My name is Joe. I am currently serving in my second deployment to Iraq as an Army officer. The biggest differences between this deployment and my last one are:
- The location (within Iraq)
- The Job (much busier : less free time/sleep)
- The duration (last deployment was 12 months, this one is 15)
I am sure you are wondering why some random soldier in Iraq would write you a letter... there are several reasons, but the primary one will be obvious by the end. First I'll tell you a little about myself.
I'm 26 years old, I've been married for almost 7 years, and I have a son and a daughter in elementary school. I grew up in Georgia, but I live in Colorado Springs now. I come from a long line of military officers, so I was sort of “destined” to serve. Although I only have 3 ½ years in the Army, I've been wearing the uniform for 12 years (JROTC & ROTC). I have a degree in computer science and I'm a music & movie enthusiast.
Now that you know a little about me, I'd like to inform you on what Iraq is really like.
Iraq is a war-torn country in political and engineering shambles. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the intent was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Once that was done, the military then targeted all Ba'athists (members of Saddam's political party) because they were assumed to be loyal to Saddam. The problem with this “eradication” was the Ba'athists were the people who managed Iraq's infrastructure. So our targeting caused the collapse of all of their water, power, sewage, oil, and transportation capabilities!
Also, because we dismantled their military, there was nobody to guard all of the thousands of artillery rounds and bullets that we stock-piled from Saddam's Army. Where do you think the insurgents & terrorists got all of their weapons, ammo, and IED material to attack U.S. troops???
These are second-order effects of the U.S. policy to intervene in foreign countries. While our intentions might be good, Americans would be better off minding our own business and using diplomacy and trade to influence other nations.
Considering that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have both stated that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on September 11th, 2001, why did we invade Iraq? And why do we have a majority of our military concentrated in Iraq??
Iraqis (and most middle-easterners in general) are used to having a dictator. The cultures of that region have a long history of authoritarian rule. Iraq had a dictator before Saddam Hussein, and they will likely resort to a dictatorship when we leave. They don't care about democracy, they just want peace. (This is not my conclusion, those are the words of the Iraqis I've talked to during my time here.) And the truest assessment that nearly all politicians, generals, diplomats and bureaucrats agree on is:
You cannot find a military solution to a diplomatic/political problem.
“The surge is working.” In recent months, attacks have gone down. Many soldiers are shocked at how long it has been since they hit an IED in certain locations, or received incoming mortar rounds hit their camp. While there is a correlation (more troops, less attacks) there is no causation. Also, most of the influx of troops have been placed in Baghdad… this increase in volume simply displaced the “terrorists” and insurgents into areas surrounding Baghdad! Since the surge began, there have been more innocent, non-combatant Iraqis killed and more soldiers have died. We have had 3 suicides in 2 weeks!! Do you think the Army attracts suicidal people? Or perhaps the cost of carrying out U.S. foreign policy is making soldiers suicidal (15 month deployments, deployment extensions, stop-loss program, etc.)...
How can anyone justify the deaths of thousands of people with optimistic predictions based on premature statistics?!?
The truth is: the country is still war-torn, people are still attacking U.S. troops and our military is still occupying their country. Studies have proven that the primary reason for suicide (terrorist) attacks is occupation. The U.S. grows a lot of corn and wheat – What would Americans do if a foreign country that clearly consumes massive amounts of corn & wheat invaded the United States to free Americans from the tyrannical regime of President Bush, and set up bases around America??! Would you believe that they only invaded to remove Bush from power? Wouldn't We Fight THEM?!?!
Most American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen signed their contract because they wanted to defend the United States. We all swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. How can we defend America and protect her Constitution from the other side of the world?!
That is why I implore you to help keep America worth fighting for...
Even if it is something as simple as voting in your state's primary election, calling your senator to voice your opposition to a bill, or telling your friends and family to vote and contact their senators.
There is a candidate who is running for President that breaks the typical mold of a corrupt politician. Not one single time, in his 17 years in Congress, has he voted to raise taxes. He served his country as a flight surgeon on the Air Force, he is a medical doctor who has been married for ever 50 years, and he never votes “yes” on legislation unless it is expressly permitted by the Constitution.
There is a candidate who is running for President that backs up his words with actions. Every stance he takes is backed by legislation he has proposed in Congress. He opposed invading Iraq because the method Congress wanted to use was unconstitutional. Even though he did not want to invade a country that posed no threat to the U.S., he still proposed a Declaration of War on Iraq just so the invasion would be Constitutional.
He has the largest following of real people across the world, yet he is selectively marginalized by main-stream media. He recently broke the record for most donations received in a single day (over $6 Million!), and somehow he is still proclaimed to be “a long shot.”
Most importantly: He is the only candidate running for President who voices genuine, consistent concern for the Constitution, the economy, foreign policy, and Liberty.
That candidate is RON PAUL.
The facts I've mentioned are the reasons that Ron Paul has more campaign donations from Active Duty Military and Veterans than any other candidate. The current conditions in Iraq are the unpredicted effects of a flawed foreign policy. The most likely (and noticeable) result of a Ron Paul presidency will be a more secure and prosperous America, because the military would defend the U.S. instead of being used as a world police force, and the money not spent overseas would dramatically improve America's economy.
The reason that I hold Ron Paul in such high esteem is not because he is experienced, or eloquent, or because he seems “like he can beat Hillary.” I support Ron Paul because I swore an oath to defend the Constitution, and Ron Paul is the only one running for President who cares about it. (It's also likely he is the only one who reads it!)
It is Ron Paul's message of freedom that draws thousands of people to hear him speak and donate their time & money to his campaign.
Ron Paul is a proven man of principle who doesn't cater to special interest groups. His number one concern is the very thing that made America such a desired place to live:
I am open to answer any questions you may have about Iraq, Ron Paul, my life, history, politics, religion, philosophy, quantum theory, or whatever else you'd like to know.
I will vote for Ron Paul in Colorado's primary election this February. I hope you will find out when your state primary election is and vote for Ron Paul too. But if you choose to vote for someone else, I will still respect you for choosing to vote… it's more than many Americans do. I just hope that you are prepared to live with the second and third-order effects of your decision.
But please Do Something to help keep Americans free, so that soldiers like me have something worth fighting for.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
“Government that is big enough to supply you with everything you need, is big enough to take everything you have.” – Thomas Jefferson