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Saturday, October 29, 2005

NY Times VS Corporal Jeffrey B. Starr

What can one say about the NY Times? I used to read it. I read it through college. I read it after. I don't read it any more, because I can never tell whether I am getting news or what the NY Times editorial board feels the news ought to be.

A case in point (and a glaring one) is the NY Times' version of Corporal Jeffrey B. Starr's life and death. Corporal Starr left a letter on his laptop, knowing that it would be his last words if he were killed. He was killed.
Consider it his epitaph, if you will.

The NY Times felt the need to edit his epitaph, and his uncle wrote to Michelle Malkin to set the record straight, who did, writing:
Last night, I received a letter from Corporal Starr's uncle, Timothy Lickness. He wanted you to know the rest of the story--and the parts of Corporal Starr's letter that the Times failed to include.
And here's what they didn't include, according to Corporal Starr's uncle:
Yesterday's New York Times on-line edition carried the story of the 2000 Iraq US military death[s]. It grabbed my attention as the picture they used with the headline was that of my nephew, Cpl Jeffrey B. Starr, USMC.

Unfortunately they did not tell Jeffrey's story. Jeffrey believed in what he was doing. He [was] willing put his life on the line for this cause. Just before he left for his third tour of duty in Iraq I asked him what he thought about going back the third time. He said: "If we (Americans) don't do this (free the Iraqi people from tyranny) who will? No one else can."

Several months after Jeffrey was killed his laptop computer was returned to his parents who found a letter in it that was addressed to his girlfriend and was intended to be found only if he did not return alive. It is a most poignant letter and filled with personal feelings he had for his girlfriend. But of importance to the rest of us was his expression of how he felt about putting his life at risk for this cause. He said it with grace and maturity.

He wrote: "Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

What Jeffrey said is important. Americans need to understand that most of those who are or have been there understand what's going on. It would honor Jeffrey's memory if you would publish the rest of his story.
So what did the NY Times tell of Jeffrey's story? This:
Another member of the 1/5, Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, rejected a $24,000 bonus to re-enlist. Corporal Starr believed strongly in the war, his father said, but was tired of the harsh life and nearness of death in Iraq. So he enrolled at Everett Community College near his parents' home in Snohomish, Wash., planning to study psychology after his enlistment ended in August.

But he died in a firefight in Ramadi on April 30 during his third tour in Iraq. He was 22.

Sifting through Corporal Starr's laptop computer after his death, his father found a letter to be delivered to the marine's girlfriend. "I kind of predicted this," Corporal Starr wrote of his own death. "A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances."

His father, Brian Starr, had been preparing a basement apartment in his home for Corporal Starr to live in after leaving the Marines. Now Mr. Starr plans to turn it into a memorial of sorts, to display Corporal Starr's war ribbons and the neatly folded flag that once draped his coffin. Perhaps he will also install a pool table there to remind people of his son's fun-loving side.

Mr. Starr, an accountant, said he remained convinced that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. But he said he would also like firsthand confirmation that the war, and Corporal Starr's death, were not in vain.

"I'm hoping, my wife is hoping, that we can visit Ramadi," he said, fighting back tears. "And feel safe. And feel like Jeff died for something."
The NY Times should have used the entire quote, or none of it. They edited Corporal Starr's epitaph, which is something you just don't do. It's disrespectful. They made it seem like he knew he would die in Iraq by omitting the fiirst sentence "Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq." And then they omitted why he thought it was worthwhile to die doing what he was doing.

They did it because that's what fitted with their article, but that's not what Corporal Starr thought, and that's not the message Corporal Starr was trying to leave, knowing that these would be his last words to his family. What he wanted them to know was this:
I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark.
Yes, it is. It's one giant mark too. It's the mark that the NY Times doesn't want you to see, because those words contain a challenge to us all and contradict the impression their entire story is trying to convey.

Read their article and see what you think about the story they were trying to tell and their use of Corporal Starr's death to do it. They start the article with the picture and they end the article with his father's words, and now, knowing that Corporal Starr thought he was dying for freedom - for the freedom of Iraqis, knowing that Corporal Starr wrote that he had no regrets in dying for something as important as freedom, knowing that he thought this was the mark he was leaving on the world, knowing that - you can understand why his uncle wrote to Michelle Malkin to set the record straight.

And really, now that you know, you can see that what Corporal Starr's father wants is what Corporal Starr wanted, instead of a pathetic and hopeless statement of a bereaved father. You can see why President Bush's statement "the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission" might mean something to many of our military men and women.

You don't rub out the portion of a person's epitaph you don't like, and this is what the NY Times tried to do. They tried to fit Corporal Starr into the message they wanted to tell, and in doing so they spit on Corporal Starr's grave. What right do they have to do this? Now you know why the armed services despise the media.

Long ago the NY Times stopped believing it should report the news and started believing that it should shape a nation. That was when it became a thick, wordy tabloid with pretensions of grandeur instead of the "paper of record". IMO, Corporal Starr's mark will have a more lasting effect on the United States than the NY Times' attempts to form our collective consciousness.

CPL Starr is a dream subject for NYT historical and factual revisionism- he's dead and thus, can't defend himself.

No doubt the NYT is cursing it's bad fortune that CPL Starr wrote his uncle.

If they only had the decency to curse their own immoral behavior and deceit.
They quoted from that letter, which was really to his girlfriend.

You are right - they have no decency.
OMFG! How DARE they!

I don't even know why I'm stupidly saying that, they are SHAMELESS in their disrespect--no, their disdain--for the military, for America, for everything.

I won't be holding my breath for a correction to the story, either.

Here is an excellent post exposing two anti-Israel falsehoods in today's New York Times.
making a bit much out of it frankly...Noted he wrote it in NOVEMBER, noted his fathers comments were from later period...His son had grown weary of the death and destruction and was planning on an exit fro Iraq that would have him attending school...think EACH are rather choosing their preferred perspective...put it ALL into context is a just a suggstion...Lots went forth and signed up up and served for what were considered ULTIMATE HONORABLES...but lots too have become DISILLUSIONED and have valid questions as to the validity of what was SAID to be honorable and necessary....VALID QUESTONS that need and deserve VALID TRUTHFUL ANSWERS not just marketing PR crappe!!
With all due respect, you are full of it.

The letter was found on his laptop after he died. His own words in the letter make it clear that he meant it to be found if he died. He could have changed it at any time before he died. Where in that letter do you see that he was disillusioned? That's the point.

Your failure to be able to grasp that point says a lot about you, and absolutely nothing about Corporal Starr.

Beth is right - they are shameless in their disrespect. They quoted one sentence out of context to give the impression that he was disillusioned, but that is not what the letter says.

I am sure that plenty of people are disillusioned. Fine. Find one and quote that person. Don't try to edit Corporal Starr's "mark".

By the way, Anon, this is not the first time the NY Times has done this to military personnel.
I can't stand the NYT anymore. They've lost any semblance of decency. This doesn't surprise me but it does sicken me.
my ex-boyfriend was a marine and he went to iraq.we split but i am still friends with his mom and she dosent understand the war and i havent been able to find the words that would really get threw to her. if corporal jeffery starrs personal letter dosent i dont think anything will. this might also get her to realize the news is no better than the tabloidz at the market!
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