Tuesday, January 10, 2006

There is nothing more devastating to the families of the men serving in Iraq than to read about a helicopter going down with 15 or 17 men on board, and all lives lost. Each one prays that their man or woman, son or daughter, brother or sister, was not aboard.. Each one prays silently that their loved one is safe somewhere else. A roadside bomb goes off or a suicide bomber stands in line of young men applying for a police recruit job and then hits the button that sets off his bomb, two Americans and 20 Iraqis are blown up, and again, each one prays a bit, each one worries, until the names are released.

We see their pictures in the Obituary column of the L.A. Times, stalwart, often very good looking, what we think of as an all-American young man or woman, black, Latino, or white, whatever, a well trained totally fit young person or an officer, often a bit older, serving at the behest of their country, all of them making sacrifices for us, and some of them paying the ultimate price while doing so. Their families mourn their loss.

As an American, I share their grief, their loss, because I know that they are over there to fight terrorism where it originates, in the middle-east, in areas where the Muslim religion is practiced, where they preach, teach and train young people to kill the Infidels which means those of us who do not practice their faith, who have not converted to Islam and who now practice a different religion.

What kind of a faith or religion is this, we should ask, that sanctions such evil acts? We read about the differences between Sunnis and Shiites, differences which also drive clerics to teach hate against that other sect, hate that will lead to plots where Sunnis will blow themselves up or detonate a car filled with explosives next to a Shiite mosque when worshippers have gathered there, or the Shiites to send a bomber to a Sunni gathering. Think back a month to the suicide bomber who mingled with a wedding party in Jordan and detonated his pack, in what was a horrendous crime, absolutely beyond my comprehension, that anyone could perpretrate such a unspeakable act...to kill a score of people at what should have been the most memorable event in the lives of a young man and woman deeply in love, the joy and dancing and happiness driven from their lives forever by this terrorist. Oh, the horror of it all, the senselessness, the mental depravity and brutality of anyone who could plan and then help wrap those explosive belts around a young man who would soon die...along with those innocent victims.

I ask you, how can anyone find comfort in a religion where others seek out the words that would teach them hate instead of love, where they would destroy the lives of fellow Muslims because of differences in the interpretation of the same Holy book. I am sure that most Muslims simply wish to take the good and comforting thoughts from the words they find there, to live in peace, raise their families in love and harmony with their neighbors, and are as sick of heart as I am when they read about these senseless killings.

I am sure that most Muslims in Baghdad simply want the horror to be finished, to have law and order, to have electricity 24 hours a day, to have safe drinking water, and a sewer system that works, that they do not want to be worried each time a family member leaves the house that they may not return because of a car-full of explosives that could go off as they drive downtown. They too watch their TV at home in the suburbs of Baghdad and pray that their husband or son or daughter was not in the area when the bomb went off.

As one soldier wrote home: "Dad, they're just like us." And, they are. I've been to the Persian Gulf and met some of the people who lived there, but that was many years ago. Yet, where-ever I traveled during my days at sea, I found the people to be just like us. In 1944 I witnessed a ship off the coast of Algiers, the S.S. Paul Hamilton attacked by a German plane, blow up, with 580 American service-men aboard, and all were consumed in that terrible and devastating explosion, not a single survivor, no bodies to recover and bury with but a single exception, and I think about it to this day. "Dad, they're just like us," because they were us!

Were the American military and their Allies to leave now, it is certain that Civil War would break out in Iraq. They cannot leave until there is a strong central government in democratic form and a strong military answerable to that central government in order to maintain law and order and to protect the citizens of Iraq. To abandon the Iraqis at this point would certainly result in more thousands of innocent people being slaughtered, so American men and women will remain there until the job is done if we have any self-respect or decency within us. There is no other way, no other answer, but for us to make the necessary sacrifices. We must defeat the forces of Evil who use Islam as a cover over there, or we will soon find them again among us. That should be obvious to all, but it isn't. To those protestors who deny this truth, should they succeed in gaining their objective for us to abandon our posts, and should we do so, we will all experience the terrible and horrible results of their stupidity as it comes down upon our heads, as our own people begin to suffer these same horrors from these terrorists on our land, here, from New York to California that is taking place now in the mid-east.

Yes, I will continue to feel heartsick at each news report when American lives are lost, but I know that they are acting to protect us, here, almost 300 million of us, from more attacks like the 9/11 attack upon the World Trade Center in N.Y.C.

I will feel no less heart-sick when hearing about the Iraqis who are just like us when they die in such attacks, and then I wonder how anyone can be depraved enough to send out these suicide-bombers and yet claim to be a person of religious commitment?

This should be uppermost in the minds of all of us, how can anyone be so depraved, and then for us to fear the results should they win the battle for the minds of the people in Iraq, or simply take control of Iraq or elsewhere in that area by force.