NEW YORK, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, said Americans have become far too accustomed to war.
"We have divided ourselves into two segments of society: those who have fought and those who have not," said Raddatz, while accepting Quinnipiac University's 19th annual Fred Friendly First Amendment Award Thursday during a luncheon at the Metropolitan Club. The award is named in honor of Friendly, a broadcast journalist whose work expressed his lifelong commitment to freedom of speech and strong democratic institutions.
"Yes, people say they support the troops, and they hang yellow ribbons and stand at baseball games to honor them," she said. "But it does not go much beyond that."
By traveling to war-torn countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Raddatz is hoping to educate viewers about the human toll of combat.
"I want people to know about the world," she said. "I want people to remember. I want people to feel."
She described a young soldier who was badly injured and sitting alone in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with no family around him. She told of another young officer, who just a few weeks earlier stood with three other soldiers as groomsmen at a wedding. All four are now wounded.
"But, none would ever want to be seen as a victim," she said.
Raddatz said in addition to reporting the human toll of war, she also is responsible for questioning military leaders.
"After decades of listening to military leaders talking about 'zero tolerance' for sexual assault, I want to know why Defense Secretary Leon Panetta acknowledged several months ago that close to 19,000 sexual assaults are still occurring every year," she said. "I want to know why military-age men killed during air strikes in Afghanistan have not been counted as civilian deaths even when targeters are not certain who these men are. And I want to know why, after a decade of cultural training, our soldiers are still accidentally burning Korans. We can get these answers and make people engage."
In presenting the award, Ruth Friendly, Fred Friendly's widow, said, "As I watch Martha Raddatz reporting from Yemen or Iraq or Afghanistan or Egypt, I realize how much Fred would have wanted her on his team."
Several of Raddatz's ABC News colleagues attended the luncheon, including Diane Sawyer of "ABC World News," Barbara Walters of "The View," George Stephanopoulos of "Good Morning America" and "This Week," Bob Woodruff of "ABC News," Terry Moran of "Nightline" and Charles Gibson, formerly of ABC World News.
SOURCE Quinnipiac University