11/28/04    "Saving Corporal Miller"

Well, Audie Murphy and John Wayne, step aside, here’s the new heir apparent. The presses, the Marines, the administration are all more excited than a four year old at Christmas!  The tobacco industry must be virtually drooling. Who is this man? He’s Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller. I hope I don’t get in trouble for attacking (another Freudian slip, I meant to type attaching!) the copyrighted picture in question http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/iraq/complete/la-fg-marine13nov13,1,7296696.story?coll=la-iraq-complete

I must admit that I am so disenfranchised from mainstream media that his rapid rise to Iconitude caught me by surprise.  I think the rapidity of his rise is symptomatic of the desperation of everyone to put on a good patriotic face for the American Public. What better way than “the face of War”? And what kind of heroics has Cpl. Miller done to warrant this attention? In his own words "I just don't understand what all the fuss is about, I was just smokin' a cigarette and someone takes my picture and it all blows up."  He goes on to say he’s running out of Marlboros and could the tobacco company send some and maybe lower their price a bit. My guess is a C-130 loaded to the roof with Marlboros is on its way to your platoon right now, James, but don’t hold your breath about the price!

It is a helluva picture though! Makes you want to watch “Saving Private Ryan” again, although you can’t watch it on television because it’s obscene. Obscene also are the hundreds of thousands of pictures and film clips from Iraq that show “the other faces of War”.  You can’t see any of that in America without considerable work and searching international media on the internet. Obscene, also are pictures of flag draped coffins returning to their American or Iraqi loved ones. Not obscene is our commander and chief plastered over the internet joyfully flicking his “one fingered victory salute” to any one who disagrees, or the collateral damage from our vice president as he unleashes his F-Bombs at anyone in the way!

A word of caution to James, if he has any future political aspirations after the war:  If you’re a Republican take however many purple hearts or other medals they want to offer you for that scratch on your nose; another inch and that could have been your eye, dude! Play the game right, and in a few years they’ll be talking about how you went on to throttle Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan with your bare hands!

If you’re a Democrat, beware of polished brass bearing gifts of medals and praise. If you accept a purple heart or something in the future, better make sure you damn near died. As a matter of fact, the new going rate for acceptance without question of your patriotic sacrifice for a Democrat appears to be all four limbs at present. But, be ready to be labeled as a PTSD whacko because of it to boot.  Also, pay real close attention to those guys you’ve never met in Mosul or Basra, lest you be blindsided by “Unarmored Hummer Veterans for Truth”, in your young political career. Above all else, don’t ever come home, come to your senses and realize what the war in Iraq was all about.  You might then be tempted to make a statement by spitting your medals into the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial (you won’t of course have any arms or legs to throw with!). You’ll then be branded as a traitorous, unpatriotic, and limbless Gurley-man, certainly unqualified to run against any former Austrian Republican body builders who might be running for president about then.

Wow, that got ugly and not very funny pretty quickly. No disrespect to Cpl. Miller intended, and I really do hope you make it back in one piece. It would be really cool if there was a film career instead of a farm waiting for you when you got home. Most of the time, though the truth is not very pretty, and humor, no matter how black, is just the way that we deal with it.