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dr3z

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: April 23, 2007, 06:30:48 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan - An Army sergeant complained in a rare opinion article that the U.S. flag flew at half-staff last week at the largest U.S. base in  Afghanistan for those killed at Virginia Tech but the same honor is not given to fallen U.S. troops here and in  Iraq.
 
In the article issued Monday by the public affairs office at Bagram military base north of Kabul, Sgt. Jim Wilt lamented that his comrades' deaths have become a mere blip on the TV screen, lacking the "shock factor" to be honored by the Stars and Stripes as the deaths at Virginia Tech were.

"I find it ironic that the flags were flown at half-staff for the young men and women who were killed at VT, yet it is never lowered for the death of a U.S. service member," Wilt wrote.

He noted that Bagram obeyed        President Bush's order last week that all U.S. flags at federal locations be flown at half-staff through April 22 to honor 32 people killed at Virginia Tech by a 23-year-old student gunman who then killed himself.

"I think it is sad that we do not raise the bases' flag to half-staff when a member of our own task force dies," Wilt said.

According to the Defense Department, 315 U.S. service members have died in and around Afghanistan since the U.S.-led offensive that toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001, 198 of them in combat.

       NATO's International Security Assistance Force said that the flags of all its troop-contributing nations are flown at half-staff for about 72 hours after the service member's death "as a mark of respect when there is an ISAF fatality."

Sgt. 1st Class Dean Welch, who works with Wilt at the U.S.-led coalition public affairs office, said the essay is a "soldier's commentary, not the view of the coalition and not the view of the U.S. forces."

Welch added that such outspoken opinion pieces are rare.

Wilt suggested that flags should fly at half-staff on the base where the fallen service member was working and in the states where they hail from. He said some states do this, but not all of them.

He wrote that the death of a U.S. service member is just as violent as those at the university last week, but it lacks the "shock factor of the Virginia massacre."

"It is a daily occurrence these days to see X number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan scrolling across the ticker at the bottom of the TV screen. People have come to expect casualty counts in the nightly news; they don't expect to see 32 students killed," he wrote.

"If the flags on our (operating bases) were lowered for just one day after the death of a service member, it would show the people who knew the person that society cared, the American people care."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070423/ap_on_re_mi_ea/afghanistan_flag_complaint


mjs020294

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#1 : April 23, 2007, 06:34:03 PM

How ridiculous.  Hardly a day goes by without a service person losing their life in the conflict.  That presents two problems: The flags would ALWAYS be at half mast; and it is detrimental to moral when all bases have flags at half mast.


karen anderson

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#2 : April 23, 2007, 06:41:09 PM

And how are the "American people" responsible for this?

Snook

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#3 : April 23, 2007, 08:07:29 PM

I actually agree with the soldier.  But its actually the media's fault.  As usual.


karen anderson

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#4 : April 23, 2007, 08:08:03 PM

How's that?

Lynch47

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#5 : April 23, 2007, 08:13:49 PM

How ridiculous. Hardly a day goes by without a service person losing their life in the conflict. That presents two problems: The flags would ALWAYS be at half mast; and it is detrimental to moral when all bases have flags at half mast.
Is it any more detrimental to morale then Congress not funding the troops?

karen anderson

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#6 : April 23, 2007, 08:21:24 PM

The troops are fully funded.

Snook

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#7 : April 23, 2007, 08:29:06 PM

How's that?

The media in this country is a joke - on BOTH sides of the political spectrum.  They beat things to death and don't know when to stop.  The way they released and plastered those pictures of the Va Tech killer all over the place was VERY distasteful, in my opinion.  And I'm pretty difficult to offend.  That **CENSORED** bag's goal in mailing that to NBC was to get on TV to shock everyone.  And what did the stupid media do?  Exactly what he wanted, while offending the families in the process.  Just one example of how the media sucks.  Want some more?




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#8 : April 23, 2007, 08:32:03 PM

The media in this country is a joke - on BOTH sides of the political spectrum.  They beat things to death and don't know when to stop.  The way they released and plastered those pictures of the Va Tech killer all over the place was VERY distasteful, in my opinion.  And I'm pretty difficult to offend.  That **CENSORED** bag's goal in mailing that to NBC was to get on TV to shock everyone.  And what did the stupid media do?  Exactly what he wanted, while offending the families in the process.  Just one example of how the media sucks.  Want some more?

The media is a reflection of the public that it serves.


karen anderson

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#9 : April 23, 2007, 08:45:05 PM

how is the public responsible for the flags not being lowered on bases?

Morgan

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#10 : April 24, 2007, 02:23:52 AM

I actually agree with the soldier. But its actually the media's fault. As usual.

As a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, I can't agree more with this soldier. The majority of Americans don't even have a clue that we're in a war. They go about their daily lives without even a thought of the soldiers living in squalid living conditions, risking their lives for their fellow American's safety against terrorism back home.

These soldiers that sacrifice their lives are no less valuable as anyone that died at VT. They've had so much to offer and so much potential, as did the VT students/faculty.  These soldiers are placing the needs of the country above their own. They deserve more than just a blurb in the back of a newpaper or a footnote to a news broadcast.

Lynch47

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#11 : April 24, 2007, 12:26:50 PM

I actually agree with the soldier. But its actually the media's fault. As usual.

As a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, I can't agree more with this soldier. The majority of Americans don't even have a clue that we're in a war. They go about their daily lives without even a thought of the soldiers living in squalid living conditions, risking their lives for their fellow American's safety against terrorism back home.

These soldiers that sacrifice their lives are no less valuable as anyone that died at VT. They've had so much to offer and so much potential, as did the VT students/faculty. These soldiers are placing the needs of the country above their own. They deserve more than just a blurb in the back of a newpaper or a footnote to a news broadcast.
AMEN!!!
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