An open letter to John Murtha

Dear Representative Murtha,

I am still in shock over your pronouncement to immediately withdraw our troops from Iraq.  At least you had the personal courage to stand up and unequivocally define the end game of your political party.  Many of your less courageous colleagues have adopted the modus operandi of impugning the character of our President, criticizing him while on foreign shores and telling out right lies in order to gain political advantage.

As a twice wounded, personally decorated Marine Vietnam combat veteran, I would have thought that the images of  Marine helicopters desparately snatching the last remnants of loyal Vietnamese from the rooftop of our embassy in Saigon as well as the disbelief etched on the faces of the young Rangers who were told they were not allowed back into Mogadishu to avenge the loss of 18 of their brothers would have cured you from thinking that the cut and run approach has ever served our country very well.
Someone much smarter than I once said that those who fail to learn from history are bound to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Iraq and all the issues that swirl around it provide enormous stores of grist from which self serving, narrowly focused politicians can achieve their few fleeting moments of fame.  But hopefully, one would have thought that some would resist this temptation and put the national interests of our great nation first.  Let me be specific.

Bernard Lewis in his book entitled The Crisis of Islam spoke at some length about how Islamic fundamentalists view the world today.    Mr. Lewis describes this view as follows.

'In their perception, it was they, not America that had won the Cold War  In their eyes, the Soviet Union was not the benign helper in the common struggle against Jews and the western imperialism but rather the fountainhead of atheism and unbelief, the oppressor of many millions of Muslim subjects, and the invader of Afghanistan.  As they saw it, not implausibly, it was their struggle in Afghanistan that had defeated the mighty Red Army and driven the Soviets to defeat and collapse. Having disposed of the more ferocious and more dangerous of the two infidel superpowers, their next task was to deal with the other, the United States, and in this war the compromisers were tools and agents of the infidel enemy.  For a variety of reasons, the Islamic fundamentalists believed that fighting America would be a simpler and easier task.  In their view, the United States had become morally corrupt, socially degenerate, and in consequence politically and militarily enfeebled.'

Iraq has been a costly undertaking for our country though not as costly as others in which we have been engaged..  If one were to catalog all our accomplishments, many of which are unknown because of inadequate and biased reporting, and divide them by the number of days we have been there, I am certain that few other military operations would be able to show such startling results on a day by day basis.  Those results have been achieved and made possible by the blood and sacrifices of the members of the finest military in the world.  Make no mistake, the Islamo fascists we face over there fear and respect our military.  They know that if it were up to our military alone, their efforts to defeat us would fail. 

I cannot help but believe, with all my heart, that comments like yours and the agenda of many on the left give them hope that they can win this thing in the long run.

Finally, I leave you with this question.  After we pull our folks out as you suggest...then what?

Semper Fidelis,

Dave St. John
Capt, USMCR 1964—70 RVN Vet

Dear Representative Murtha,

I am still in shock over your pronouncement to immediately withdraw our troops from Iraq.  At least you had the personal courage to stand up and unequivocally define the end game of your political party.  Many of your less courageous colleagues have adopted the modus operandi of impugning the character of our President, criticizing him while on foreign shores and telling out right lies in order to gain political advantage.

As a twice wounded, personally decorated Marine Vietnam combat veteran, I would have thought that the images of  Marine helicopters desparately snatching the last remnants of loyal Vietnamese from the rooftop of our embassy in Saigon as well as the disbelief etched on the faces of the young Rangers who were told they were not allowed back into Mogadishu to avenge the loss of 18 of their brothers would have cured you from thinking that the cut and run approach has ever served our country very well.
Someone much smarter than I once said that those who fail to learn from history are bound to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Iraq and all the issues that swirl around it provide enormous stores of grist from which self serving, narrowly focused politicians can achieve their few fleeting moments of fame.  But hopefully, one would have thought that some would resist this temptation and put the national interests of our great nation first.  Let me be specific.

Bernard Lewis in his book entitled The Crisis of Islam spoke at some length about how Islamic fundamentalists view the world today.    Mr. Lewis describes this view as follows.

'In their perception, it was they, not America that had won the Cold War  In their eyes, the Soviet Union was not the benign helper in the common struggle against Jews and the western imperialism but rather the fountainhead of atheism and unbelief, the oppressor of many millions of Muslim subjects, and the invader of Afghanistan.  As they saw it, not implausibly, it was their struggle in Afghanistan that had defeated the mighty Red Army and driven the Soviets to defeat and collapse. Having disposed of the more ferocious and more dangerous of the two infidel superpowers, their next task was to deal with the other, the United States, and in this war the compromisers were tools and agents of the infidel enemy.  For a variety of reasons, the Islamic fundamentalists believed that fighting America would be a simpler and easier task.  In their view, the United States had become morally corrupt, socially degenerate, and in consequence politically and militarily enfeebled.'

Iraq has been a costly undertaking for our country though not as costly as others in which we have been engaged..  If one were to catalog all our accomplishments, many of which are unknown because of inadequate and biased reporting, and divide them by the number of days we have been there, I am certain that few other military operations would be able to show such startling results on a day by day basis.  Those results have been achieved and made possible by the blood and sacrifices of the members of the finest military in the world.  Make no mistake, the Islamo fascists we face over there fear and respect our military.  They know that if it were up to our military alone, their efforts to defeat us would fail. 

I cannot help but believe, with all my heart, that comments like yours and the agenda of many on the left give them hope that they can win this thing in the long run.

Finally, I leave you with this question.  After we pull our folks out as you suggest...then what?

Semper Fidelis,

Dave St. John
Capt, USMCR 1964—70 RVN Vet