Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Everyone Here Is Treating Me Real Well....

I knew that the military liked conformity, but writing the soldier's letters home for them seems like a bit much.

ABC News reports:
Each letter was signed by a different soldier, but the words were identical: "Kirkuk is a hot and dusty city of just over a million people. The majority of the city has welcomed our presence with open arms. After nearly five months here, the people still come running from their homes, into the 110-degree heat, waving to us as our troops drive by on daily patrols of the city. Children smile and run up to shake hands and in their broken English shouting, "Thank you, Mister." ... In an e-mail to ABCNEWS today, the commander of the battalion, Lt. Col. Dominic Caraccilo, said the "letter-writing initiative" was all his idea.

On the one hand I know a lot of people who hate to write letters or feel that they can't express themselves. But on the other hand I think that it would have been a lot better if the Lt. Col. had written the letter, signed it himself, and then offered it to the soldiers to INCLUDE in their letters home. The way it was done smells like a rat. It makes me wonder if there was some sort of pressure applied to the guys to 'be a good soldier' and send this letter home. I hope not because honestly I would want to kick the a** of anyone who treated them that way. They are in a difficult enough spot as it is.

We Americans like to think of ourselves as 'the good guys'. I can't imagine what a gruelling ordeal the soldiers are dealing with in Iraq. So if they were welcomed in Kirkuk (which the ABC News article leads me to believe), then I'm glad the battallion got a chance to feel like the good guys. Politically I wish they weren't there. For their safety I wish they weren't there. But really, Lt. Col. Caraccilo, don't try to pull the wool over our eyes and don't put words in their mouths (and letters). I'm sure that Amy Connell's son could have penned a much more poignant letter if he had just written, "Mom, I feel like a hero..."

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