Keep the Faith: A Letter from Iraq
I'm in Baghdad, Iraq.
I'm a soldier with the U.S. Army serving in the 16th Combat Engineer Battalion.
The news you are hearing stateside
is awfully depressing and negative. The reality is we are accomplishing
a tremendous amount here, and the Iraqi people are not only benefiting
greatly, but are enthusiastically supportive.
Our efforts to train vast
numbers of Iraqis to police and secure the city's basic law and
order are bearing fruit.
This is the work of the U.S.
Every day the Iraqi people stream out into the streets to cheer and wave at us as we drive by. When I'm on a foot patrol, walking among a crowd, countless people thank us --repeatedly.
I realize the shocking image
of a dead soldier or a burning car is more sellable than boring,
detailed accounts of our rebuilding efforts. This is why you
hear bad news and may be receiving an incorrect picture.
The reality is one of an ever-increasing defeat of the enemies we face. Our enemies are therefore more desperate. They are striking out more viciously and indiscriminately. I realize this is causing Americans stress, and I assure you it causes us stress, too.
When I was a civilian, I spent time as a volunteer with the Israeli army. I assure you we are not facing the hostility Israelis face. Here in Iraq, we Americans are welcomed by most Iraqis.
I'm not trying to sound like a big tough guy. I'm scared every day, and pray before every mission for our safety and success. This is a combat zone. We are in the heart of the world's leading terrorist birthing society. I remember well how families of suicide bombers who attacked in Israel received tens of thousands of dollars from Saddam for their kins' horrendous crimes. A generation of Iraqis was growing up in a Stalinist worship of such terrorism.
They are no longer.
Yes, there are terrorists who wish to strike these things down, but this is a test of will we must win.
We can do this, as long as
Americans at home keep faith with the soldiers in this war.
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Joe Roche serves with the U.S. Army's 16th Combat Engineer Battalion in Iraq and is an adjunct fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington think-tank. Comments may be sent to him via firstname.lastname@example.org
|WEBMASTER NOTE: Joe Roche has sent us an e-mail to relay a soldier's perspective on the events in and sround Baghdad as of the morning of April 7, Eastern US time. To see his comments, please click here.|