Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith

Have you heard of this man? I had not either, until today.

Have you heard of Michael Jackson, a washed-up freak and likely pederast? Oh, you have? You have probably also heard about some lady who ran away from her own wedding, and other trivial people. What strange priorities our news media have.

Have you heard that the United States is engaged in a war? Have you heard that its soldiers are fighting with skill, courage and humanity against a vicious enemy whose sole strategy is the slaughter of civilians? Have you heard that American soldiers destroyed the regime of a dictator named Saddam Hussein, a man of the darkest, filthiest evil? Perhaps you have heard that Mr. Hussein was photographed in his underwear recently. His tens of thousands of victims were often gassed or shot in the back of the head or tortured to death, but I have not heard that they were photographed in their t-shirts. But, you have probably heard about this, too.

But you have not heard of Paul R. Smith. Not on CNN, or NPR, or the New York Times — and certainly not over and over and over again.

Sergeant First Class Smith is the first and onlyMedal of Honor recipient in this war, so far. He died on 4 April 2003. His sixteen men were attacked by over 100 Iraqi troops. On that day he

… braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers.

Much more detail here. Smith not only died heroically, but lived and led with intense professionalism. He trained his men hard, caring only for their lives and not whether he was popular. His life was an example self-sacrificing leadership which everyone in America should know about.

The news media would prefer to treat such men and their lives and sacrifices as “not news” — or as mere numbers in a body count which can be publicized to defeat the cause they died for.

To them, a lie about a Koran in a toilet is news.

A Medal of Honor for a heroic American soldier, husband and father, leader and warrior, is not news.

What is important is not what is reported in the MSM. What is reported is not all the news there is. Seek it out. Be aware. The Internet has destroyed their monopoly.

Never trust these people. They lie by commission, and even worse by omission. What they choose not to talk about is where the real news is.

UPDATE: My liberal wife left a comment so snarky I deleted it. The gist of it was a jeering questions “Have you heard of Pat Tillman”? And saying that since the Army lied about how he died for all we know they are lying about this guy, too, so the news media is right to not trust the Army and to disregard this story. Of course, we have all heard of Tillman. And, of course, the news media was overjoyed when he was killed by accident by so-called friendly fire. A great story, the kind they like. I imagine there were high-fives around the newsrooms worldwide when he was killed. Then, yes, the Army in its usual instinctively dishonest fashion, lied about it and was immediately caught. More high-fives all around for the media, and a few good laughs. But the process for approving a Congressional Medal of Honor requires interviews and witnesses, etc. So, there is no comparison. The facts surrounding Smith’s death were confirmed by numerous eye-witnesses. And, anyway, she proves my point. We have all heard of Tillman, since it is a story of death and failure and squandered idealism and incompetence and disgrace. That is the only kind of story we are going to hear in the MSM. There are others. But you have to dig to find them.

11 thoughts on “Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith”

  1. Lex, your epitaph for Seargent First Class Paul R. Smith brought tears to my eyes. The injustice that our “news” media dealt to him makes me angry beyond words.

    Thanks for publicizing this man’s honor. I would not have heard of him if I had not logged onto Chicagoboyz today.

    At least our Pentagon, and our blogosphere have their priorities in the right place.

  2. Newsweek has gone onto al-Jazerrra to recant its retraction of the story. It’s a good thing they’ve got the first Amendment. I am beginning to wonder if they plan to test its precedence over Art III, Section 3 of the Constitution (Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.)?

  3. James and Bruce — We should not have to read the milblogs or the blogospheric right to know about this man. But the fact that we even have milblogs and the blogospheric right is the only reason why you, and now I, finally, have heard of him.

  4. I think I read about him over at Juan Cole and Daily Kos. Oh, wait… … …no I didn’t. Sorry. I did read one of the Daily Kos contributors, not Kos himself, say on the occasion of delivering the Medal of Honor into the hands of Smith’s 11-year-old son, that Bush was “pandering to militarism”. He goes on to question whether we should be giving the country’s highest award to someone who died in a war, rather than say someone who lived a life for peace, etc…( As to your original post, you can bet ABC will report on this Medal of Honor winner. The report will only be about 2 seconds long as they read the names of all the war dead. No context will be provided. Just his name and rank. Because we don’t have time for heros anymore. Not unless they run away from their weddings or invite children to Neverland.

    Off topic — for anyone who might be older than me, I’m in my thirties, was it THIS bad during Vietnam? The polarization, I mean. And the media bias. And the level of vitriol spewed at our nation’s leaders by the opposition and the wingnuts…?

    I remember my father cussing for the first time in front of me. Abbie Hoffman appeared in some documentary or news segment. I laughed it off. But that’s now how I react when I see Michael Moore. –scott

  5. I was familiar with his story. I read it some time ago in print somewhere. It was quite a spread, complete with graphics illustrating the battle, but I don’t recall any mention of a Medal of Honor, which makes me think that it predated the official announcement of the award. Sgt Smith’s Medal of Honor was reported a couple of months ago in the New York Times.

  6. Serious question: why, &/or how, do you does one continue living with a “liberal” wife? I ask, in this polarized age, to gain insight about a personal relation. I don’t think it’s trivial to recognize that partitioning one’s psychic life, Clinton-fashion, involves a kind of denial of reality, when adjoining compartments contain deeply opposed values. Does tolerance of conflicting views in the civic sphere also require hostility in the sphere of intimacy?

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