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Time to Say We're Sorry


Thanks to the minute-by-minute TV coverage of the Iraq War the American people are being shown what fine men and women we have in our armed forces and how wrong so many Americans were about our Vietnam vets. 

What we are learning from the coverage of the Iraq War is just how good a people we Americans are, and how much credit we owe to those courageous Marines, soldiers and sailors who are showing the world what we are made of. 

For the first time in our lives we are watching a war unfold in real time, and we are seeing first hand what the enemy is doing, which is what our totalitarian enemies have always done in the face of battle. We are seeing that there is good and there is evil in the world and we are demonstrating that we are the good guys battling one of the most evil regimes in world history Ė a regime that will ruthlessly use women, that will use children, that will use mosques and hospitals and schools as weapons. And we are watching our armed forces show they are willing to risk their lives rather than attack these helpless human shields and institutions so callously thrown into harmís way by their own government. 

They do this because they know that we are good. They know that we will not kill women and children to get at them, that we uplift life, we donít needlessly take life. They know that we revere religious symbols, and they donít. They are evil. 

But what has happened in America over the years is that we have been made to feel by our professors, and our schools and our media that we are somehow evil Ė 
that there is no difference between us and people like Saddam and his murderous henchmen. That the other side is always right and America is always wrong. 

But we have seen that difference in recent weeks Ė we have seen women and children forced into a blue van and sent to race through a checkpoint to be killed. We have seen Iraqi forces firing their own missiles into a crowded market place and killing their fellow Iraqis in a failed effort to blame the U.S. for their atrocities. And we have seen U.S. forces go to extraordinary lengths to protect the lives of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, even when to do so put our men and women at risk. 

All this has made me think back to a time when all this happened before - in Vietnam. We didnít have talk radio, we didnít have Fox broadcasting, and we didnít have embedded reporters serving shoulder to shoulder with our troops who could report back to us instantaneously what was going on the ground, where we could see what was really happening, as we can now. 

As a result we had to believe the Cronkites and the Peter Arnetts and their ilk and have them interpret for us what they wanted us to believe was going on in Vietnam -that American soldiers, sailors and Marines were brutal, uncaring killers of women and children while the murderous Viet Cong were simply freedom fighters defending their country from invading U.S. forces. 

This is exactly what Saddam and his regime want us to believe now, but they canít get away with it, nor can the anti-American media mislead us as they did in Vietnam. Thanks to the instant war coverage, our troops donít have to worry about being screamed at and called baby killers as their Vietnam War comrades were. We now know better than that. 

And now that we see in reality what our military is facing - exactly what they faced in Vietnam - maybe itís time for us to go up to a Vietnam vet and say "Now I understand and I just want to say Iím sorry. And thank you from the bottom of our hearts." 

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Premiere Radio Network

By Michael Reagan
 April 9, 2003