Letter to the editor

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America: love it or leave it
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 - 12:00am

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter in response to an article that I read in the Feb. 12, 2004 issue of the Eagle. The article is titled "America; the mean kid on the playground of the world." In this article the author made several false and irrational statements that have no place in a publication from an institution of higher thinking. And though we are taught knowledge here, there is a severe lack of wisdom.

The article starts out with a scenario where the author presumes to be an expert on military tactics. He states with certainty that our military is not trained to recognize hiding positions and that they are not trained to fight guerilla forces. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

As a former Marine and a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom I can assure you that we are trained to recognize hiding positions of our enemy, whether we are fighting in cities, deserts, mountains or jungles. When I first arrived in Baghdad we encountered our enemy not face-to-face but with them hiding in buildings while we were out in the open in the streets. All the Marines that I served with were able to quickly find the location of enemy fighters who were firing upon us. The fact that very few enemies were able to fire off a full magazine before we found and killed them puts the author's claims to rest. Marines and soldiers are trained and effective against these types of tactics. I never heard of any coalition unit turning and retreating in the face of these would-be ambushes.

Next, the writer states that the U.S. frowns upon guerilla tactics because American guns have little affect on them and that these tactics are as evil as George W. Bush Jr. First let me remind you that our current president is George Walker Bush not George Herbert Walker Bush Jr. How can you expect your readers to take you seriously when you don't even know the name of our current president?

Second, as I have stated earlier, our military is quite effective against guerilla tactics. Since you don't know the name of the president I suspect that you don't know what guerilla tactics are, so I will explain. A guerilla fighter is someone who tries to defeat his enemy through a series of small hit and run attacks. He does this either because he is outnumbered or because he is outmatched.

U.S. military doctrine once called for attrition warfare where we defeat our enemy by superior numbers. For years it called for a 3:1 ratio in which we would attack enemy units with three times more men than they had. But with the changing of the modern battlefield and senior leadership that ratio has been greatly reduced in fact we went into Iraq out numbered by the enemy.

This is called tactical warfare. Some of these tactics include guerilla tactics. I have spent countless hours training the various squads that I have lead in the past how to execute guerilla and counter guerilla operations. Whether it was in the jungles of south east Asia or in the Sierra-Nevada Mountains, my Marines were thoroughly trained this way. We were not part of any specialized unit or anything like that but were a regular rifle squad in a normal line company.

Another disturbing statement is "The U.S. spends more money on defense than the rest of the world". Why shouldn't we? We are the lone superpower of the world. If we had let our guard down for too long who knows how many more terrorist attacks would have been successful.

Immediately after the attacks of 9-11 our military began Operation Enduring Freedom. Included in this operation was our activities and involvement in Afghanistan and also Operation Noble Eagle, which was our homeland security operation that activated thousands of reservists. These reservists were sent to various places throughout the nation in order to react to any situation that might arise and also to supplement security at places like airports, nuclear power plants, the Olympics and the Super Bowl to name a few. All of this costs a lot of money. What you are obviously clueless about is how all those funds allotted to the Department of Defense are distributed.

No doubt millions of dollars go into quality of life and recreational programs for the service members. Still, more money is spent on housing, day care and health care and also the maintenance of those facilities. Finally you have to pay all of those men and women who are the highest paid military in the world. I don't deny that plenty of money is spent on weapons, but as our battlefield changes so must our tools of the trade.

America is a very wealthy nation, but what percentage of our budget is spent on defense? Unfortunately, I don't have the answer, but surely you agree that North Korea spends a higher percent of its budget than the American nation that you hate so much. In Indonesia the middle class is made up almost entirely of the military members. Malaysia and Thailand are no different. In fact much of southern Asia is in the same boat. I know this from talking to the members of these foreign militaries when I trained them in the summer of 2001. This is first-hand knowledge that would be hard to disprove.

The author goes on to mention the Iraqi "citizens" who shoot rockets at U.S. helicopters. Once again an assumption stated as a fact. How can someone who hasn't been there assume to know the nationality of these enemy fighters? In my experience of taking prisoners and doing quick initial interrogations, we found out that many of them were Syrians, Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Iranians. Who knows how many others were there. All these people came not because they agree with Saddam Hussein but because of religious reasons to fight the Americans.

However, the citizens of Iraq were extremely happy that we had arrived. The citizens felt very little animosity toward the U.S. I remember the citizens asking us to take their children with us back to America. I have been home since June 2003, but just two weeks ago as I was sitting in a barber chair I had the privilege to talk to a Utah soldier who was on leave from Baghdad and he informed me that the sentiment toward the United States is the same now as it was when I was there. Those people are traveling under the graceful arms of Lady Liberty with no threat or problems from America.

Like most Americans, I don't consider our government to be a problem and my world consists of more than just my television set. That "dull road outside my window" is where children play, where women can plant their flower gardens and hard working Americans can park what ever vehicle they choose to buy even if it is a gas guzzling SUV. It is a road where Americans, native born and immigrants alike, hold parades, street fairs and other festivals to celebrate their heritage. It is that road because of the men who you so irresponsibly and disrespectfully called terrorists.

Finally the author starts to bring his uneducated and ignorant article to a close by stating that the answer is not easy but then he finishes the very same sentence by calling it simple. He then goes on for two full paragraphs to explain his hard but simple solution. The content of the entire article that I am responding to is nothing more than mindless rambling. I understand that a viewpoint is an opinion but to fill so much space with assumption presented as fact is the type of stuff that you read in The National Enquirer. I would have thought that someone would have read over that particular article and made the writer revise it but apparently that kind of responsibility doesn't exist at the Eagle.

As I bring my letter to a close I would like to direct your attention to the title, "America. Love it or leave it." Though it is cliché , it is relevant to my letter. If you don't like it here, leave behind your bed, running water, and your television. Leave behind your grocery stores and video stores and ice cream shops. Leave behind the Wal-Marts and K-Marts. Drop out of school and use your tuition money to move to your beloved Iraq or Afghanistan and make a difference there. If voicing your opinion was a privilege and not a right what sacrifices have you made to earn that right? I hear plenty of whining but see very little action. The politics of the world has never been perfect and most likely never will be, so learn to appreciate the good and if you don't like something, take more action than just crying.

--Brett Edwards

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