Staying the Course —America's Military Personnel Speak Out!

We asked FOX Fans if the U.S. should "stay the course" in Iraq, and many active and retired U.S. military personnel responded; you can read what they had to say below. To see what the rest of our FOX Fans think, click here.

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"I believe that what we are doing in Iraq is right. I believe the way we are doing it is wrong. I was in Vietnam. I know how our 'leaders?' in Washington treated the war and how many people in this country reacted. I've talked to some of the returning service people and some civilians. They agree that what we are trying to do is correct, but the Democrats are trying to keep the good Americans from doing their job, and the leftist news propaganda machine is lying about it. Even before I went to college, as a high school dropout, I was able to figure out that if we go after the bad guys in their country, it is better then going after them in our country. We have enough home-grown bad guys; why allow more to be imported? I believe that 9/11 is proof that they will kill Americans at any cost. To do the job right, have the Marines fix their bayonets and use them as they were taught." — Gunny, USMC (Ret.)

"I've always been taught that you should never start something that you cannot or will not finish. Why would we do anything different in this case? Regardless of my personal opinion about Bush or other politicians, I have done what more people should do: put aside personal feelings and opinions and stand united behind our leaders until we are actually finished with this war. I have done this regardless of which party had a president in office; once during the almost-invasion of Haiti in 1994, and again during the Kosovo conflict in 1999. I honestly believe that the enemy we are fighting would have eventually been conducting their operations on our own soil. I'm certainly glad to be fighting them in Iraq instead of near my family." — SSG S.

"We need to stay the line; nothing gets done overnight, and to change the mindset of a nation is not a quick process. We need to ensure that it is done right the first time. Politicians need to be behind the troops and the decisions of the government as a whole. Discussion is fine, but when you encourage the terrorists by screaming about how screwed up things are and that we don't need to be there, then take credit for the next terrorist attack that kills our troops. The decision was made, Congress was consulted, and action was committed. Terrorists need to be confronted and brought to justice. Wishing for them to be nice will not stop them, nor will it bring back those who died because of them. As for countries that support us, let's support them. As for countries that are against us, why waste our time with them?"— Retired SMSgt (USAF)

"I served in Iraq from January '03 to August '03, on the ground with 1st Marines as a Corpsman. It was in-your-face combat. Due to the sacrifices made by my fellow heroes, it is truly depressing to hear or think of pulling out after all the KIA's and WIA's. Let's just handle our business as we should, and give the insurgents a true taste of combat. Stay the course. No retreat, No withdrawal. 'Semper Fidelis/Semper Fortis'"—A.H.(West Palm, FL)

"I served six years in the Navy, and while I was in there were no major conflicts — but we did sit off of the coast of Lebanon with planes loaded with bombs ready to go. It didn't happen, but I wasn't there to question if it did. I didn't make policy decisions and I didn't have the 'big picture' so to speak. I think we can all have our opinions, but they should be honest, thoughtful decisions based on fact, not political rhetoric. The fact is that we are in Iraq because of Hussein's actions and the instability of the Middle East in general. If we are able and willing to stay the course in Iraq, perhaps there may be more hope for peace in that region in the long run. It really doesn't matter at this point how or why we got there, we are there, and it is a war that must be won. For those in the military who just wanted to sign up for the benefits, I feel sorry for you. My prayers are with you and for your safety, but the reason I didn't sign up for reserve is just that reason. I did not want to be called up for war; I served my time. I did not want to take the benefits while not considering the cost." — Scott C. (Waukegan, IL)

"I think I can honestly give this the attention it deserves. I feel that we should stay the course and finish what we started. I know the American people might not agree, due to the violence and loss of life, but America has backed down from terrorism for long enough and it's time to show every country that we will not back down, leave something unfinished, or tolerate it anymore. The only way to deal with terrorists is to kill them, arrest them and let the court deal with them, or keep them running and hiding. If the troops were to pull out now it would only boost the confidence of the insurgents and destroy everything the fallen soldiers have fought for thus far. I see it every day on Iraqis faces, their happiness to be free. I have spoken to several locals and they all are appreciative of our efforts. I only hope that President Bush stands his ground, since no one else has in the past against terrorism, and that he finishes the job, no matter how long it takes. If the media would portray the whole picture here, not just the death and violence, then the American public would be better informed and less in a haste to bring the troops home. Only a fair and balanced view should be shown from Iraq, not a one-sided one." — Andy (Scout Medic, Camp Bernstein, Iraq)

“I support Bush 100%, but have doubts as to how well the top brass is running things in Iraq. They should and must be able to close the borders to insurgents and their arsenals! If only we had a LOYAL opposition in the Dems maybe we could have an intelligent review of Iraq and come up with something a little better than what we have now. But how can you have a discussion with someone who is trying to stab you in the back each chance they can! The U.S. is definitely worse off with politics being so confrontational!” — D. (U.S. Army, Iraq)

“I am sickened by politicians (Democrats and Republicans) who use this war for their own gain (Bush included!!). Why aren’t their children here? Why is it that the poor fight this war while the rich profit? Bush’s corporate buddies have profited. The Saudis go unchecked and profit. This is profit made from the death of Iraqis and Americans. Enough! The next step should be getting more help from the rest of the world to help stabilize this mess.” — J.J. (U.S. Navy)

"What we need to stop doing is playing politics in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East and do what needs to be done to stabilize the region. This war could quickly become like Vietnam if we let the bureaucrats and power seekers dictate policy. The lesson from the Vietnam War is that you cannot play by 'rules' and expect to win the conflict. I say quit playing around and get into those areas where we know we have enemies and crush them." — Katie (U.S. Army, Iraq)

“As an airman in the Air National Guard and United States Air Force who is leaving for Iraq in a few months, I want to say that when a recruit signs on the dotted line in our all-volunteer force, we know the risks of our decision.” — Ryan (SSgt., USAF – Pella, IA)

“Understand that I love my country. It’s why I truly believe that we shouldn’t be here [in Iraq] alone. It’s that simple. But we are. We need to help those who we can, but we need help from the rest of the world. We need assistance from the Arab world as well. If they support what we do here, then be brave and offer it openly, not from the shadows of half-measures. Live as Allah teaches you too, truly and fully, not the distorted fundamentalism that seems to pervade the Arab world. I am Muslim and I am here. I thought Bush had noble reasons for coming here, but he lied to us. When we heard that there were no WMD my heart sank. I stay informed and have buddies who work covertly and I know that we were misled. The entire country and world was. We need leadership that would truly make Iraq an international effort. It’s not a quagmire, but it’s very messy and complicated. I’ve seen the children here, and there is a reason to stay the course, but not Bush’s course. We need an honest and united course.” — Henry (U.S. Army, Iraq)

"I'm an old Navy veteran who retired in 1998, and my government stuck us in Viet Nam causing thousands upon thousands of military men and women to lose their lives, then we just pulled out. That was really dumb, and I've never forgotten. We kicked Hussein out of Kuwait. I was there for that too. We didn't finish that job either (again dumb). We started this war against terrorists, and for God's sakes we need to get this one right and make our most brave men and women know that they're doing the right thing in staying the course. When I hear politicians talk about pulling our troops out of Iraq, I just want to snatch them to me and break their faces; it's because of them that I haven't gotten an answer for why we pulled out of Nam without finishing the job." — Danny (CWO4 USN, Ret. – Reno, NV)

“I love my country. But Bush and his administration have done enough damage. The next step should be stopping them before it’s too late. I’m in the reserve from Arkansas, and it boggles my mind that we are stuck here, much longer than we bargained for, fighting for messy reasons all the while my home state is vulnerable. Something’s gone very wrong when our military leadership is allowed to strain our reserves that are supposed to be securing our homeland from terrorism and natural disasters. The next step? Get Rumsfeld and Bush out!” — Don (Iraq)

“As a retired Marine, it makes me sick to see our legislators waffle and dance when a war is going on. They all say, ‘We support our troops.’ If they support our troops they would keep their mouths shut or tell the truth, and encourage our troops on to victory. Instead, they pander to photographers, kiss up to liberal media types and special interest groups. If they would spend as much time solving problems as they do running for on-camera face time, our country would run like a sewing machine instead of a bulldozer with one track missing. It's crunch time all right, so let's hope our elected official bring their brains and backbone to the fight.” — Dennis (New Bern, NC)

“The U.S. should definitely stay the course. Any rumblings of a pullout will embolden the imported insurgents to either continue their efforts against us or lie low and wait until the neophyte Iraqi Army is basically on their own. We cannot afford to let the media lose another war. As a Vietnam veteran this is very important to me, as it should be to all citizens if for no other reason than the memory of those who have already given their lives to this cause.” — Tom (Sgt. Maj., USMC, Ret. – Leesville, LA)

“I recently returned from Iraq. The job is not complete yet, so why would we leave? Do we really think the dogs will leave the sheep alone if the farmer stops shooting them! How stupid are the American people? Oh, I forgot, the same people that protested the Vietnam War. My mistake! Of course the dogs will leave the sheep alone if the farmer stops shooting them. Vietnam is a democratic state right?" — O. (SSG, U.S. Army)

“I am a veteran returned from Iraq, and I believe we should stay the course. I spent a year-plus running a security crew for convoys, both with armor and without it on our Humvees. If the media would report on the improvements there instead of just the attacks, injuries, and casualties, I think the country would be behind the troops and the president a lot more than they are. The problem is the average person doesn’t get the whole story. They look at the headlines and take it for what it is without knowing there has been a huge decrease in the number and type of attacks. They see that there was another attack. That point alone would help the American people see the progress that U.S. soldiers have and they’d stand behind it more. People need to be patient, look at how long we occupied Germany after WWII, and we are still there. The same thing is true for Korea. Rebuilding a nation does not happen overnight, but the chance for hope does, and the Iraqi’s now have a chance.” — Stephen (SFC, Army National Guard – Columbus, OH)

“The next step for the U.S. in Iraq would be an Iraqi decision. We should stay the course as long as we are needed.” — James (SFC, USMC/U.S. Army Retired – South Burlington, VT)

“Being a Marine veteran, I believe we are too far in this war to just throw up our hands and let these terrorist dictate how we will live. It takes time to accomplish any goal in a war. We need to focus on what happened on 9/11 and ask ourselves, do we want that to happen again?! We should stay in Iraq 'til we have accomplished our mission of making not only this country, but the world safe to live in again.” — Jason (Kodiak, AK)

“I agree with our president that we must stay the course. I just returned from Iraq and I think our biggest problem is that we do not enough troops to patrol the Iraqi border. To leave now would mean that all of the American blood that has been shed would be for nothing. Plus, what does that say to the terrorists? They have won? What we need is for other countries to lend a helping hand and send in troops to help us fight these terrorists head on.” — Russ (Sgt, USMC)