Supporting our troops like supporting LAPD
Congratulations Patrick McGonegal - you've accomplished what no other letter writer has in the last two decades or so: You peeved me enough to respond to your inane letter. In labeling Americans in uniform as "criminals" by their involvement in the current conflict in Iraq, you are "walking on the fighting side of me" to badly paraphrase a country tune. Being the peaceful-type of guy that I am, I'd gladly settle for a debate of these issues any time, any place, any stage or forum fully knowing that I'd be reducing myself, intellectually to the level of the truly clueless.
Better yet, perhaps I can introduce you to an Iraqi couple I know who are now living in Minnesota. They would tell you a different perspective of life in rural Iraq than the animal anecdotes and fables Erik Lie-Nielsen and you have portrayed. The "extra bananas" that your impish little 20-pound monkey (Saddam) gathered are Shi'ite Muslim 14-year-old boys conscripted into front line fodder, rape-on-demand and whim of father Saddam and sons, and cat-and-mouse weapon stashing the rest of the world other than the McGonegals and Lie-Nielsens accept as conventional wisdom. (Just ask what's left of the people of Dohuk or Mosul in the Kurdish frontier regions.) My Iraqi friends, the Mehdi'is could go on and on about random imprisonment, torture, poisoned wells for retribution and non-Sunni religious persecution, but why allow truth to get in the way of your determined hatred of all thing American? Naughty monkey indeed. (By the way, can we stop trivializing this conflict with fables?) War is blood, sweat, tears, and assorted strewn body parts of young folks who might have once shared a holiday dinner with you.
I have a relative who was a decorated World War II chaplain. Uncle Claude hated war and was considered by many to be a conscientious objector yet served in an unarmed supportive capacity tending souls and sucking-chest wounds. The difference between Uncle Claude and you, Mr. McGonegal, is that my uncle had guts, or as they used to say in the trenches, "Just be there" - and he was.
In the second paragraph you said the armed forces members are there by choice. Hopefully something might have sparked a profound revelation (freedom to choose, gee, where does that come from?) but apparently your intellectual gunpowder is a little damp.
John T. Schwinghammer