Admiration for troops

Dear Editor:My heart goes out to the military families of the fallen. Every single loss of an American soldier is a tragedy. But I am puzzled as to why these families would dishonor the memories of their loved ones by spreading false claims like "their loss has not made America safer or improved the lives of Iraqis." ("Military Families Say the War is Not Over," 9/2/10) Even President Obama admitted that the sacrifice of our military heroes in Iraq has made our nation safer, and the standard of living for millions of Iraqis has improved dramatically. This article is nothing more than an emotional appeal to sway opinion away from the facts about the war. Misery loves company. The facts are that the vast majority of Americans and Congress supported the Iraq War in the beginning. Saddam Hussein stonewalled all international inspections for weapons. As we have since discovered, he was bluffing. But we called his bluff, and now the world is a better place with one less evil dictator. I do, however, agree with Military Families Speak Out that our return soldiers do not get all the help they deserve once they return, and yes, they are over-stretched. There are a myriad of ridiculous government social programs that could be eliminated in order to provide our soldiers with the quality care they deserve, if only our politicians had the courage. The tone of this article makes it appear as though fighting a war was an unjust requirement of the soldiers who joined the military; that these soldiers were unfairly ripped away from their free schooling and their families to perform an unnecessary duty. Fighting a war is the risk you take when you sign on the dotted line. If you are unwilling to take that risk, don't join the military. But for those that do, they should have the unending admiration and respect of all Americans. They have mine. -- Alaina Niemann, Downey

Dear Editor: On Sept. 1, our president announced the end of combat operations in Iraq. He failed to mention the purpose of that mission and the profound successes and accomplishments that have resulted from the historic efforts and sacrifices of our country and its dedicated soldiers. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a country that produced and used weapons of mass destruction on its neighbors and its own people, even threatening other countries with them. It invaded Iran and Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia and Israel. It supported various terrorist groups and violated the terms of the Gulf War cease fire agreement and over 16 U.N. Security Council resolutions. These threats and instability in the Middle East went on for over 20 years. Now Iraq is a country run by its own people. They are not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, brutalizing their people, invading their neighbors, or supporting terror. Now they are a country with the ability to self govern, self defend, self sustain and aid in the ongoing war on terror. Freedom and democracy don't come quick or cheap. Iraq still has a long way to go to ultimately solidify, expand, and maintain their current achievements. Without the help of the U.S. and its allies, they never would have had that chance. Radical Islam struck at the heart of America in 2001. Ten years later, we have responded to their message, not with hate and evil, but by providing a country with hope and change. Ronald Reagan was criticized when he identified the Soviet Union as an "evil empire," and now he is revered. In 2002, President George W. Bush was also criticized when he labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the "axis of evil" when describing governments that he accused of helping terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction. When President Bush decided in January 2007 to surge forward with 20,000 more troops, he was vehemently opposed by Congress and popular commentary. The success that followed allowed us to begin withdrawing troops in December 2007. Don't let it be forgotten that by December 2008, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri-Al-Maliki signed agreements providing a long term US-Iraqi partnership and the additional withdrawals of U.S. combat forces starting in 2009 and all American troops out by the end of 2011. Politically correct or not… I'm not afraid to say "mission accomplished!" In time, the wisdom, courage, strength and integrity of having done the right thing in spite of public criticism and downright ridicule will eventually be recognized and appreciated for the heroic accomplishment that is. -- Jim Rodriguez, Downey

********** Published: September 9, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 21