What the Major Meant to Say...
During one of our earlier eliminations of evil, that one in Vietnam, the young men
sent out to die for a presidents re-election were known as grunts.
Todays young men are known as heroes, and will continue to be unless
sufficient numbers of them begin to come back in body bags. At that point we
will lose our enthusiasm for the whole thing, and they will turn back into
But basically they are the same young men -- we would say boys if they werent
wearing uniforms -- as they always were: no Greater and no Worse than any other
Generation, no matter what Tom Brokaw thinks.
However back then when heroes were grunts, reporters were still permitted to
talk to them. In fact reporters could even go into combat right along with
the grunts and die, which quite a few did.
This made it harder to spin the press, although patriotism compelled the
Pentagon to do its best. These efforts inspired unknown jokesters to produce a
sort of Samizdat tape which circulated widely in Saigon in those days. It was
called What the Major Meant to Say.
The tape purported to be of a pilot being interviewed by a reporter while a
lieutenant from Air Force public relations sat in. It went something like
Reporter: How was anti-aircraft up there today?
Pilot: Oh, man, those commie m___________s just shot
the living shit out of us.
Lieutenant: What the major meant to say was that his squadron encountered stiff
ground resistance from entrenched communist artillery emplacements.
Reporter: At least you got the bridge, though.
Pilot: F__k, no. With all that shit they was throwing up at us we completely
missed the c________r.
Lieutenant: What the major meant to say was that he and his men heavily cratered the
approaches to the Dim Sum Bridge.
And so on.
Fast-forwarding over a half-dozen or so of our subsequent victories over evil
to the present one, we stop on the New York Times of February 21. Here
we learn with relief that Lieutenant Slithertongue has made it through the
During the bombing and subsequent ground actions, news reporters have
had difficulty getting first-hand access to areas under the control of
American troops. Ten days ago, a Washington Post reporter, Doug
Struck, wrote that troops held him at gunpoint rather than let him approach
the scene of a remote missile strike on suspected members of Al Qaeda.
A military spokesman later said that Mr. Struck was detained for his
protection. The spokesman said that one soldier, whom Mr. Struck believed had
threatened to shoot him, was actually saying: For your own safety, we
cannot let you go forward. You could be shot in a firefight...
...and Mommy certainly wouldnt want that to happen to her little reporter,
now would she?