Monday, September 12, 2005

"...I knew we were doing a good thing for the people of Iraq..."

This is a letter from a veteran of the Iraq war written to Michael Moore. Moore has been collecting letters like this for quite awhile now. They come from soldiers in Iraq, their families, soldiers at other stations, and from veterans. I thought it was about time Americans at large participated to. So, I am responding to this letter.

From: Stephan Ward
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Subject: From an Iraq War Vet


I am a veteran of the war in Iraq, and I wanted to write to thank you for making a film that I believe has opened many eyes in this country to things they were once blind to. When I was deployed to Iraq, I knew we were doing a good thing for the people of Iraq; tyranny and totalitarianism had to be wiped off the slate of progress in Iraq and we were the ones to do it. But after that proverbial eraser comprised of U.S. and coalition forces liberated Iraq, we wondered, "What next?" We also wondered, "Where are all the terrorists? The al Qaeda operatives? The Syrians?" We knew that despite our noble act of freeing the oppressed peoples of Iraq, so many false guises were still being put forth as to other reasons WHY we were there in the first place. Upon hearing of the fall of Saddam Hussein's statue while I was on patrol in southern Iraq, I couldn't help but think "What next? Where do we go from here?" The tyrant had been deposed, the people liberated, but did anyone RE ALLY have any clue as to the next step? Unfortunately for the troops like myself and my brothers-in-arms still serving over there, no one did.

It was as if it was a movie playing out with an open ending; would it be drama, action, or heartbreaking despair? Where was the crescendo, the climax, and most importantly, the stereotypical part in every movie where the loose ends are wrapped up and the story comes to a neat close? I was under the impression that the Bush administration seemed to have a great idea for every single step of the way during Operation Iraqi Freedom, but as to whether I actually believed that a war without a plan would work, no. No way in hell. And while I gained an incredible life experience out of it, I don't know how much I will have to show for it in ten years when it comes to W's "mission accomplished" claim. Will it be another Vietnam, perhaps? Somalia? I wonder whether it will be yet another neo-imperialist action that ends totally in tragedy. At the same time, I see that the aforementioned tragedy has no foreseeable end and is nothing but a long, continuing scene in the "reality T V war" that is being played out before our very eyes.

Sincerely and respectfully,

SPC Stephen Ward

My response

Dear Stephen,

You don't know me. I read your letter to Michael Moore and it touched me. That's why I'm writing this.

I think Moore's project of collecting these letters is great. We get to hear first-hand what our servicemen and their families have to say. We learn more from your letters than we do from the 7/24 cable news networks. But, I think you need to hear from the rest of the nation too because "we are all in this together".

First of all, we are very proud of you and your comrads in arms. You are willing to sacrifice everything in the defense of our country. It saddens my heart to know you're fighting for a government that does not support you adequately. That you fight under false pretenses. You deserve better. You ought to be paid a fair wage for your labor and receive a full benefit package as well. And, and you deserve a credible commander in chief.

I believe we all owe you an apology. We collectively elected a person who is unfit to serve as President of the United States. He has put you all in harms way to serve his own ends. Once again we find ourselves embroiled in an imperialsitic occupation of another country. Bush calls the continuing war an insurgency. I believe its a revolutionary war against an imperialstic invader and it will continue until we finally admit defeat. We will not be defeated because we are not strong but because we are wrong. That is not your fault. You are strong and honorable but your leadership is weak and dishonorable.

America can be great again but there is much to do. We must struggle against greed and corporate power. We must fight for the collective good of all. We must wage peace as agressively as we have waged war. And, we must punish those who betrayed you by sending you on this unholy crusade and set an example that will stand for centuries.

We worry about you and hope you are all home safe very soon. We keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

Mark Winegar


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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David Mason, a federal election commissioner and Claremont McKenna College graduate, will speak at the college Wednesday.
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6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Mark Winegar said...

Thank you for your kind words. I'm learning a lot about blogging and having a good time. Its also good practice for improving my writing skills.


7:59 PM  

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