***Updated with lots of emails for Harry***
Active-duty military readers and military bloggers: If you’d like to send a message to the treacherous Harry Reid–who just declared the war in Iraq lost today–e-mail me or leave a trackback. I’ll reprint/link them here as they come in. Here is Reid’s contact form. He really needs to hear from you. (And perhaps Jon Voight could talk some sense into him.)
Rejoinder: Appeal For Courage.
Related must-read: Michael Totten reports from the ground in Kirkuk:
…Most Americans have soured on the war and want out. I was once optimistic myself, but I no longer am. I can’t help but notice, though, that those I’ve spoken to who actually live in Iraq are more confident and less fatalistic…
…Iraq is a big place. It is more or less the size of California. If a car bomb were to go off in San Diego, it wouldn’t disturb people who live in San Francisco. They would watch the aftermath from safety on TV just as I watched scenes of carnage from safety at Mam Rostam’s in Kirkuk. The war was far away…or at least around a couple of corners. Iraq looks scarier from far away than it does up close and in person…even when you’re in the Red Zone. How much danger you’re in depends on where you are in Iraq. The Red Zone is not one shade of crimson. The war, for the most part, is concentrated mostly in very specific areas. On any given day you might see something violent, but you probably won’t. This fact is completely lost in the breathless media coverage of the carnage, the mayhem, and the bang-bang…
As a retired Marine officer, I am shocked at the blatant treasonous statement made by an elected “leader” of this country.
The definition of treason is:
1. Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.
2. A betrayal of trust or confidence.
His words can have a very harmful affect on the troop’s morale in the field and clearly will embolden the enemy.
Can anyone imagine if a “leader” gave the signal to the world that the United States is giving up during any engagement in WWII and endorsed a surrender strategy even before a plan was allowed to be executed?
It is not only unpatriotic, and cowardly, but it is treasonous! He may be directing his hatred at the President but clearly his words aid the enemy.
God help this country!
I am an active duty Army National Guard officer serving with the 55th Civil Support Team, Minnesota’s WMD response team. I have not deployed to OIF/OEF yet but spent two tours in Croatia and Bosnia with Operation Joint Forge. Here is my short, concise email to Senator Reid:
USC Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115 § 2381. Treason
Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
What more is needed to be said?
I am writing this letter as an individual American expressing his right to speak up, even though I am an enlisted active duty Army soldier.
Your statement that the Iraq “war is lost” is irresponsible and is demoralizing to me, on of those “troops”. Your statement also gives hope to an enemy that cannot win in direct confrontations. That by randomly bombing civilians, spreading fear and chaos, it can cause those without strong will to leave the Iraqi people behind to a fate far worse than Saddam’s torture chambers.
I disagree that this war is lost. This xenophobic insurgency will fail with the full support of the United States Federal Government. We are doing our jobs here, day in and day out, and we need you to do the same in Washington D.C.
Mr. Reid, sir, I ask you to show courage, the kind I see every day from my colleagues. Stand up and stand firm with me against terrorism, suicide bombings, and social mayhem by backing me up and providing a united front against such horrors.
Will you support me, a soldier in the Army, and stand up against evil?
SPC Matthew S Gangwer
112th Special Operations Signal Battalion
MacDill AFB, Tampa Florida
I am a US Army Reservist. I was activated in March 2005 and served on
FOB Abu Ghraib, Iraq from June 2005 until May 2006. I was First Sergeant
for a Medical Task Force responsible for all detainee health care in
Iraq. My unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for our
accomplishments and I received the Bronze Star for my achievements. I
certainly hope you can sense the pride I have in my unit and my service.
That pride will soon be stripped from me in defeat.
My father is a Vietnam veteran; a Captain in Saigon. Like me, he was a
volunteer and was awarded the Bronze Star. He began his tour when I was
two weeks old. While I was growing up, I heard over and over again in
classes from grade school well into college how the United States lost
the war in Vietnam. I wondered how he could be so proud in defeat. I see
now that it is happening to me how his pride and accomplishments were
stripped from him on a rooftop in soon-to-be Ho Chi Minh City.
The Democrats have wanted Iraq to become a Vietnam for George Bush from
the start. You, sir, finally have your Vietnam parallel. This war has
been pure politics for you and the Democrats. You have now conceded
defeat when the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Airmen
have not. And my children will have their parallel as well. They will
wonder how I can be so proud in defeat. The only question that remains
is whether my defeat will be a dramatic airlift off a rooftop or whether
it will be an impotent crawl across the Kuwait border.
From the beginning you and your ilk have sat on the sidelines, our
sidelines, declaring the immorality, illegality, and the futility of
your country’s efforts. In emergency medicine there is an old saying; if
your patient believes he is dying, he probably will. Your stance on Iraq
will prove to be just that sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. To my
children, I will have to explain how the war was declared “illegal” by a
bunch of politicians who readily admit they didn’t read the
authorization to use force that they signed. And how Hans Blix didn’t
really declare that the inspections were working, only that they would
keep Hussein from doing too much. And how Hussein violated every
resolution the UN threw at him. And how the Democrats connived the US
into thinking the war was all about Big Oil and Haliburton without
batting an eye at the corruption surrounding Total Fina Elf, Yukos, and
the Oil for Food program. And that the only shred of illegality
surrounding the war is the lack of sanction by the very institution, the
UN, that sat by idly and allowed a brutal thug to buy their morality.
This loss will be compared to Vietnam, as you wish, but the loss will
not be mine. It will be yours. It will be Speaker Pelosi’s. It will be
the Democrats’ loss, forever and ever. In fact, since the Democrats’
conceded defeat in both Iraq and Vietnam when we were winning
militarily, the only Vietnam parallel you will likely achieve is how the
Democrats so readily accept defeat.
We are winning this war. Just look at the signs. The enemy cannot safely
wear uniforms, they cannot confront us directly, and instead they hide
amongst and target unarmed civilians. When they succeed in blowing up an
unsuspecting marketplace, they can count on you to dutifully deliver the
big sound bite about how the civilian body count is direct evidence that
the war is lost. Then you tell the same enemy that all they need to do
is kill more civilians and wait, kill more civilians and wait, kill more
civilians and wait. They were waiting for 2009 but, fortunately for
them, “elections have consequences.”
This is not the 1960’s or ’70’s. This is the information age and, sir,
there is simply too much information about this war that contradicts
your statements and actions. History will not be kind to you.
1SG Steven G. Cotton
TSgt Brian S.:
Sir, while I am not one of your constituents, I AM in the military and I feel it is my duty let you know that your comment today about the war being “lost” is despicable. And also as a military MAN, I do not appreciate you and your cohorts referring to us as “children”.
I am 36 years old sir and I am offended with that reference. It misrepresents the MEN and WOMEN in uniform. I know you do it to conjure up images of actual children in people’s heads to gain sympathy, but it is insulting. We were not drafted, we were not coerced into service. We chose to defend this country with our lives if necessary. Don’t you DARE disrespect those who protect your freedom to stand in that room and debate the names of buildings! If you pull the troops out before the job is done, you will have a military that is demoralized to a low point not seen since Vietnam and you will simply embolden those who seek to destroy us. You have not been there, you do not know how they think. They truly believe they are doing Allah’s work and that all non-muslims should either be killed or used as slaves. There is no middle ground for them.
Of course I know that the reality is, you and the other Dems have your eyes on only one thing, the White House. You all WANT the war to be lost so badly you can taste it. Its what you believe will guarantee a victory in ’08. You guys are not the least bit slick about it. So why don’t you just quit pretending you care about the troops or national security. Just tell the people you want to cut and run and hide out here at home and hope the bad men won’t come back to hurt us again. And while you’re at it, have Ms. Pelosi go have a nice chat with Iran and promise them anything they want if they will just not be mean to us. Give him some good nuke factory blueprints and all the coordinates he needs in Israel? You and your ilk are disgraceful sir and it is my sincere hope that you are not reelected to another term.
Reader George sends a photoshop of the White Flag Dems:
In regards to Mr. Reid’s comment:
I am currently serving in my 25th year, did one tour in Iraq, and would willingly go back. I’m at a loss for words. I just wish that he was also.
Reader Mark, serving in Bagram, Afghanistan, sends this essay:
By Staff Sergeant Mark J. Anderson
I am an American Soldier. I defend the constitution of the United States from enemies both foreign and domestic. I can be called upon to be many things in that regard: a humanitarian, a policeman, a diplomat, and at times; a killer. Yet there are many things that I am not. I am not an oppressor or an occupier. I am not an infidel, a fascist, or a witless, ignorant pawn. I am not caught up in an imperialist government’s grab for resources.
I do know how I am viewed by many. I know that I am looked upon with scorn and derision, even among many within my own country. I know that I am considered a mercenary in one hemisphere and a crusader in the next. I know that my death would be cause for prayers of thanks on the lips of some of the most intolerant murderers imaginable. I know I am viewed as an unnecessary, barbaric, and an outmoded relic of an unenlightened past. I know my mistakes will be amplified and my successes will be discounted, written off, or ignored. I know that “defending freedom” is a term met with derision, scoffs and cynicism. I know many people deem it naïve and perhaps impossible to help build foundations of freedom in places where there were none. I know my presence in foreign lands has embarrassed many, offended sensibilities, and affronted fashionable ideologies. Yet it remains that I cannot stand idly by to see attacks on the very core of my country from within, while dangerous threats to this country lurk from without. I write this not as an attack on farther and farther left leaning adherents- adherents who continue to view the United States with unveiled contempt- but the mistaken ideologies that have cynicized (ok, its not a real word) their worldview and offered them nothing substantial in return. I must not attack them, but I must never forget that I am a defender, and I am altogether right in providing every defense of the country I love. There are times when a soldier must be called upon to provide defense with a pen rather than a rifle, this is one of those times.
I know that continually harping on the failures of my country cannot shake the faith I have in its inherent goodness. I know that you cannot demonize my Government without in effect demonizing the American people who have established and maintained a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I know that the only way to attack this country from within is not to deny its goodness, but to veil the very recognition of any goodness. I know that freedom, no matter how strong the media campaign to the contrary may seem, does not equate to constant impulse fulfillment. Freedom equates with responsibility, duty, and love for your family and neighbors. I know I love my country because I love my family, my friends and my home. As the Constitution protects these things, so too must I protect the Constitution. American Patriotism is altogether good and true. Label it not the last refuge of the scoundrel, because the patriots I have known have only sought refuge in honor. It is cynicism, rather, that is the last refuge of the offensive minded who have found nothing to defend.
I know that reality is never the friend of the ideologue. The ideologue always believes that a perfect world would just be if it weren’t for x. Today, x equals The United States, its leaders and its Military. The problem is, the ideologue never has and never will provide a blue print for what this Perfect world-the world their Scapegoat is smothering-would look like, feel like, or how it would come to be when the Scapegoat is gone. Their only answer: the scapegoat must be removed. I believe that the paths that begin at the ideologue’s pulpit, ultimately end in fields of fire. I know there is no word ending in the letters i-s-m which has dreamt come near to defining a perfect world. There has never been an ideological lens through which an ideal world could be seen.
I know that military personnel and public servants are scapegoats because The U.S. Military is powerful, successful, and beloved by less than cosmopolitan people who reside outside the halls of academia or the offices of opinion makers. I know that this scares some. I know that many believe that an institution cannot be rich, powerful and righteous at the same time. I know that it would be forced upon me to believe that there is no transcendent right or wrong, therefore no righteousness: that all that remains is merely a political correctness or incorrectness.
Many would have me believe that the Military is strong and the military is successful because the American government is greedy and the American “system” is exploitative. I reject that entirely. The Military is strong and the military is successful because the American people are strong and the American people are successful. We are The United States of America because we have lived testimony to the fact that power must forever be secondary and subordinate to conscience. Although it is in our nature to fail in this regard repeatedly; we continue to pick ourselves back up. Americans are fighters: we have fought tyrants beyond our shores yes, but we have also fought the tyrants within our nature. We have fought, and continue to fight those tendencies within us all to value secondary things over the primacy of human dignity. Many would have me believe that Racism is the foundational problem facing this world. But we are too arrogant, wrapped up in our sense of progress to reflect on wisdom past. We have closed our ears to the words of our long dead teachers who would have perhaps decried the evil of racism, yes but more importantly would have recognized racism as merely a symptom of the greater disease of human pride.
Today we fight enemies beyond our shores that worship political power and mistake its glamour as a birthright and gift from Allah, but I cannot ignore the almost-enemies at home that demand “social justice” and define it as the dismantling of traditional foundations that the millions of Military members past and present have fought to uphold. Do not label those you dislike as racists, and continuously shift the definition of racism to cover everything you dislike about them.
Social Justice is a straw man concept; society cannot be “just” if its individuals choose not to be. I scoff at the words “social justice”. For social is an empty, hollow, valueless word. I can not comfort a society. I can not shake a society’s hand. I can not mourn at a society’s funeral, and I cannot stand vigilant between society and a suicide bomber. No, it is individuals who are beautiful, individuals who are destitute, individuals who are greedy, and it is individuals who will be judged as being just or unjust. There are such things as judgments and there is such thing as the judge. Justice is the right state of relationship between two or more souls as judged by something independent of those individuals. Justice is not something as dimensionless as “social”; it is not some equal distribution of abstract commodities among a “society.” Society is merely a disposable word used by individuals with just enough courage to point the finger of blame, but not enough to point the finger at their selves.
And so I must ask the Cynics and the ideologues: How do you perfect a society by doing nothing but criticizing it? How do you build perfection into a society if you don’t know what a perfect design would be? Do you think that “bad” is what you attacked yesterday, and “good” is whatever is left tomorrow? So if you must, label me a Rightwing Christian, a Neo-Con, or a Warmonger but please I only ask of you to ponder, if only for a moment, my questions. And I ask you to recognize me for what I am to your ideology: I am your scapegoat, but I will not be a quiet one.
I am an American soldier, and I have one last thing to say in defense of the “Anti-War” mindset. It is contradictory to say you support the troops, but de-construct the mission. Troops at war live the mission, and at times they die for the mission. When you deconstruct, undermine, underwrite, and sharp shoot our purpose, you deconstruct, undermine, underwrite, and sharp shoot us. We testify to the hope that by protecting young constitutional democracies abroad, we can stand worthy before our forebears who provided the same for us. I see you as utterly and completely a demoralizing agent, if you agree that enough carnage, enough explosives set among innocents, enough kidnapping and torture of young sons from their homes offsets the last full devotion of thousands of American men and women; those who died trying to defend an honorable and true idea: a free and represented Iraq and Afghanistan.
When unchecked violence against the innocent produces a terrorist’s objective there, what happens when those terrorists and more realize that same violence can accomplish their desires here? Please remember that when you can kiss your family, leave your home and fear not being targeted by a suicide bomber, so that you may protest the parting from our homes and our families so that we may put as great a distance as possible between that Bomber and you.