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Send Steph To Iraq

by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Dear Armed Forces Radio Network,

How are you? I am fine.

Thought you handled the whole hubbub over bringing balance to the military airwaves quite well. Ed Schultz and Al Franken should shore up the Limbaugh, Dobson, Dr. Laura parity. At least it will politically. Then you had to go and add conservative pin-up Hannity. Not that Sean's presence over on AFRN isn't called for, but bunk checks revealing a cluster of wallet-size Hannitys could throw "don't ask, don't tell" for a devastating loop. Some would say that this has created a gorgeous gap, politically speaking. Obviously, Sean's comeliness would be hard put to be balanced by the likes of anyone on the left. But there is an even more egregious void on the military dial (remember dials?). I'm talking about the pizzazz gap. And I say that, the gap can be filled quite handsomely, and pizzazzingly, with... Stephanie Miller.

If you've kept up with my column, you know that a few weeks ago I had said that the winsome syndicated talker could be the next Edward R. Murrow. From the deluge of the loverly hate mail I received, some seem to think that I might have thrown away sixteen years of sobriety in making that argument. While there was a certain sense to my supposition, I have come to realize that Stephanie could play a much more important role in the fight for hearts and minds than by chain-smoking cigarettes and interviewing Liberace. I'm talking about putting a smile on the face of our boys in battle. No, not that way. In the way they can actually write home about, salt peter or not.

Let me draw a bit of a picture that, unfortunately, you guys are all too familiar with.

You're out on patrol with enough equipment on your back to double your body weight. You're bitterly cold or hell-fire hot. Trepidation accompanies your every step. Your stomach hasn't been your friend for weeks. Even if you were hungry, no ration would have a chance to hit the digestive tract before being thrown back up into your dust mask. You have no idea what danger you might face, but the all too real knowledge that you or your best bud might not come back to camp alive or with all limbs in tact, rolls around your head like a marble with no hole to fill. Other than that, it's really cool being in a war.

You come back to camp with a pass, not having to see the medic, chaplain or that way-too-cranky grim reaper. You need relief. Pictures of ex-girlfriends won't work (see "Jarhead"). Listening to some one-noter, preaching dark apocalyptical talking points, are worse. You want comfort, not pontificating. But if you like politics, news, and would like it presented with the same comic energy of "The Daily Show," there's no one on AFRN to listen to.

What you could use is pizzazz, with a capital PIZ. In radio, pizzazz spells Stephanie Miller. Not exactly, but other than the z's, Stephanie's got all the right letters. More than that she's got the type of thing that Robin Williams's performance recounted in "Good Morning Viet Nam," with his depiction of A2C Adrian Cronauer, the military DJ who brought a bit of fun to the soldiers holed up in that shit-hole. Not that Iraq is anything like Viet Nam. I mean there's a totally different language and...well, that language thing is big.

Our guys deserve some laughs, bad. Not bad laughs. Of course, there are some who think that Hannity's hysterical impressions of Bill Clinton and litany of Kerry flip-flops repeated incessantly are satirical gold. I know that there's nothing funnier to me than the unremitting repetition of Sean hic-cuping his way through his Ted Kennedy impression (that the uncorruptable Sean said had to do with Kennedy stuttering, not his drinking, a rationale which not even the staunchest Hannity fan bought).

While Miller will probably never reach the Hannity height of hilarity, her smart wit and (lack of?) substance are just the right lighter-side break a soldier could use after a delightful day of dodging bullets and fending off roadside bombs without the proper body armor. And it doesn't hurt that Stephanie might be considered somewhat attractive. Look what Betty Grable's legs did for the boys in WWII. I'm actually not sure Miller has lascivious legs that go all the way up to there, or even legs that go all the way down to here, but who would you rather have taped up in your locker, Sean or Steph? I know it's close, but in the least, it's only fair that a dog-eared, lovingly exploited, likeness of Stephanie gets an equal spot next to Hannity's. And for those who have flown quietly under the don't ask, don't tell radar, even Miller's admittedly gay listeners regularly ask for her hand in marriage...or at least, best girlfriendage. Our guys have enough hardship to deal with. It's time to lighten their load without dumbing ‘em down. So it is that I call on you, AFRN, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Department, and everyone else who cares about the well-being of our boys listening to radio over there so we don't have to listen to radio over here: place Stephanie Miller and her hysterical crew on the Armed Forces Radio Network.

It's high time our guys wake up to Good Morning, Iraq...and that'll take a a Good Morning, Stephanie!

Steve Young
Former Army Guy

P.S. What you can do to help: E-mail Armed Forces Radio & Television Network and send a copy to the Pentagon, Attn: Donald Rumsfeld. And then e-mail it to the rest of the usual suspects who can make a stink about the need for even more balance at AFRN: Harkin, Boxer, Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein, yada-yada-yada.

Steve Young, author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" can be read every Sunday in the LA Daily News Op-Ed page (right next to Bill O'Reilly)

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Albion Monitor December 7, 2005 (

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