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April 25, 2004

Food for thought.

As far as I have been able to track this back, it seems genuine. Doesn't mean it won't eventually end up on Snopes with a red button - but the names and other identifying stuff I snipped all check out.

-----Original Message----- From: Someone in Iraq. Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2004 12:07 AM Subject: FW: Letter from a Marine First Lieutenant in Iraq

To All,
First, to those who have been so gracious with sending me e-mails - please forgive me for not promptly returning them. Since 9 April my life has taken a very dramatic turn based on a series of events that quite frankly will change me forever! As I'm sure many of you have heard by know the tragic events associated with the attacks on a number of contractor vehicles operating in Iraq - the company name is Kellogg, Brown & Root -or- KBR for short. {snip}, one of my major tasks is working with KBR ensuring the variety of critical service support KBR provides is delivered properly and on time IOT to the over 120,000+ Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in theater. These guys (both civilian and military alike) were my responsibility to watch over! We lost quite a number of contractors and soldiers in the attack! We've been able to recover most of the remains ... but we still have a fair number to find. By now, you've seen the pictures of the hostages - where these thugs have made these men a "public spectacle" - it tears us up! Our days have been long since 9 April and the natives have been a bit "restless" to say the least ... Victory Camp has been a favorite target - but we've weathered the storm pretty well. No causalities, but it's only going to be a matter of time .... This is a very different enemy that what we faced just about a year ago! But all that said, I can tell you the spirit of every man and women stationed here is *high* and all believe we're doing the Lord's work by being here, doing what we're doing.
Many of you have asked how you can support the men & women over here ... well here's a way. Read the letter I've attached from a young Marine First Lieutenant with I MEF over here in Fallujah -- this young kid has hit the mark! Our enemy isn't here -- it's back home and they're living under the protection of their First Amendment Right! The Right to say anything they'd like' any time, any where ... regardless of the facts surrounding their absurd statements! If you want to know what *burns* every service man and woman - it's the crap we hear and read coming for the news media every day. Our patience wears thin! This is tough duty - the locals love us and don't want us to leave - but you don't hear about that! About 90 percent of the country lives in poverty! Middle Eastern Politics prevents us from doing our Job! But don't despair, you can help .... Read the letter and see if you agree with the Lt!
Location: Deployed, Victory Camp, Baghdad, Iraq (ed note: the link is not from the letter, I inserted it in case you were interested in Victory Camp, Iraq)

"We will fight the enemy on our terms. May God help them when we're done with them,"
Maj. Gen. James Mattis, Commanding General, 1st Marine Division.

The Lieutenant's letter is in the extended post.

Subject: Letter from a Marine First Lieutenant in Iraq

Hello Everyone, I am taking time to ask you all for your help.

First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help.

It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people.

Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad. We are a people that cherish the democratic system of government and therefore hold the will of the people in the highest regard. We love to criticize ourselves almost to an endless degree, because we care what others think. Our enemies see this as a weakness and are trying to exploit it.

When we ask ourselves questions like, "Why do they hate us?" or "What did we do wrong?" we are playing into our enemies' hands. Our natural tendency to question ourselves is being used against us to undermine our effort to do good in the world.

How far would we have gotten if after the surprise attacks on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, we would have asked, "Why do the Japanese hate us so much?" or "How can we change ourselves so that they won't do that again?"

Here in Iraq the enemy is trying very hard to portray our efforts as failing and fruitless. They kill innocents and desecrate their bodies in hopes that the people back home will lose the will to fight for liberty.

They are betting on our perceived weakness as a thoughtful, considerate people. Unfortunately our media only serves to further their cause.

In an industry that feeds on ratings and bad news, a failure in Iraq would be a goldmine. When our so-called "trusted" American media takes a quote from an Iraqi doctor as the gospel truth over that of the men and women that are daily fighting to protect the right to freedom of press, you know something is wrong. That doctor claimed that out of 600 Iraqis, that were casualties of the fighting, the vast majority of them were women, children and the elderly. This is totally absurd. In the history of man, no one has spent more time and effort, often to the detriment of our own mission, to be more discriminate in our targeting of the enemy than the American military. The Marines and Soldiers serving in Iraq have gone through extensive training in order to limit the amount of innocent casualties and collateral damage.

Yet, despite all of this, our media consistently sides with those who openly lie and directly challenge the honor of our brave heroes fighting for liberty and peace.

What we have to remember is that peace is not defined as an absence of war. It is the presence of liberty, stability, and prosperity. In the face of the horrendous tyranny of the former Iraqi regime, the only way true peace was able to come to this region was through force. That is what the American Revolution was all about. Have we forgotten?

Freedom is not free and "peace" without principle is not peace. The peace that so-called "peace advocates" support can only be brought to Iraq through the military. And we are doing it, if only the world will let us!

If the American people believe we are failing, even if we are not, then we will ultimately fail. That is why I am asking for your support.

Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are fight the lies of the enemy. Don't buy into the pessimism and apathy that says, "It's hopeless," "They hate us too much," "That part of the world is just too messed up," "It's our fault anyway," "We're to blame," and so forth.

Whether you're in middle school, working at a 9-5 job, retired, or a stay-at-home mom you can make a huge difference! There is nothing more powerful than the truth. So, when you watch the news and see doomsday predictions and spiteful opinions on our efforts over here, you can refute them by knowing that we are doing a tremendous amount of good. Spread the word. No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer.
Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success. You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception.

So I'm asking you as a fellow fighting man: Do your duty. Stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side.

Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.

God Bless and Semper Fidelis,
A Marine 1st Lt. stationed in Ramadi, Iraq

Hat tip to Walt K.