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Bochco Bites Back (with Gums)

By Michael Fumento

The following pathetic responses (with my replies) are from the PR stooge for Steven Bochco's anti-war, anti-reality FX series Over There concerning my critique.

Dear Mr. Fumento,

I'm writing in response to your column in the New York Post this morning.

In the future, feel free to call me if you have any questions about any programs on FX or need production notes on any of our programs. I would be happy to provide you with materials you need to write a more informed column.

It's obvious to me that you have no knowledge about the background of the military technical advisor for Over There. I think if you would have asked, you would know that he is, to use your word, a "true" military technical advisor. He is a former U.S.M.C. Staff Sergeant and his ten years of service included an 11-month tour in Iraq where he was a Fire Power Control Team leader with an ANGLICO unit.

While there have been some complaints with regard to the authenticity of the pilot (first) episode, the majority response from soldiers and military personnel was much more positive/favorable with regard to episodes two and three. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of reviews written about Over There were good to outstanding. The only negative reviews the show received were written by critics who believed that the series should have taken a political position but did not.

To buttress your opinion of Over There based on one posting from an antiwar blog is pretty weak. Yes, I know, you could have found plenty more postings to support that antiwar premise. That said, I assure you that I can provide you with as many, if not more, emails/blog postings/letters/etc. from soldiers/veterans of OIF that have a favorable opinion of Over There.

I respect the fact that you were an embed and have personal knowledge of what it is like in Iraq. I know other journalists who were embedded in Iraq who have seen the show and happen to believe it is an accurate depiction of what soldiers face in Iraq. They recognize that the series takes dramatic license at times but they clearly understand it is not a documentary. I screened the first three episodes individually for several soldiers who had served in Iraq and they had a few criticisms, but overall they believed the show got it right. Tony Perry, the military staff writer for the Los Angeles Times who was also embedded in Iraq, screened it for a dozen Marines who had served at least one tour in Iraq, most of them had served two tours. You should read his article published in the Los Angeles Times (July 27) to see those soldiers' comments.

Finally, I respect the fact that you're entitled to your opinion and it's fine if you don't like the show. However, for you to write that the military technical advisor on Over There deserves the firing squad is reprehensible. He has served our country honorably, fought to protect our freedom and has first-hand experience of service in Iraq. If you had bothered to pick up the phone and ask a question, I can only assume that you probably would not have written such an insulting and irresponsible comment.

Please feel free to call because I really would like to discuss this with you.

Sincerely,
John Solberg
Senior Vice President, Public Relations
FX Networks
[phone number omitted]

Dear Mr. Solberg:

Right. That's why a unit couldn't get air support for 36 hours, instead of the usual less-than-30 minutes. That's why the squad had no reinforcements, no artillery, no armor, and even the heavy machine guns on the two Humvees present weren't used. That's why the enemy marks its IEDs with white flags, to make sure to warn off Americans. That's why the Humvee gunners (yes including episodes two and three, the "more accurate" ones) have no shielding? It's why a missile or bomb would be used to take out 20 Stingers in episode three, making it virtually impossible for forensics to determine all could be accounted for. (Yes, I know that was necessary to the plotline to make the intelligence officer a liar and make the Americans ruthless killers of civilians.) It's why even though some members of the squad carry grenade launchers only one grenade was fired during episode one with none during those oh-so-accurate episodes two and three.

In episode three, the GIs question why an airstrike would be used against two terrorists, without wondering why they won't fire grenades or a mortar and wipe them out within minutes. Oh, but wait, even though they're an infantry unit they have no mortar! It's why EOD simply fails to show up to disarm or detonate a car bomb in episode two, even though the incredibly-professional EOD makes it a point to be on-scene in 30 minutes if possible. And sure, legs can keep moving forward even everything above the waist has been blown clean off with that one fired grenade. After all, Washington Irving's horseman rode without a head! Does a former Marine who served in Iraq really not know all this? Even the water bottles are wrong! Evian in Iraq? No, Mr. Solberg; Iraq is not LA. Americans in Iraq get their water from a Kuwaiti company, not the French. I could go on and on, but to what avail. You either haven't got a clue or you do have a clue and don't care. All you care about is making money and slamming the military and the war effort generally.

Nor do I care about the favorable reviews you've gotten; that's just the blind and biased following the Bochco. I would recommend to you the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article of July 26, 2005. I believe the title speaks for itself: "These soldiers say 'Over There' is 'bogus.'"

If your military advisor does give accurate advice, then you're overriding him at every turn and he should have resigned in disgust. Since apparently he hasn't, he sold out the uniform I and so many others have proudly worn. But maybe a firing squad would be too harsh; he should just suit up and have a real soldier rip every patch off his uniform.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

Dear Mr. Fumento,

I did read the Seattle P-I story but evidently you didn't read the LA Times story or have no desire to read anything from anyone who said positive things about the show because it doesn't fall in line with your opinion.

I will stand by what I said about our technical advisor. For you to claim that he isn't a "real" soldier is offensive. You know nothing about him because you don't care to know anything about him.

Also, you shouldn't make any assumptions about my political position just because I live in LA. My father spent 26 years in the Air Force and I have always supported our military and will continue to do so.

Sincerely,
John Solberg

Dear Mr. Solberg:

I briefly listed 14 errors in the first three episodes, some small and some stunningly huge. Your response is that of the consummate politician: "I will stand by what I said." You didn't respond because you COULDN'T respond. You've got a rotten little show and you know it.

To repeat: We have three alternatives concerning your carefully-selected "military advisor." He's totally incompetent, he's a liar, or he's willing to see his advice constantly ignored for the 200 pieces of silver you tossed him. I suggest putting him in a locked room with a real Marine for 15 minutes and let's see what "conversation" ensues.

Finally, if you call portraying our troops fighting each other with knives, beating and torturing prisoners, not being able to show up to disarm a bomb or even fire a grenade, and bombing civilians for the sake of it when even for military reasons it would have been much smarter to launch a raid as supporting the military then I guess we should say the same of Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War. When will we be treated to footage of you or Mr. Bochco getting behind an anti-aircraft gun and pretending to shoot down American planes?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

August 21, 2005 07:20 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (0)

Sorry Vanity Fair, Gulf vets aren't keeling over like tenpins.

By Michael Fumento

Sir:

I'm an army officer currently serving in Iraq. I also have a blog where I spend most of my time countering false or misleading information regarding our actions and mission in Iraq. I've started getting spammed by a leftist who is quoting a Vanity Fair article on depleted uranium and Gulf War Syndrome, which claims that more than half of Gulf War vets are on disability. This sounds like an absurd number and I know from my own experience that the vast majority of disabilities are for things like back and knee problems that come with an older force, but I don't have the stats to prove it.

Any research that you could point me to would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
[omitted]

That number is being thrown around by nutcases like Joyce Riley and Vanity Fair just reprints them. VA used to have a webpage with these data which was very handy but they took it for some reasons. On the other hand, check out this medical journal article from June:

It concludes, "Ten years after the Gulf War, the physical health of deployed and nondeployed veterans is similar."

And you'll find Gulf vets are no sicker than non-deployed controls. In the few areas that it seems like they might me, note that fibromyalgia is a quasi-real disease (it basically means self-reported but non-palpable muscle aches), chronic fatigue syndrome is generally a scam, and dyspepsia means self-reported but non-palpable stomach problems.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

August 21, 2005 06:56 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (0)

Viva Fidel!

By Michael Fumento

An interesting exchange with an editor who objected to my Nativo Lopez piece:

What experience do you have as a Black [sic] person the [sic] condemn Jessie and Sharpton the way you do, especially when your article is about a Hispanic?

No fan of Jessie and Al here, just curious about your motivation. And who do you esteem [sic] to be worthy leaders for Blacks [sic]?

I thought Kerry was a good leader for Whites [sic], but look what happened.

I think [radical] Noam Chomsky will be a good leader for them too.

Heck, I think Fidel Castro is the PERFECT leader for Whites [sic] - if only they'd ask me.

[omitted]
Community Editor
[one of the Scripps Howard newspapers in Minnesota]

I would have thought you'd have gotten the idea from my column criticizing a Hispanic that I don't subscribe to the notion that it's forbidden to criticize someone outside your own racial or ethnic group. I am a homo sapien; they are homo sapiens. That is my standing. Those they oppress are human beings; that is my motivation. Please reread my column so you can see that I used Lopez as an example of what can and should happen to black demagogues; that is why they are mentioned.

I could give specific names of blacks who have shown good leadership qualities, but fact is you could pluck any black person off the street and have a nearly 100 percent chance of finding somebody who cares more about blacks than either Jackson or Sharpton because those two jokers are so obsessed with self-promotion that (like Lopez) they're constantly trampling their own people. As for your choice of white leaders, I think it's probably good nobody has asked you. But while you cannot have Kerry or Chomsky as your leader, you certainly can have Fidel. I hear tell the weather is also better in Cuba than in Minnesota. Are you planning to move?

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

August 18, 2005 10:42 PM  ·  Permalink  ·   ·  TrackBack (0)

Beautifully said (from a soldier's wife)

By Michael Fumento

Dear Mr. Fumento,

Thank you for your column in the August 8, 2005 edition of the Press Journal (Vero Beach, FL). As my husband makes his way to Afghanistan, we have two very close friends and a nephew that have returned from Iraq.

It pains me to read the paper and see the negativity imposed by the media (and now the TV show "Over There"). I thought being a journalist meant reporting the news in an unbiased forum. All I can see is Bush bashing and disrespect to all of the families who have loved ones over there or loved ones who have died. There is no better way to make a family feel worse then they already do when their loved has died then to tell them and the public, over and over again, what a waste, through a medium such as the media. I actually do not read/watch anything to do with Iraq or Afghanistan on purpose because I know better. I know why we are over there. I, along with my four children, support my husband and respect the reason(s) he is there. Do we like it? No. Are we concerned for his safety? Absolutely, everyday. But I would never tell him I do not believe in what he is doing or what this country is doing. That is un-American. Can you imagine if they were journalist for those countries? How many do you think would be causalities for speaking out against their government? It is amazing, when in the comfort of our home, behind our high speed internets, cell phones, blackberries, etc, that we forget why we can have such a strong opinion and print it in a newspaper for all to see. You know better than anyone, the deplorable conditions the soldiers are faced with on a daily basis. Do they actually think that spewing negativity is going to make them come home faster? All it will do is show terrorists that America does not back up its President or the men and women serving or those who have died. In the mind of a terrorist that may mean there are "Americans who do not believe in their government, lets attack again and make them hate their government more to put pressure on the President to pull out". Am I the only who sees that? Clearly not and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Trish Walsh

August 17, 2005 09:54 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq  ·  TrackBack (1)

Cindy Sheehan Watch II

By Michael Fumento

Saint Cindy Sheehan, martyr by proxy, is still trying to stretch her 15 minutes of fame and she is up to 4,200 hits on Google News. Problem is, as sympathetic as the MSM is to her cause they're just plumb running out of new things to say about her. Maybe they're also getting the idea that readers are getting tired of the nonsense. In any event, the more we hear the less sympathetic she becomes.

Here are some excerpts of a speech she gave to Veterans for Peace at Any Price just before setting off for those 15 minutes:

  • Then we have this lying bastard, George Bush, taking a 5-week vacation in a time of war.
  • So anyway that filth-spewer and warmonger, George Bush . . .
  • You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East.
  • The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country.
  • You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine
  • And if you think I won't say bullshit to the President, I say move on, cuz I'll say what's on my mind.
  • Another thing that I'm doing is -- my son was killed in 2004, so I'm not paying my taxes for 2004. (Um, I wouldn't try that Cindy.)
  • When I was growing up, it was Communists. Now it's terrorists. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything.
  • I got an e-mail the other day and it said, "Cindy, if you didn't use so much profanity there's people on the fence' that get offended" And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god-damn-it? How, in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence'?"

And then there was this:

  • I don't want him to exploit the honor of my son . . .

No, that's your job; right Cindy?

August 15, 2005 10:01 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (2)

Cindy Sheehan Watch

By Michael Fumento

Cindy Sheehan, riding to fame over her patriotic son's body but claiming she's being ignored by the MSM is now cited in over 3,000 mentions recorded by Google News. That includes an above-the-fold story in Saturday's Washington Post. Maybe she has a target, like 10,000 media pickups, and then she'll stop lying about how Bush treated her and go home. Speaking of which, my friend Michelle Malkin nicely documents the "Will the real Cindy Sheehan please stand up" phenomenom.

August 13, 2005 05:43 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (0)

Hollywood's Hatchet Job

By Michael Fumento

Mike:

Are you surprised [regarding the TV show "Over There"] that Hollywood would do a hatchet job on the Iraq war? I was in Vietnam and the hatchet job done on it and us should have been a indication of things to come. Perhaps during a lull in the War On Terror, we can have a war on stupid and declare war on Hollywood.

Richard Jansen

Dear Richard:

1. No.
2. Nice idea! I'd like Steven Bochco to put a bomb in his Rolls Royce and drive it into Alec Baldwin's house.

Sincerely,
Michael Fumento

August 12, 2005 12:04 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (0)

Poor Cindy Sheehan!

By Michael Fumento

Poor Cindy Sheehan, the mother seeking to embarrass the president and gain fame over the body of her son killed in Iraq. Shortly after her son died, she got her wish to meet with Bush and said he was very sympathetic. Now the story has changed slightly, as she claims he seemed almost gleeful at the time. Really? Her latest complaint, as reported in the Washington Post, is that "the mainstream media have not paid enough attention to her cause." Hmm... I just checked "Google News" and found almost 1,800 items referring to her. That same mainstream media normally greets the completion of a major construction project in Iraq with zero items. Sheehan may be vicious or highly disturbed, but she knows how to play the mainstream media like a fine musical instrument -- not that the MSM don't want to be played.

August 11, 2005 09:32 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (3)

Fat Activist Paul Campos Strikes (Out) Again

By Michael Fumento

As per always, fat activist Paul Campos ignores the data linking overweight and obesity to illness. For example at Tech Central Station, one of my favorite websites, he writes "Consider [Bill] Clinton's allusion to a supposed epidemic of Type II diabetes among children. This has become a central claim of the public health establishment's anti-fat warriors, and it has been repeated in literally hundreds of stories in the major media in the last couple of years. Something you won't find in these stories are statistics regarding how many children actually have Type II diabetes. The reason is simple: Type II diabetes remains very rare among children and adolescents, despite an epidemic of claims to the contrary."

But according to the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism, "Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Children and Youth: A New Epidemic," 15 May 2002:

"Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) has been described as a new epidemic affecting the American pediatric population. This is coincident with an overall 33% increase in DM prevalence documented during the last decade. In 1992, type 2 DM was a rare occurrence in most pediatric centers. By 1994, it represented up to 16% of new cases in urban areas, and by 1999, the incidence of new type 2 DM diagnoses ranged between 8% and 45%, depending on geographic location. These patients have been observed primarily in African-American, Mexican-American, Native- American, and Asian-American children and youth. As in the adult population, type 2 DM in children and youth occurs as a result of insulin resistance coupled with relative beta-cell failure. While there appears to be a host of potential genetic and environmental risk factors for these aberrations, perhaps the most significant risk factor is obesity."

Trust nothing this man writes about obesity. Read more about him here, here, here and here.

August 11, 2005 07:06 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Obesity  ·  TrackBack (1)

My Iraq Photos Now Posted

By Michael Fumento

It took a few months for my gear to follow me back from Iraq, but it and my camera are now here. I've posted my photos here. Some interesting stuff in there, if I may say so myself.

August 11, 2005 03:21 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media

Welcome to the new fumento.com!

By Michael Fumento

Say hello to my little friend, the new incarnation of www.fumento.com. In a national survey by a major marketing firm, two out of three dentists preferred this version. The most obvious change is that it's now a true hybrid website, meaning it displays and archives my articles but has a blog as well. You'll note I have no links section. That's a great way to get other sites to link to you and bring in traffic, but the purpose of this website isn't to get traffic jams. If other blogs want to link to me fine; just so long as they know I don't even have an apparatus with which to reciprocate. Likewise there is no "comments" section. I don't wish to be a comments monitor, and yet I don't want comments going on my site unmonitored. That said, the blog function will finally allow me to do something I've long wished to do which is to reprint some of the informative letters I get, as opposed to only publishing hate mail. If you have a comment, send it as an e-mail. It may or may not get posted depending on its intrinsic value, the position of the planets on the day I receive it, and what the chicken entrails indicate.

August 10, 2005 09:43 PM  ·  Permalink  · 

Peaceniks go nuts over the anti-war fakery of "Over There"

By Michael Fumento

Peaceniks are going gaga over the new FX series on the Iraq war "Over There." "Wow! Anybody else watch "Over There" last night?" asked a writer for the most-viewed liberal blogsite and most-viewed blogsite period, Daily Kos. " Within a few minutes, the Sarge calls their position in Iraq a 'shithole' and it was obvious that Iraq was Vietnam all over again. A war troops are not allowed to really fight, and so a war we can never win." Naturally, the shows also touts its realism with a TV Guide blurb to "prove it." Unfortunately, it's about as realistic as the Lord of the Rings.

In the episode an infantry unit is pinned down while trying to seize a mosque from the bad guys. Two women from a transportation unit are also there, a bow to the God of Diversity. Next the unit remains there for days with absolutely no air support. We're told it's being used elsewhere. Gimme a break! Air support is virtually always available anywhere in Iraq within 15 to 30 minutes. Indirect fire support (howitzers and mortars) can come thumping in within two minutes of the beginning of a fire support. But these poor saps also get no direct fire support until the end of the battle. The only mortar is with the bad guys. Meanwhile, there's the cliche medal-hungry off-scene commander ordering the troops to move forward from a relatively safe ridgeline to a completely open area.

Towards the end of the show we're treated to a horrific scene that begins when a troop-transport rolls over an IED marked with little white flags. Sorry, but the bad guys don't mark their mines. As for us, we generally station troops by them until they can be disarmed or if that's not possible put up warning signs that three blind mice couldn't miss. Nobody uses cute little white flags.

There have got to be a thousand true inspiring stories of courage and kindness by coalition troops during the war, but don't expect to see them on "Over There."

August 4, 2005 08:44 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Iraq ~ Media ~ Military  ·  TrackBack (0)

Atkins Diet, RIP

By Michael Fumento

I've got too many column ideas lined up for an "I told you so" on Atkins but, um, well I did in article after article, column after column. There's no diet (probably) that doesn't work for somebody, including jelly beans, popcorn, and peanut butter. The key is always the ability to stick with it. Few people can stick to ANY diet, but fewer still to Atkins. Personally, I favor the exercise end and to be specific I think the role of resistance exercise is grossly underplayed. So am I glad to see Atkins take a hit? Sure. But there will always be a new "scientific" fad diet ready in the wings.

August 2, 2005 08:41 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Obesity  ·  TrackBack (0)