq. In-depth coverage and banner headlines - the Iraqis certainly won't see that on Al-Jazeera!
Capt. James Arceo
Camp Victory, Kuwait

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