Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bill O'Reilly: Look Ma! I'm a War Hero!

War Hero 

"Most notably, he has more than once said that during his short stint as a CBS correspondent in the 1980s, he was in the "war zone" during the Falklands war between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982. He even once told the story of heroically rescuing his cameraman in this "war zone" while being chased by army soldiers. Yet according to O'Reilly's former CBS colleagues in Argentina and other journalists there during the war, no American journalist reached the war zone in the Falkland Islands and other territories in the southern Atlantic Ocean during this conflict. O'Reilly and his colleagues covered the war from Buenos Aires, which was 1200 miles from the fighting."
--Mother Jones

"On Thursday night, O'Reilly suggested in interviews with Politico and The Washington Post that covering the violent protests in Buenos Aires qualified as 'combat.'"
-Huffington Post

In 1968, after Martin Luther King was assassinated, Washington, D.C. erupted. Riots ensued. Blocks were burned down, and the National Guard was called in to restore order.
Washington, DC, 1968

Watching all this on TV, and listening to accounts on radio, a friend of mine, who owned a nifty open Triumph sports car, said, "Hey. This is all happening just 10 miles from us. Why don't we go take a look? This may be our only chance to see anything like this in our whole lives!"

And, being a sober young man about to enter his final year of college, having not been sent to Vietnam, and having been living a monastic college life, feeling life was passing me by, I replied without hesitation: "What a great idea!"

That's how smart I was.

So we hopped in his open car and zoomed off to downtown. 
Our Car Was in Better Shape

It was remarkably easy for two young white guys,( one a blonde dead ringer for the Knight in the "Seventh Seal" and the other, me) to drive right down Massachusetts Avenue, slide over to Pennsylvania Avenue, and on toward the White House and beyond --just two white kids in a convertible riding merrily along the burning streets of Washington. 
This is Washington, not Dresden

What we saw has never left me:  City blocks I knew well were burning, smoldering, bombed out, but even more striking was the sight of soldiers with rifles on every corner.  You knew this was not just Spring weekend gone wild. This was some serious stuff.  Seeing soldiers on American street corners felt deeply wrong. After about 10 blocks of this sobering sight, my friend looked at me and said, "Had enough?"

Nobody shot at us. 
A few soldiers, holding their rifles followed us with their eyes. These were kids in uniform, about my age. The only authority they had they were holding in their hands:M-14's.
We Forgot Our Masks 

I nodded to my friend. We had seen enough and we looped back along the Whitehurst Freeway, along the Potomac, down to the parkway,  and we followed the river upstream.  We arrived back home in nice, safe, suburban, white Bethesda in 12 minutes. 

Little did I know then or really, until now, that ride had qualified me for my combat medal.   But Bill O'Reilly, who has, apparently, long claimed to have been in combat during the Falkland war, it turns out never got any closer to the Falklands than the riots in Buenos  Aires  and, he says, covering the riots there was the equivalent of combat. 

O'Reilly gets the Brian Williams award for bravery in combat.

So, if Bill gets his combat  medal for Buenos Aires,  then I guess I'll claim mine for Washington, D.C.

And to think, all these years I never thought I had any combat experience. 

Who knew?


  1. Why Mad Dog-you really are far too humble-Williams and O'Reilly can't hold a candle to your derring do-why you're a bona fide war hero-almost...and you've never mentioned it..Just the thought of you arriving at your rendezvous with glory, in a Triumph convertible no less, gives me chills. What a vision you and your friend must have been, it's awe inspiring...

  2. Maud,
    I certainly would never have mentioned it when my mother was alive--she would have killed me. And then I forgot all about it. And to think I could have burnished my application to Fox News with that on my resume.
    Mad Dog