Saturday, June 2, 2007

Critiqued by a "true patriot"

Last night I got an email from a guy that opposes the war and the soldiers who fight it. He spoke of how my service and dedication wasn’t doing my country any good. He said my service is for greed and power. He feels that I am just as bad as the enemy I fight, except that I justify killing just like our president does. After repeated insults, he signed his note as … a true patriot.

He goes on later to express how pissed he is that Americans are still here. He is a self-expressed student of world religion and stated that we don’t even fight for the same reasons they do. This is a holy war which we have no business being a part of. They have fought this war for thousands of years and we have no right to try and change things. He told me that the next time I am on the battlefield to ask myself what I am there for. He said to ask myself if I will be part of the problem or part of the solution when I pull the trigger.

I must say that always enjoy conversing on both sides of an argument, no matter what the topic. So, I was eager to respond. First, I had to ask myself if my friends and family believe that I “brag” about killing people. I have never had to kill anyone, but I do believe that I must keep a certain mindset as long as I am in this place and maybe it is perceived as bragging. Whether I want to kill or be killed is a simple question for me. Whether I like it or not, the bad guys don’t question themselves when they set bombs for us or ambush us from rooftops. My enemy does not hesitate when he tries to kill me and my brothers. I cannot afford to hesitate either. I, as an American Soldier, am bound by rules and regulations that prohibit me from engaging my enemy until he engages me. I have to pray that he is a bad bomb maker or a worse shot than I am. I may not get another chance to pull the trigger, so I must keep my head clear and focused.

He mentioned my motive for fighting is greed and power. If he knew me at all, he would have known that I do have two motives for fighting to make it home alive. My two motives are my children and I will do all I can to make it back to them. For them, I keep a hard heart toward my enemy and I believe that the bad guys I fight are bullies. Our presence here does do some good, but the American media isn’t interested in that. There is no story, no ratings there. You won’t hear of the children that now go to school, the merchants that have opened new shops and the families that have moved back into homes once occupied by insurgents. You won’t hear of the towns that have food, water, schools and mosques because we are here. You won’t hear of the local leaders warning us of bad guys and helping us find them because they are tired of being bullied. Those are the real stories here. In this war, people die and that is tragic; but for some people here, they live. For some, for the first time in their lives they get to live.

It is easy to sit back in the comfort and safety of freedom and criticize our soldiers and this war. It is easy to get pissed off and protest; to shout loudly to bring our soldiers home. It is easy, so easy to be an “Armchair American”. As far as I am concerned, if you want the right to protest the war and degrade the service and memories of my fallen brothers; get off your ass, grab a weapon and come earn it!