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For Release: September 3, 2004
President Bush Quotes U.S. Army Spc. Joe Roche's Letter from Iraq in Convention Acceptance Speech Roche's Comments As Cited by President Originally Published by National Center in April; Newspaper, Radio and Internet Blog Response Led Americans to Send Care Packages to Soldiers in Iraq
In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, President George W. Bush quoted U.S. Army Specialist Joe Roche, whose e-mails from the front in Iraq have been published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Said the President:
Our troops know the historic importance of our work. One Army Specialist wrote home: "We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place... The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq," he continued, "are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."
The quote comes from an essay penned by Roche as he served in Baghdad with the 16th Armored Engineer Battalion, part of the 1st Armored Division. It was published by The National Center in April.
Roche and his unit spent 15 months in Iraq. The essay is available online here and as an entry in our blog here. It has been run as an op-ed by more than two dozen major newspapers including the Houston Chronicle, San Diego Union-Tribune and Sacramento Bee, and it and similar comments by Roche have been read aloud on-air by major talk hosts including Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan and Tony Snow.
As a result of the essay, and thanks in large part to the efforts of talk radio hosts and more than 200 very supportive Internet blogs, a suggestion by Roche that care packages be sent to troops with extended deployments in Iraq resulted in a large number of such packages being sent.
As Roche wrote to talk radio host Kirby Wilbur of Seattle's KVI Radio, whose listeners were especially active in asembling and mailing care packages: "Many many care packages from the Washington state area arrived... some were even sent down in convoys to our soldiers deployed in Karbala and Najaf. I simply can't tell you how important and encouraging the packages were for the soldiers during those difficult months."
Information about sending care packages to troops in Iraq, as well as additional information about Roche and links to his other writing, is available here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, conservative/free-market think-tank established in 1982.