The Soldier-Citizen Samizdat | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Soldier-Citizen Samizdat
by

After President Bush’s address to the nation two Sundays ago, I wrote Jed Babbin that people like Terry McAuliffe, the nine dwarves (or eleven, or whatever) in the Democratic presidential race, and the commentariat “have no appetite — or aptitude — for the plain truth.” To which Jed replied, “Amen.”

Thankfully, the American people do know the plain truth when they hear it, which is why they continue to support President Bush and the war or terror. I think I know why. Sooner or later, nearly every one of us gets passed a letter from a soldier in Iraq, either someone we know through our church or school or family, or someone known to someone we know.

I just received such a letter, from a soldier who is a graduate of a school where an old friend of mine teaches. More than that, I will not say, since my friend asked me not to quote or attribute the letter.

But such letters abound, often posted on the Internet and circulated via e-mail lists. The writers inevitably say several important things.

They say they see and hear the daily news on radio and television, and they say that the news, with its relentless drumming on the negatives, is wrong. Things are not like that, they say. Things are going very well in Iraq.

They say that the Iraqi people love and appreciate American soldiers, and they often tell touching stories of the interaction of American troops with Iraqis.

They say that American morale is high, that, yes, they all want to come home, and hope they can be rotated out soon, but that they’re doing an important job and they know it.

And they say they support the President and respect their commanding officers.

Here are quotes from some of the letters currently circulating on the Internet, found at Magyar Blog:

“The soldiers are staying focused and disciplined, and are getting more effective with each passing day. Our snipers have had some success of late — enough said. Even though we are still being shot at daily, the vast majority of the population supports our objectives and just want to get on with their lives. We are doing some excellent humanitarian work, but it doesn’t make the news because all the press wants to talk about is the attacks. The infrastructure is up and running and the shortfalls in electricity, water, sewage, etc., are being addressed. We have local advisory councils of Iraqi citizens set up in Baghdad and a functioning city council. The people we kicked out of power can’t stand our success, however, and will do everything they can to try to make us fail. Thus the ongoing gun battles in the streets.”

“Today they started to count the bodies at just one of the grave sites, and they counted at least over a hundred, and they believe that they can identify nearly a thousand bodies in this cave. I saw the photos from the site. It’s in this cave and the bodies are pretty well decomposed though some still have hair and what not. Almost all are women and children with gunshot wounds to the head. They literally tossed the bodies into the cave into massive heaps like garbage, and then they left them there. It is pretty disconcerting to see. I have never seen so many bodies, and it reminds me of the Holocaust. We allowed this to happen twelve years ago, and after you see it, you can never be the same. You realize how you cannot allow these people to return to power. It will be a long fight…”

“We had the privilege to brief Ambassador (Paul) Bremer and (Under Secretary of the Army Les) Brownlee recently and they were very complimentary of our soldiers and the success of our operations. We maintain the initiative and refuse to (back) down. Some BBC reporters interviewed me recently with a story already written and they needed the sound bites to support it. But we could not agree with their estimation that operations had somehow turned for the worse for us in Tikrit. I explained to them that the acts of violence we had seen represented the actions of a desperate and losing foe. Our cooperation with the locals continues to improve and the Iraqi government and police officials have joined our forces in their own future…

“We are thankful for the mail, the care packages, the magazines and newspapers and most of all the prayers that continue to sustain us. Our cause is certain because the contrast in what is right and just between our enemy and us is so obvious.”

Granted, when you plug “letters from Iraq” into Google, you’ll find some lefty websites with negative notes from soldiers squeegeed out for pejorative purposes. But these cannot compete — nor can the carefully culled gripes you see on TV news — with the flood of mail back home from the soldiers we know. These letters circulate by the thousands, unsolicited. They emit a gospel glow.

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