April 11, 2008 -- TODAY, the Newseum - a 250,000-square-foot homage to journalism that cost $450 million to build - opens on Pennsylvania Avenue, midway between the White House and the Capitol.
What's wrong with this picture?
Other than the (symbolic?) fact that the building's an architectural mishmash, it's this: There's no museum in the vicinity of the National Mall dedicated to our military.
Tells you a lot about the vanity and priorities of today's governing and informational "elite," doesn't it? Ignore the blood, enshrine the ink. A Pulitzer Prize outranks a Congressional Medal of Honor.
I don't really begrudge journalists their we-love-us monument. Massive egos need a massive building (total of 643,000 sq. ft., including a new Wolfgang Puck restaurant). But isn't something fundamentally wrong when there's plenty of donor funding available for a museum glorifying those who cover our wars, but not a cent to tell the stories of those who fight them?
Having served in our Army for more than two decades, followed by a decade's adjunct membership in the media, I have to tell my new colleagues to get a grip: You are not the story.
Having more than a pea brain, I hope, I have to tell you that you're completely ignorant of the foundations of our country and of the reason why militarism is not enshrined inside of Washington D.C.--this nation is founded as a Republic dedicated to liberty, not war. The rule of law, not rule of a military dictatorship. The highest point in Washington D.C. is the tip of the monument dedicated to George Washington, the first Commander in Chief and the man chosen to organize the Continental Army. We are not a country that celebrates wars--we fight them when necessary and have created that massive cemetery across the river--you know? Arlington? to honor the dead.
The press gets a museum--so what? There are dozens of museums in Washington D.C.
The military doesn't need one--they are honored in a more profound and dignified way. They are honored by our dedication to peace.