In response to the Her Voice column (May 22, “To whom do we owe our freedom”), I would like to add my two cents.
I served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and, unlike what was in the column, it is true that the “fourth estate” has had a predominant role in the liberty of this country.
All the way back to the founding of our country, the press has been an integral part of our freedoms as much as our military. The press has been the balance to our political system, our military and our social structure. Without the press and public awareness of the issues, some of the most important changes of our country may not have taken place as quickly as they did — or at all.
Today, thanks to the press, we as a country are having a very important debate on torture. The press has brought to light human rights abuses around the world. Without the press, would we be aware of half of the things our politicians do in our name? The press, as with any major world force, needs to be kept on the “straight and narrow,” as the old saying goes. A strong press has as much to do with our liberty as does the military.
As a side note, the press has fought right beside our military in each of our conflicts — the difference is that the only weapon the press carries is a pen and paper.