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Friday, March 21, 2008

TMZ: Recovering missing soldiers is a "ridiculous waste"

TMZ, the celebrity gossip site, has taken a break from posting about Britney's crotch shots, celebrity sex tapes, fashion scandals, and American Idol to opine about taxes and the military. Here's what they had to say:
Former "Bachelor" bachelor Andy Baldwin just got back from the island of Palau in the South Pacific -- not on vacation, on a mission with the Navy. Now let's talk about why we the taxpayers are footing the bill on such BS.

Baldwin was among 20 military types who were on a search mission in the middle of the ocean. What, you ask, were they looking for? A B-24J bomber that went down during the war. Not Iraq. Not Vietnam. No, not Korea. We're talking WWII, as in more than 60 years ago.

Turns out, the military spends $52 million each year to find the remains of missing soldiers -- it's part of the POW/MIA program. That's all well and good depending on the circumstances. But a crash that is ancient history, at a time when the economy sucks and the Federal government is sucking the life out of everyone with taxes??

Baldwin, a Navy medic and diver, and crew found what could be human remains. We're told it's all being tested in the lab and it could take months, even years, to determine identities. At least he got a really good tan.

A poll accompanied the story asking, "Ridiculous waste?", which 48% of TMZ readers responded, "Yes".

How, pray tell, is recovering the missing bodies of soldiers who died defending our freedoms considered a "ridiculous waste" of time and money? Bringing home the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for us is the least we can do for them. It's a commitment we make to them -- in fact, accompanying the popular POW/MIA bracelets, stickers, and care decals is often the phrase "Until They All Come Home" -- and no, lefties, that does not mean cutting-and-running. It means that we won't leave any of our soldiers left behind, that we'll bring them home, no matter where they are or how much it costs to bring them home.

We have an example here in Florida of the torture it is to the families of soldiers whose fate is unknown: Scott Speicher. Scott was originally from Kansas City, KA but moved to Jacksonville, which he then made his home. He joined the Navy, becoming a pilot. He ranked as a Lieutenant Commander. His F-18 Hornet was shot down by an Iraqi surface-to-air-missile on January 18, 1991. He was originally listed as killed in action, but his status was changed to "missing-captured" in 2001. The Navy released a report saying that there was no credible evidence to conclude that he perished in the crash, and believe that he is being held by Iraqi insurgents to this day.

Speicher's name is listed on the Duval County Veteran's Memorial Wall, however --a monument erected to remember Duval County residents who have perished fighting our country's wars. No one knows for sure what happened to Speicher, though -- whether he is alive or dead. The Navy is still searching for him.

The lack of information surrounding Scott Speicher's whereabouts are torturous to his family, but also to the entire Jacksonville community. "Free Scott Speicher!" bumper stickers are a regular sight when driving around town.

Would TMZ consider it a waste if the military was able to tell the Speichers, and his community, what fate befell him? To be able to give him a proper burial, if he did perish, or rescue him, if he is still alive yet being held prisoner?

It is our responsibility to bring back Scott Speicher and all of his comrades, whether alive or dead.

If TMZ can't understand that, then that's unfortunate for them. And maybe they should just stick to writing about things they do understand, like the differences between female celebrities' genitals.

Thankfully, a good number of their readers were insulted, as they obviously understand how important it is to bring our men home. Here were some of the responses:
The military is committed to recover their own. If there is a chance to find the remains of a relative, they will do it. This is a small price the US Government pays to provide service members' families peace of mind.

Spoken by someone who has never lost a loved-one to battle. Stick to following stars, TMZ. Your commentary on US spending leaves something to be desired.

-Someone who opposes war (old and new) but who supports the veterans (old and new) who have fought them.

How could this even be spoken as a possible waste? Many soldiers in any war have been MIA. These family members would give anything to find out what happened to their loved ones and give proper respect and burial. TMZ's stance is pretty clear. Very Sad, Very Sad

I don't think it is too much, not considering they gave their lives for the freedom of this country and the freedom you have right now to report on this story and like the freedom I have to view it and comment on it.

Any American soldier that dies in a ANY war has a right to be brought home for burial! The peeps that think it is a waste obviously don't have any family in the military........

You children at TMZ have no idea of what you are talking about (again)...this program makes certain that we will bring our heroes home, no matter what, for their final resting place. Not all deaths occur in lands where the people are grateful, like the cemeteries in France...and not all deaths occur where an immediate retrieval is a possibility.

Wow, "TMZ Staff." I hope you never have to go through the experience of never knowing what happened to a missing serviceman/woman in your family. These "human remains" which you call such a waste of time and money to identify because they're, what -- too old??? -- are some family's sons, brothers, fathers, even grandfathers. Your coverage I usually find amusing and fun, but this is really callous. Have any of you "TMZ Staff" given ANY amount of time to your country (let alone your life)? Or is your definition of 'danger' the possibility of being run over by Britney Spears? Shame on you. And guess what, I'm a Democrat who is against the war but FOR our servicemen, of ALL ages in ALL wars. Go back to your hanging around on the sidewalk waiting for some vapid star to exit a coffee shop. God Bless servicemen and women who help protect America, in ANY war or action, and YOUR FREEDOM to report and OUR FREEDOM to read about every idiot star's beach butt or denial to a club.

Mary

You obviously have no idea what the word "sacrafice" means. These men DIED protecting our country. Now I know that you liberal hollywood types find this notion hard to understand but some people do love the American way of life. It's much easier to hide a continent away and criticize every move this country makes than to put on a uniform and fight. If there was only $1 left in the budget it should go to this recovery effort because without those pilots there would not be an America. Get a clue and stick to the celebs. You people are a disgrace and a joke. I think Britney just left for the gas station. Now run along.

Those sacred bones belong to US.

The sacrifice made must be honored and respected.

I object to Welfare, giving money to people who can but refuse to work!


Hat Tip: Hot Air

2 comments:

Angry White Guy said...

When I run this country, 3 billion will be set aside every year to find and recover evey single soldier possible.

There is not cost too high to bring home the fallen. Anyone who says differently just doesn't give a crap about the military, or military families.

Anonymous said...

Submariners have what I think is a good tradition. When a submarine was overdue, it was listed as "missing - presumed lost" (that way, the relatives can get the survivors benefits).

The boat remains on the active duty roster (we call it "eternal patrol") unless and until it can be confirmed sunk. When the boat's final resting place is determined, a wreath laying ceremony is held, but the crews' remains remain interred in situ.

Obviously, this is neither a practical nor good solution for ground pounders on foreign soil. They must be brought home. TMZ should try looking up the history of the battle at Chosin Reservoir to understand why.