Many have been asking ‘Why there doesn’t seem to be much reporting on what is going on in Afganistan, the Original War of the So Called War On Terrorism!’.

This may explain some of the Surpression!

There is Was another Diary today, over at KOS [it Quickly has Disappeared] touching on this Very Subject:
What’s more important? Condi’s opinion or dead U.S. soldiers?
by peirone [Subscribe]
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 08:24:18 AM EST

We ‘All’ know how we got to the Present Point in time, no need to rehash that[?], except probably for the ‘Sheeple’ of the Current Republican Congressional Leadership and especially the Corrupt Administration and it’s Extremely Dangerous Policies!

Afganistan apparently is No Longer considered a ‘War On Terrorism’ or even a ‘War/Conflict’ but just a plain ole Military Action!

The following is a series of e-mails between a friend of mine Amy Keith, who’s son Jim is presently in Afganistan again, after serving in Afganistan after 9/11 than a tour in Iraq, and ‘The Charlotte Observer’, Charlotte NC.

Amy and her Husband Terry are members of MFSO [Military Families Speak Out] as well as Affiliate Members of Veterans For Peace.

This first E, to me, was as Jim was returning to Afganistan after a 2 week leave. He had Married his longtime girlfriend after his first tour in Afganistan and quickly leaving for the tour in Iraq. They have a son now, born if memory serves me just before he left for present tour in Afganistan.

Sun, 2 Oct 2005 08:50:43 -0700 (PDT)
Jim is winging his way back to the front as I write this. He had to go to Atlanta to fly out. Yesterday, right before he left, he found out that a guy from his comapny had been killed. It appears to be non-combat related–apparently a jeep flipped over somewhere. This did not put our minds at ease as we sent him off. It was a young guy with young kids, and he was Jim’s squad leader in Iraq, so Jim knew him fairly well. It’s coming closer to home.

I sent the following Article to Amy. This and what she mentioned above, about someone Jim knew being Killed, started the series of E’s to the Charlotte Observer

Tue, 11 Oct 2005 05:15:04 -0700 (PDT)
2,000 Dead? Who Cares?
By Mark Benjamin
Monday 10 October 2005
Why is the country so oblivious to the Iraq war’s casualties?

Amy writes back to me:


I sent an e-mail to Mr. Thames, current editor of the CO, wondering why the death of SSgt. James Stoddard hadn’t made it to the war obits page of the paper. Also, according to a Knight Ridder report, another soldier had been killed in Afghanistan about last Friday, but nothing has been said about this soldier, either (He didn’t belong to Jim’s company). Jim said that two other guys from his company were wounded by gunfire while he was on leave. The CO editor said he would ask Knight Ridder why the names of the dead in Afghanistan weren’t appearing in the war obits. Along with Iraq’s invisibility, it seems like Afghanistan has disappeared. Of course, they’re all still there (again) due to the invasion of Iraq and the lack of military personnel to take their places, so maybe that’s it–no one wants to face the fact that soldiers are still dying everywhere due to the bungling of this administration. At any rate, SSgt. Stoddard was buried last Friday at Arlington. Jim’s wife went, along with a group of other FRG wives and families. I’m beginning to hate the times I live in.

This is a News Release from the DoD on SSgt. James J. Stoddard

James J. Stoddard, Jr. Sergeant, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 999-05
October 3, 2005

This E, to me, is in response to the series of E’s below it

Thu, 13 Oct 2005 12:07:37 -0700 (PDT)

Well, isn’t this just a great reply from our friends at the CO to my query as to why the deaths in Afghanistan aren’t reported in the CO? I’m sure the men and women who are shelled on almost a daily basis in Afghanistan will just be pleased as punch to know that their efforts are “less like a war” than those in Iraq. I guess the soldiers who are there for the third and fourth time because of the bungling of their so-called commander in chief in Iraq, and who come home in body bags, are less dead than than their comrades in Iraq.


Amy’s letter to the Observer and Responses:

From: amy keith
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 8:00 AM
Subject: war obits
Dear Mr. Thames:
I’m grateful that the CO has been running the names and pictures of the dead in Iraq on a page adjacent to the rest of the obituaries. However, the names of the casualties from Afghanistan seem to be overlooked on this page. My son, Sergeant Jim Keith, Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division, is in Afghanistan, after serving previously in both Iraq and Afghanistan with the same company, Recently he was home on leave for two weeks. On the day he was to fly back to Afghanistan he learned, therough his Family Readiness Group, that a member of his comapny, Staff Sergeant James Stoddard, had been killed. This past weekend, another soldier was killed in Afghanistan, according to the CO, yet I didn’t see any mention of Sgt. Stoddard, or the name of the other soldier anywhere in the paper.Realizing that the war in Iraq is foremost in everyone’s mind, the soldiers in Afghanistan are still carrying on the war against terrorism and, according to m! y son, are shelled and shot at on a routine basis. In fact, right after Jim arrived in the States for his leave, he found out that two other members of Alpha Company had been wounded. The soldiers in Afghanistan are there because of the war in Iraq. They have been there before but are redeployed due to lack of adequate military personnel. They go cave to cave and put their lives on the line every day, yet I failed to find any mention of SSgt. Stoddard, who was buried at Arlington last Friday. Last April the CO ran a column I wrote regarding the departure of the 2nd Battalion back to Afghanistan. I received a number of e-mails expressing good wishes to these troops. These soldiers deserve recognition for what they do. Many, including my son, have left behind families for yet another year in the desert, searching for al Qaida with numbers that have been depleted by our drawn-out occupation of Iraq, yet their deaths seem to go unnoticed by the Observer, They deserve better.
Amy Keith
Charlotte, NC 28262

From: Thames, Rick
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 9:53 AM
To: ‘amy keith’
Cc: Felsing, Alix
Subject: RE: war obits
Dear Amy,
Thank you very much for your email. Until now, I assumed that we did publish obituaries of soldiers who died in Afghanistan. We certainly want to do so. I will check with our national editor to find out why deaths you know about have not appeared.
Rick Thames

From: “Felsing, Alix” <>
To: Amy
CC: “Thames, Rick” <>, “Batten, Taylor” <>
Subject: RE: war obits
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 11:35:53 -0400
Dear Amy,
Rick passed your message on to me because my team handles the national and international coverage, including obituaries and the tributes to soldiers. We get the tributes to fallen soldiers from the Associated Press, and they’ve been very popular with readers.
You ask a good question about why they don’t include the U.S. military troops who die in Afghanistan.
The AP tells us they focus their efforts on those who die in the war in Iraq (and therefore Kuwait).
They’re not including military deaths in Afghanistan because they view events there as less like a war and more like the many other U.S. military actions around the world.
Please let us know if you have any other questions about our coverage.
Alix Felsing National editor The Charlotte Observer

This E-Mail is from myself to Amy on what has transpired so far:

Thu, 13 Oct 2005 15:39:40 -0700 (PDT)
I meant to write you a couple of days ago on this, now Frankly I’m glad I didn’t untill you had your Answer.
And It’s a Disgraceful One at that!!!
What ‘War[?]’ on Terrorism? Afganistan is Supposedly where it All Started now it’s just a Skirmish? A Low Level Action? Deaths and Whats Going on Not Important?
This Group of Clowns not Only Don’t Think About bin Laden, with Afganistan Notching Up, they don’t Want To Hear About It Neither, just send Troops if Killed/Maimed Whooops Too Freakin Bad the ‘Real War[?]’ is in Iraq, and try and Cover Up That Also!!!
God this Nation has become a Completely Sick Society, with Idiots Leading us to Distruction!!
With your Permission I’m going to pass this on, if you want I’ll leave out your Last Names and other Pertinant information, but Will definantly Use the Contact Info for The ChickenHawk Clowns at the CO!!!!!!!!!
Hope you sent this to Jim and that he Relates it to All Those Serving There as he can!!!
This Is Disgraceful!!!


Amy’s Response to me:

Please pass it on and use my name. I’ve already told Mr. Felsing that I intend to pass it on to VFP, MFSO, Gold Star Families, Congressman Watt, Senators Dole and Burr (if that will do any good), and Major General Swannack. I wrote back to Alix and also Rick Thames and told them that I think they’re a bunch of spineless sheep, and what a shame that the only death in Afghanistan that merits any press is a former NFL player. Thanks for being so mad in my behalf–it’s very therapeutic.


This is Another series of E’s between these parties:

After I wrote my reply back, Mr. Felsing wrote me this letter. I’m sending my reply back in a separate message.


From: amy keith
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:20 PM
To: Felsing, Alix
Subject: RE: war obits
I don’t have any questions, but I do have a comment. I think that line of reasoning is one of the most inane, illogical and insensitive comments I’ve ever encountered from a group of journalists. I’m sure that Sergeant Stoddard’s wife and three children will be glad to hear that comment. What you’re saying is that their lives don’t matter as much as the “war”, which by the way, has never been declared. The men and women in Afghhanistan are under fire every day, and comb the hills and caves along the Pakastani border. This line of reasoning is insane. I’m going to pass along your message to Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, not to mention Congressman Watt, and Senators Burr and Dole, as well as Lt. Gerneral Swannack, the former commander of the 82nd. What you’re implying is that Afghanistan isn’t real combat, because it hasn’t been declared a war. Again, neither has Iraq. Do you mean to! tell me that being shot at on a ! daily basis is l”less like a war” in Afghanistan than Iraq? Shame on all of you for swallowing the Bush propaganda.
Amy Keith

“Felsing, Alix” <> wrote:
Dear Amy,
Please re-read my message. I gave you the Associated Press’s reasoning, because they provide the tributes to us. It isn’t my position, nor is it The Charlotte Observer’s position. We cover the events in Afghanistan as a war in every other way. We are going to call the Associated Press and ask them again to rethink their position. The reality is, however, that we depend on them to provide the information. As a regional newspaper, we don’t have the resources to report these tributes ourselves.
Alix Felsing National editor The Charlotte Observer

From: amy keith
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:58 PM
To: Felsing, Alix
Subject: RE: war obits
I bet, if you really wanted to, you could be in contact with Ft. Bragg or any of the other bases that have soldiers deployed. These guys deserve it. They go out to Pakastani border to rescue fallen comrades, and can’t even chase them across the border. Yet, according to Senator Dole in this morning’s CO, Pakistan is “such a valuable ally” in the war on terror. Do you not think that you have the responsibility to let the world know what is really going on? There are young Americans dying and getting torn to shreds in Afghanistan, and you can’t even make the effort to find out who and when? Has journalism come to the point of reliance on conveniences such as the AP without any thought to truth or compassion? So far the editorial stance of the CO has been in favor, from the beginning, of the occupation of Iraq, but it’s too much trouble to report the deaths of soldiers who are fighting on the other front for the third ! time because of the lack of numbers of the military to support this bungled war.
Amy Keith

From: “Felsing, Alix” <>
To: “‘amy keith'”
CC: “Felsing, Alix” <>, “Batten, Taylor” <>
Subject: RE: war obits
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 21:30:25 -0400
Your questions indicate I need to clarify a few things.
First, we get the mini-obituaries that we call tributes from the AP. They only do deaths in Iraq, and they move a batch of them approximately once a month.
We run them as we have space, and usually run out before the next batch arrives, so sometimes you’ll see a gap of a few days or weeks. (More on tributes below.)
Second, you asked about telling readers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan and when. We can get names, ranks, hometowns and usually the units of soldiers who die in either country, via the Department of Defense, which sends out e-mails with that basic info. The DOD does that only after families have been notified.
We try to run that basic info when the soldier is from a Carolinas base, as soon as we get it. We try to have a staff reporter write about that soldier when they are actually from the Carolinas; again, as soon as we can get information.
So, to answer one of your questions, we are trying to tell our readers when such deaths have local interest. We’re also trying to do it in a timely manner. And we’re trying to be consistent about how we do it.
To answer another of your questions, yes, journalism relies on wire services such as the Associated Press and similar organizations. And it’s far more than a convenience.
It’s a business arrangement that allows news organizations to get stories from around the country and around the world that they might otherwise not be able to get.
It’s not financially feasible for every news organization to have a staffer in every country, but AP comes much closer to being able to do that.
Now, back to AP’s policy for a moment. The AP called me back since you and I exchanged e-mails earlier today, and they have been discussing ways to start doing similar tributes to those killed in Afghanistan.
We will publish them when we get them, which I hope will be soon. The person I talked to did not give me a time frame. In fact, she was greatly concerned that someone there had told us they don’t think Afghanistan is a war.
AP fully grasps the gravity of the situation, she said, and whoever we originally talked to has the wrong understanding of why Afghanistan deaths aren’t represented in the tributes.
She said the AP originally came up with the idea of doing the tributes to fallen soldiers when the war in Iraq started and they realized the death toll was going to be far higher than what we had seen so far in Afghanistan.
I hope you will follow up your earlier complaints about AP’s policy with this updated information, since we had received inaccurate information about their policy.
Alix Felsing National editor The Charlotte Observer

Amy’s letter in Return:

Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 20:36:03 -0700 (PDT)
From: “amy keith”
Subject: RE: war obits
To: “Felsing, Alix” <>
I think this answer is covering a lot of ground , so to speak. It seems more like a smoke screen, honest. The deaths in Iraq are more than “local interest” stories, as the death in Afghanistan should be, I’m sorry–this is not s good enough answer for Sergeant Stoddard, and the rest of the soldiers. It needs to remedied, yes, and soon, but it should never have been an issue. These guys have been fighting the real war on terror since day one.
And, please, you don’t need to “clarify”–I know about the AP and “business arrangements”. It’s a shame journalism has come down to “business arrangements” and the deaths of soldiers have been reduced to “business arrangements” and “local interest”. I get it–deaths of young Americans are worth reporting as long as it’s good business practice. Come to think of it, maybe it did need some clarification.I don’t think I would have believed it if someone hadn’t said it. But, then, this George Bush’s America, and even journalism hasn’t escaped its effects. It’st great to know the AP understands the “gravity” of the situation. This whole exchange feels really absurd–it would seem like newspapers would feel an obligation to publish obits about soldiers without anyone prodding or complaining, especially one whose editorial policy so openly and unwaveringly supported the Iraqi war. Maybe, since it’s such a financial burden and onerous duty for the CO, it’s better to leave the obits to the Army Times after all. Honest. It’s time for us who give a damn to close ranks.
Amy Keith

This is a Final E to me as to All This from Amy:

I got on yahoo news this morning, and there was a report about another soldier killed a couple of days ago in Afghanistan, It was AP, so I e-mailed it to Felsing, and told him that I didn’t even have to leave the country to get the story. I also looked up Sergeant James Stoddard, and there was a news segment that had been broadcast from Carolina News 14, so I passed that along too. Mr. Felsing has made the argument that it’s beyond the scope of the CO “to have a reporter in every country”, and that contributes to their inability to post deaths in Afghanistan. What a pinhead.


My Closing Comment:
Now when Someone Signs the ‘Contract’, as we are Told Over and Over, by the ‘Sheeple’, they Serve Their Country, No Complaints, No Backing Out etc.etc. etc., and Military Personal Understand That To The Point Of Being Lied To, but they follow Orders or Suffer by Disobeying ‘Unlawful Orders’ as they do ‘Lawful Orders’!!
Like the Hiding of the Fallen Returning Caskets is Dishonoring their Service so is Not Reporting their Deaths! For when you Serve you do so For Country not the Few or Just Immediate Family!!!!!!

I would suggest that Everyone Contact their Local Rags and Find Out ‘Why You Are Not Receiving The Reporting Of The Fallen From ALL Military Operations In A Time Of WAR!!!!!!!’

James Starowicz
USN ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In-Country ’70-’71 COMNAVFORV
Member: Veterans For Peace

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