Green Beret Unit in Afghanistan – Essay Example

The paper "Green Beret unit in Afghanistan" is an outstanding example of a media essay.
On January 31st of CBS featured three interesting s on its “60 minutes” show. The first segment covered a Green Beret unit in Afghanistan who were training Afghan soldiers. The second segment featured snowboarder Shaun White, a gold medallist in the 2006 winter Olympics who was hoping to repeat his performance in this year’s winter Olympics in Vancouver. The third segment featured an interview with Beyonce, an award-winning entertainer
In the first segment of the program, Lara Logan covered a US army Green Beret unit that was training Afghan soldiers to help take over security in Afghanistan. A little-known fact is that the Green Berets are the only units in the army that are specifically tasked with training foreign forces. Green Berets must go through two years of intense training that requires intellect, tactical skill, and physical endurance. The report, which was work of two and half months of observing the Green Berets, featured personal interviews with some of the trainers whose names and faces were deliberately concealed to protect their identities. Green Berets are allowed to grow a beard which is respected in local Afghanistan culture and they do not wear any insignia referring to rank or name in order to give away as little information as possible. The team’s mission is to leave behind special operation units consisting of Afghani soldiers and they are working on training these units from the very basics. Every six weeks the Green Beret trainers get a fresh batch of around 100 Afghani soldiers selected from the regular army. The report first focused on a trainer names Martin who considered his work as his calling in life. While on a raid with the Afghan forces, Martin was accidentally shot by one of the new Afghan recruits. His dismissed the pain and refused to take morphine and then underwent surgery the next day and returned his unit within 24 hours. For Martin, getting shot by one of the men he trained was the last thing he had expected. The report next featured Bill, an elite sniper who was had formerly managed a sales team and had also just become a father. Bill stated that they were angry with the Afghan soldier involved in the accident since it could have been prevented and also they were angry with themselves since this sort of accident showed that while training these soldiers they had failed at some point as well. However, they insisted that even after this sort of incident they were committed to their job which was to train them and not be angry at them. Unfortunately, the next time they went into combat there was another accident and this time an Afghan soldier had accidentally shot himself in the foot. Even after the second mishap, the trainers insisted that the Afghans had a lot of potentials and worked very hard. However, in order to avoid any further mishaps, the trainers went back to basics yet again. The next raid featured the Green Berets assaulting the hideout of a Taliban commander with airstrikes at night. The following morning the Taliban, who had fled the previous night, launched a counter assault and the Green Berets had to not only spearhead the defense but also command the Afghans. The conflict resulted in a single Afghan casualty while the Taliban suffered nine casualties following an airstrike by F-16 but the Taliban commander escaped. The report then finally featured Brent, a staff sergeant from Tennessee who emphasized the difficulty of practicing restraint in the battlefield. The report recounted a daylight operation where Brent was required to set up a checkpoint to prevent any use of the main road. While doing so Brent had to fire a couple of warning shots to stop a truck full of military-aged men from approaching. The truck turned out to be full of civilians and the warning shots had accidentally hit two Afghan boys. While the children were given medical attention and later recovered, the incident weighs heavily on Brent’s mind to this day. In conclusion, the team expressed their belief that they should stay until the Afghan forces could support themselves.
In the Second segment, NBC’s Bob Simon was given a sneak preview of some of the moves Shaun White was practicing for the upcoming winter Olympics. In his training facility in Colorado, White showed off his exclusive 500-foot snowboarding “superpipe”. Immediately, White geared up and began demonstrating some of the moves he had been practicing with splendid precision and flawless execution. The fearless determination shown by Shaun was reflected by the fact that his training facility was built in one of the most avalanche prone parts of Colorado to take advantage of the seclusion of the area. When experimenting with new tricks Shaun first used a foam pit to avoid injury until he perfected the move and then tested himself on the 22 feet high walls of his superpipe. His training allowed him to master an amazing move which included 2 flips and three spins which had been considered nearly impossible until then. However, his training didn’t come easily; instead, it was after numerous failed attempts and moments of extreme frustration that the talent and practice finally paid off. White said he was optimistic about the upcoming Olympics and would be disappointed if he did not win the gold this time as well. While interviewing his parents Kathy and Roger White, it was learned that Shaun’s introduction to the snowboard was a safety measure since he was very flimsy with skies and safety was extra important to his parents after he underwent major heart surgery while he was very young. A brief look at his past shows a Shaun at 7 years of Age, winning his first competition and also his first sponsor. Shaun’s talent was matched by his family’s support; his family often traveled and slept in a trailer and used what little they had so that Shaun could compete in various tournaments, this is a fact that Shaun has never forgotten and has been extremely grateful for. Shaun also demonstrated his skill with the skateboard, something he still practices with to maintain his snowboarding skills during his offseason. However, Shaun almost gave up on skateboarding after an accident in 1997. He was 11 years old and performing at a Skateboarding exhibition when he lost his timing and crashed into his partner. The accident resulted in a fractured skull and broken bones but even though he was reluctant to skateboard again, on his mother’s insistence he got back on track and went on to dominate skateboarding as well. While reflecting on his win in the previous Olympics, he stated that when he fell during his qualifying round he started to feel the pressure and nervousness getting to him and declared that the worst possible thing he could do while under pressure is actually thought of everything that could go wrong. However, at the end of the day, his victory not only got him an Olympic gold but also enough wealth to let him indulge himself in some of his fantasies which include a Lamborghini sports car and a beautiful house. Currently, he is building a business empire which brings him roughly US$ 10 million every year. When confronted with accusations from his competitors that claimed Shaun was just living in his own world without friends in his life, he did admit at times his popularity and wealth made him a bit lonely amongst his snowboarding friends but claimed they made those accusations due to a certain amount of jealousy but he didn’t hold it against them.
In the third segment, NBC’s Steve Croft interviewed Beyonce; a multi-talented and world-famous entertainer. Up to date Beyonce has won 10 Grammy awards and sold more than 180 million records making her one of the most successful artists of her generation. Beyonce stated that she is a very analytical person by nature and she made a decision to avoid the problems that plague many other famous artists such as drugs, bad relationships, and mental breakdowns. She claimed the reason she was able to succeed in avoiding all this trouble was through sheer discipline and focus and the fact that her success was gradual, allowing her to adapt to the pressure and demands of her career. Beyonce traced her early career to her performances at age 9, her first record deal at age 12 and the creation of Destiny’s child, one of the most popular pop groups of the 1990s. Beyonce’s childhood revolved around homeschool and touring around the country with her family while reading the Bible and developing a strong Christian background. Since she went solo 8 years ago, she has developed her own clothing line and signed on to various cosmetic deals with a couple of the biggest cosmetic companies in the world. Her business ventures along with her music bring her an estimated income of more than US$ 80 million. Beyonce is also very proud of her worldwide audience and her concerts in Asia, Europe, and many other regions are usually sold out. Her main fan base is made up of women who relate to her songs which usually refer to everyday problems faced by a woman, especially with regards to relationships. Beyonce is also seen as a symbol of female empowerment and highlights the characteristics of a strong and independent woman. Another interesting characteristic of Beyonce is her ability to manage her large tours and make sure everything is in order which is a significant challenge in terms of logistics and management. A very critical person and a perfectionist, Beyonce puts in a lot of effort to give her audiences a worthy performance even if it involves some personal risk every now and then. She is also fiercely protective of her own privacy and that of her relationship with her husband Jay-Z, evading any questions to that regard but maintaining that the relationship is very healthy and that she is very content with it. When asked who had the bigger ego, she claimed it egos were not attractive and that it was only appropriate for the stage and certain other moments. In conclusion, Beyonce claims although her core passion is to sing she wants to model her career on Barbra Streisand, another multi-talented artist from a previous generation
In conclusion, the show featured 3 segments that covered a wide variety of topics and appealed to a wide variety of people. The first segment strived to highlight the difficulties and concerns with regards to Afghanistan, arguably the most pressing foreign policy and military issue facing the US right now. The analysis was detailed and featured the reality of the battlefield and problems training foreign forces. However, it also featured the emotional and physical strains on American Special Forces in both the battlefield and the training camps. The second segment took on a lighter subject and focused on an American gold medalist hopeful. The segment idealized the American ideals of hard work, determination, and family. It featured Shaun White, a man with raw talent, who was willing to go the extra mile to outperform his rivals in a very competitive sport. It also highlighted the fact that he was only able to go as far as he has because of the support of his family. Furthermore, it traced his life from his humble beginnings to that of a multimillion-dollar enterprise, the results of a hard-won victory, again emphasizing the American dream. The final segment took on a similar approach and theme as the 2nd one. However, this featured more heavily on the embodiment of one of the most potent symbols of modern feminism and the ideals of a strong and independent woman. It featured Beyonce, a woman who also rose from a humble beginning to become an international icon with regards to music, fashion, movies, and advocacy. Beyonce not only represents a line of multi-talented performers but also someone who has managed to maintain a balance in her professional and personal lives and avoid the troubles that plague other famous performers, which is a significant achievement. Thus, this show covered many themes and elements that are relevant to today’s viewers and the analysis in each segment was both entertaining and enlightening.