20 May 2009

Letters From Iraq, Part 15

His correspondence took place on 7/22/2007

Mr. B——-
A colleague of mine, Carol H——, recently spoke with your son, Ryan, for an article and suggested I contact you for a story I am writing today.
The White House released their Iraq Report Card today. President Bush said that the security situation is complex and challenging, political progress is lagging and the economic success is uneven. Yet, some progress is being made and we cannot afford to pull out of the country. Here is a story that goes into more detail about the report: http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/blog/2007/07/bush_delivers_mixed_report_car.html

As the father of a son in Iraq, what are your thoughts on the Iraq Report Card and President Bush’s comments? How has Ryan’s experience been, and what has it been like for your family to have a loved one at war? What would you like to see happen in Iraq?
If you’d like to comment for my story, please feel free to respond via email, or give me a call at one of the telephone numbers listed below.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts
Marti C

Marti,
Wow, pretty heavy stuff for sure. Thanks for contacting me. As we speak my son Ryan is on his way home to Fort Hood Texas for 2 weeks R&R (Rest and Recuperation). He will go back after his R&R and will remain in Iraq until his division (First Cavalry) rotates back in January of 08. He is an Apache-Longbow Attack Helicopter pilot and has seen quite a bit of heavy action since his unit was deployed in October of 06. I stay in touch with him and several other soldiers from his unit and throughout all our correspondence; I have never once detected anything but optimism and determination to accomplish their mission to create a free and democratic Iraq, free from terrorism and intrusion by outside forces. Since his deployment, I have kept a scrapbook of all our e-mails and newspaper clipping from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post and New York Times. I now have 7 complete 3″ binders for him. I want my son to see just how the war has been played out back home in the press. I am a firm believer in the printed word (must be the old newspaper boy in me). As a kid I used to deliver the paper for .33 per week (six days). Sorry for these asides….
I am well aware of the interim report that has come out today. I personally think we should honor our commitment and word to General David Petraeus and our forces in the field, and wait for his report due out in September. After he reports and the results are made public, our government and military leaders can reassess our options and course of action.
As a former army soldier who served in Vietnam in 1966-1967, I am convinced now, as I was back then, that we need to honor our commitments and see this thru to a favorable ending for the people of Iraq. To do otherwise will just lead to a continuing decline of freedom and liberty throughout the region and the world driven by a radical and terroristic Islamic element. We must as a nation remain strong and unwavering or we will lose everything that is most precious to us. Our politicians in Washington must band together in this effort. General Douglas MacArthur said once “I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within”.
As for as how Ryan’s direct involvement has had an effect on our family, I can tell you this. We worry 24/7 and we await his final return home with great anticipation. I now know exactly how my mother and father felt during my year in combat in Vietnam. We are immensely proud of Ryan, his wife Ashley and his five children, all of whom have borne the heaviest burden.
I would hate to think that my son and his compatriots would have to see something like I saw recently in the Washington Post when they printed a large full page add with a picture of our President George Bush welcoming and shaking the hand of the President of Vietnam to this country, while standing in front of a bust of Ho Chi Minh. I could just hear and see over 58,000 American dead from that war raising their hands from their hallowed graves in protest. Can you picture some future American President doing this with Osama Bin Laden?
I will forward some of Ryan’s e-mails which may give you a better look at what his take is on this. Please feel free to use whatever you wish. Contact me further should you wish.
Thanks for contacting me and GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS, AIRMAN AND MARINES.

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