This post is a little late since Veterans' Day was over a week ago, but I thought I'd put it out there anyway.
There is good news on the war front. At this point in time it looks like there will be a gradual drawdown of troops in Iraq. This doesn't really have much to do with the election as the success of the mission has been determined by the superiority of our men and women in uniform and the great leadership they have by officers in the field and strategy room. Afghanistan will continue to present its own challenges, but I think we can be confident of eventually prevailing.
While this has been an unpopular war, there has been a huge difference between Iraq and Viet Nam. In the Viet Nam war our soldiers were singled out for criticism and called horrendous names. There seemed to be no difference attached to the fact that they were mostly soldiers drafted into the service and were not to be blamed for being sent out. The soldiers in Iraq are 100% volunteer. You would think that volunteering for an unpopular war would garner criticism but the American people seem to instinctively understand that for the most part the mission to Iraq has a noble component to it.
Our soldiers exemplify what it is to be an American in unique ways to how other soldiers are trained. They learn obedience with responsibility for their actions. They train in their craft of war with the objective to defend rather than to conquer. They conduct themselves as professionals knowing that they represent the honor and ideals of our country. This has been noted by others in the Alliance. Here is an excerpt:
. . . a post by a French OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) infantryman working with our troops there. A couple of brief excerpts:
Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine - they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them - we are wimps, even the strongest of us - and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans. [....]
Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.
And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.
Even the French recognize how great an Armed Forces we have. :) I am proud of our servicemen and women. I am thankful that they are standing guard so that people like me can sleep at night in freedom. I am grateful that they will defend our rights against any and all enemies. But most of all, I am in their debt as a fellow veteran. The camaraderie we feel from one generation to the next can't be expressed in words. I continue to fight alongside them in virtual reality. Once a GI always a GI.
Although over 140,000 of them will spend Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home and hearth, our prayers should continue to be with them as we long for the day of their return.
Hat tip to American Thinker