Do you know the difference between a fairy tale and a war story? 

One usually starts ‘Once upon a time…’ the other usually starts ‘No shit, there I was…’

I stumbled across the following article ‘US Military Agriculture Team Succeeds Despite Taliban’.  As I read it my mood & thoughts went from curiosity, to incredulous disbelief. The more I read the more I wondered what in the world was this guy thinking?  Why would he embellish his war stories to such extremes? 

I can’t even chalk it up to different perspectives leading to different realities as I wrote about here; he was stating things as fact that are easily refutable – after all I was here last May; the same place he was, just 2.5 months after he left and I have now been here (the same place) for over 5 months. 

This is pure and simple a fabricated war story.  This guy is not alone.  If I had a nickel for every embellished, fabricated, inflated war story I would be a rich man.  But why do people feel the need to do that, especially when it is going to be in print versus just shooting the shit while sitting around drinking a beer?  I just don’t understand…

 
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About danbohmer

...just another guy moving through life Everything posted here is my personal opinion and in no way reflects an opinion, thought or representation of anyone else or any organization.

2 responses »

  1. Luke Heikkila says:

    Thank you for both bringing attention to the article and providing your sense of how things are going. I’m not going to defend the writer, or accuse the Soldier as embellishing, I wasn’t there and I know everything can be, and often is, written from ‘a moment in time’ perspective. Sands shift, changes happen,

    I will give my two cents as a television journalist. First, I will say Soldiers should know their audience. To your point, the Interviewee wasn’t sitting around after a mission, eating a Clif bar and watching a movie with his battle buddies, his story is being told to a third party who, in turn, is sharing with the world. There is privilege and pressure associated with speaking on-behalf of many. Both for the journo and the Soldier.

    Second, TV and video are different than print. With video the interviewee should know that s/he will be depicted as they are. With print it is easier to hide behind a veil of anonymity.

    From my perspective, the perspective of a soon-to-be embedded journalist, it can be easy to be caught up in the newness and impressiveness of the Military situation and I am being placed in. I can see the potential allure of going after the sexy story and working hard to find the interviewee who will provide the dramatic headline that will get noticed and picked up by others. It’s easy for a journalist to fall into this trap, it could also be easy – I am only guessing – f or a Soldier to get on a role and give the journo what s/he is looking for. Rather than letting the story come naturally imposing your will can, though shouldn’t, happen.

    What did the comment about shaking hands with and wanting to smoke the heads of Taliban add to the article? Drama. That single ‘sound bite’ turned the piece into more of a human interest story and less of a mission-related story. Human-interest definitely has its place, but I didn’t think this article was going to go there.

    With this reply I hope I’m tipping my hand enough to allow you, and others you’re serving with, in on where I’m coming from & how I feel about the honor of accurately telling ZADT’s story.

    • danbohmer says:

      I understand what you mean about not wanting to judge/accuse the guy. My immediate reaction was to leave a comment on the FB post where I originally saw the article or at the newspaper website, but I didn’t. I thought it would be best to leave it alone and instead I shared the article with a few others around here so we could all have a little chuckle. I had printed a copy & someone put it back on my desk with a little note & I decided to do the blog thing with it…Anyway, his fantasy was the catalyst for the post, but as I said the big stories only get bigger with time…thanks for reading/commenting.

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