Dear American Soldier in Iraq:
There are a few things you should know about how tens of millions of us back home feel about you and the fight you are waging. These things need to be said, especially now, given the fact that the head of one of America’s two major political parties has announced that the war in Iraq is lost.
This war has not been lost. What has happened is that many Americans, for all sorts of reasons — some out of simple fatigue, some because they do not believe that war solves anything, some out of deep loathing for the present administration — do not believe that what you are doing is worth doing.
You know that what you are doing is worth continuing. You see on an almost daily basis the faces of people who count on you to help them make a freer society than they have ever known. You know that your presence in Iraq is all that stands between numberless men, women and children and a horrible death. But, for whatever reasons, the fate of these people and their country do not matter to those who feel you are wasting your time and our nation’s resources in Iraq.
You know that the fight you wage is worth waging. You know that you are not, by and large, fighting Iraqis who do not want you there but fighting people from other countries who come into Iraq in order to blow up and maim as many innocent Iraqis as possible.
You know that you are fighting the most vicious and primitive ideology in the world today. It is the belief that one’s God wants his followers to maim, torture and murder in order to spread a system of laws that sends societies back to a moral and intellectual state that is pre-civilization.
You know that the war you wage against these people and their totalitarian ideology is also necessary because a society unwilling to fight for its values does not have values worth sustaining. And for that reason, you in Iraq and many of us back home are worried about America.
You know that there is real good and real evil in the world. You have seen both more than any of us at home will probably see in a lifetime. Why so many in America and the West generally no longer believe that there is good and evil, let alone in the importance of having good vanquish evil, is a subject for a book. But that is the problem here. So when, God willing, you return healthy and victorious, you will have another battle to wage — on behalf of moral clarity. In that regard we are losing our way. Millions of our fellow Americans — often the best educated — do not understand that those who send young people to blow up weddings, kindergartens, market places and college libraries in the promise of a paradise filled with young women are the Nazis of our time.
You know all these things. And tens of millions of us back home also know these things.
We see you as the best and brightest of our society. Even The New York Times, one of the mainstream media publications that do not understand the epic battle you are waging, acknowledged in an article by one of its embedded correspondents that few Americans of your age can come close to you in maturity, wisdom or leadership abilities.
It is unfortunate that the battle for moral clarity and moral courage in America is as divisive as the battle for freedom is in Iraq. But that is the nature of the world we live in. And it has ever been so. “Woe unto those who call evil good and good evil,” wrote the Prophet Isaiah about 2,500 years ago. Not much has changed in two and a half millennia.
So Isaiah would be proud of you. Indeed, as a religious person, I believe with all my heart and soul that your work to uproot the greatest evil of our time and enable a people to build the first free Arab Muslim country is as holy, if not holier, as almost anything a minister, priest or rabbi does back home.
You probably knew all this. But you need to hear it anyway.
That, and thank you. Thank you very much.