I received this in email this morning. I was joyous in reading it but at the same time angry. Why email? Why is this not on the front page and the mainstream news? This is a VICTORY! My son laid down his life as did so many others. American men and women made sacrifices to make this happen so where is the “Job Well Done!” from our nation. Where are the heads hung by those who did not bother to vote in our own national elections? I don’t care if you supported our reasons for going into Iraq or not you cannot read this and not see that something amazing and wonderful has happened. The people of Iraq now have a voice and they are using it. Thank you Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and the families who stayed strong here at home for them. You made a difference in the world. You created REAL HOPE and REAL CHANGE.
I took off all identifying info to protect this Brave American Marine and Hero who sent this! I am also forwarding to Fox News in hopes they will report the story. I truly believe the work and sacrifice these brave American Heroes are doing in Iraq will ensure Iraq as our ally, unless Obama pulls them out and screws it all up! With all my heart, to my Son, who served 4 tours, and all his comrades, Thank You and President Bush for your perseverance. Little Iraqi children sleep safer in their beds because of your selfless sacrifice. I have no doubt you have secured a safer future for my grandchildren and yours. This news should be ringing all over the world! You Are Heroes, Every Single One of You! I hope this email gets passed all over the world!
General George Washington left us with this warning and Americans should take heed:
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
The Band of Mothers
I don't suppose this will get much coverage in the States as the news is so good. No, the news is unbelievable.
Something didn't happen in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, today. Once the most violent and most dangerous places on earth, no suicide vest bomber detonated killing dozens of voters. No suicide truck bomber drove into a polling place collapsing the building and killing and injuring over 100. No Marine was in a firefight engaging an Al Qaida terrorist trying to disrupt democracy.
What did happen was Anbar Sunnis came out in their tens of thousands to vote in the first free election of their lives.
With the expectation of all of the above (suicide bombers) they walked miles (we shut down all vehicle traffic with the exception of some shuttle busses for the elderly and infirm) to the polling places. I slept under the stars with some Grunts at Combat Outpost Iba on the far side of Karma, and started driving the 200 miles up the Euphrates River Valley through Karma, Fallujah, Habbiniyah, Ramadi, Hit, Baghdad and back here to Al Asad. I stopped here and there to speak with cops, soldiers, Marines, and most importantly, regular Iraqi men and women along the way. It was the same everywhere. A tension with every finger on a trigger that broke at perhaps 3PM when we all began to think what was almost unthinkable a year ago. We might just pull this off without a bombing. No way. By 4PM it seemed like we'd make it to 5PM when the polls closed. At 4:30 the unbelievable happened: the election was extended an hour to 6PM because of the large crowds! What are they kidding? Tempting fate like that is not nice. Six PM and the polls close without a single act of violence or a single accusation of fraud, and nearly by early reports pretty close to 100% voted. Priceless.
Every Anbari walking towards the polling place had these determined and, frankly, concerned looks on their faces. No children with them (here mothers and grandmothers are NEVER without their children or grandchildren) because of the expectation of death. Husbands voted separately from wives, and mothers separately from fathers for the same reason. In and out quickly to be less of a target for the expected suicide murderer. When they came out after voting they also wore the same expression on their faces, but now one of smiling amazement as they held up and stared at ink stained index fingers.
Norman Rockwell could not have captured this wonderment. Even the ladies voted in large numbers and their husbands didn't insist on going into the booths to tell them who to vote for.
One of the things I've always said was that we came here to "give" them democracy. Even in the dark days my only consolation was that it was about freedom and democracy. After what I saw today, and having forgotten our own history and revolution, this was arrogance. People are not given freedom and democracy - they take it for themselves. The Anbaris deserve this credit.
Today I step down as the dictator, albeit benevolent, of Anbar Province . Today the Anbaris took it from me. I am ecstatic. It was a privilege to be part of it, to have somehow in a small way to have helped make it happen.