Monday, August 15, 2005

One Soldier's Point of View

Sat Aug 13th, 2005 at 12:11:52 PDT

Hi. I used to post here quite a lot, and some of you might remember me (I joined the Army last year).

Anyway, I'm one of the soldiers from Fort Hood who went to visit Cindy Sheehan yesterday. Basically I was moved enough by what she is doing that I wrote her a letter and determined that I would hand-deliver it to her yesterday (it was a training holiday here at Fort Hood).

In my opinion if you are coming to visit Camp Casey and you want to talk about the Supreme Court, or gay marriage, or the illegitimacy of the current President, you have the wrong idea. It also plays right into the hands of media outlets wanting to portray Mrs. Sheehan as a mere tool of the left.

But anyway, I wanted to share with you folks the letter I gave to Mrs. Sheehan. I've excised things which may identify me. I'd like to remain just one of four soldiers at Fort Hood who visited her - my life could be made very difficult if my name were to get out, and I am leaving for the sandbox very soon.

You can think of me as just one of the troops you support.


Fort Hood, Texas
12 August 2005

Dear Mrs. Sheehan:

I am a Soldier stationed at Fort Hood who is scheduled for deployment to Iraq (soon). Like you, I do not support the war because I believe it represents a horrible waste of lives and lucre that is bankrupting our nation. However, I am sworn to obey my orders and I will serve to the utmost of my ability when called upon.

Your actions in Crawford have served to galvanize the American people and to remind them of the sacrifices being made by its Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines during what seem to be prosperous and lazy times here at home. It is too easy for the average American to forget that the seemingly low casualty figures seeping in from Southwest Asia are represented by human faces - like the face of your son. While the nation dozes, ones and twos turn into hundreds and thousands of young lives forever squelched - 1,846 thus far, to say nothing of those whose lives have also been forever changed by being wounded and maimed in the conflict.

Whatever the rationale for the war in Iraq was and is, I cannot tolerate the sight of the huge quantum of vehicles I see on the highways with yellow "Support our Troops" magnets on them. Citizens who support us in the military don't need to buy a magnet. They can contribute to causes benefiting soldiers and their families. They can inform themselves about the conflict in the Middle East and ask themselves what role, if any, the United States needs to play there. Most importantly, they can drive less, and drive smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. That would reduce our dependency on foreign oil by which, ultimately, the desert wastes of Arabia and Mesopotamia are transformed into "vital United States interests."

Lately you have attracted the attention of the right-wing smear machine, wielded by those who use the people's innate sense of patriotism and loyalty to serve its own selfish interests. This is a sign that you are awakening the sensibilities of decent Americans everywhere to the bloody-minded folly of the war in Iraq. Now more than ever, you must find your strength, a strength which you must have given young Casey in spades, and I am equally sure that today his strength of his spirit is animating and reawakening yours.

As a soldier, I am asking you to stand fast, and to stick to what you know is right and true. For me, those are the principal duties every civilian citizen owes to his or her nation. For my part, I am not allowed to participate directly in the political process. But I wrote this letter to you today to let you know that on Fort Hood, and on military installations across the United States and around the world, there are simple servicemen and servicewomen like myself who are praying for you, and who wish you well.

The duties of a soldier are a little bit different than those of civilians. Mostly they center around living the Army Values. Those values are:

LOYALTY
DUTY
RESPECT
SELFLESS SERVICE
HONOR
INTEGRITY
PERSONAL COURAGE

I have no doubts that your son Casey lived those values to the fullest measure. I will remember him as I begin my own trial by fire in Iraq. Please accept my deepest condolences for your loss and my prayers for you and all of your entire family circle. Also, please accept my thanks for awakening the conscience of our nation.

In deepest sympathy,

OREGON GUY
(RANK), USA


Yeah, I know everybody hates it when I get all political, but hey it's my blog right?
Besides I thought it important to know what some of those soldiers think. You know, the ones we all so strongly support.
Anyway (yay, Piggy's favorite word) have a good week and all that stuff.

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