Stay the Course

It was a fun, frictionless show on Thursday. In fact, even the "Question of the Day" did not inspire controversy. All the e-mailers and phoners agree that the air marshals were right to gun down the out-of-control passenger in Miami. He may be mentally ill, but authorities didn't have the luxury of a background check, just a bomb threat.

For me, the most interesting segment was the torture debate. We only had three and half minutes, but its clear that these terrorists don't talk with Cold War tactics. I was stunned to find out we can't even do a "good cop/bad cop" tactic without permission and water boarding could get our CIA agents jailed. They took the debate into the green room through our Turning Down the Heat series. I say, anything that gets these guys to talk and give up good intelligence is OK with me and, judging by the polls and e-mails, you agree.

Last time I cut and pasted a letter from an American Army Colonel (Wesley) you hit him with thousands of e-mails. Now, one of his unit captains took some time to share his feelings on the war — the same one he fights everyday in and around the Sunni triangle:

"The purpose of this letter is to respond in general to numerous media reports that there is declining support for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Repeatedly, I have heard that a majority of Americans are tired of these conflicts, think it is time we brought our soldiers home, and that the war is going poorly.

"As a soldier currently serving in Iraq, I do not disagree that the conflict is frustrating, that we are facing challenging circumstances and that there is the possibility of failure. The reason I felt compelled to write is to argue that abandoning this mission would be an enormous mistake. It must be understood that our enemies will not stop simply due to our withdrawal.

"As a nation, we face a critical juncture as we ponder our options. One option we have is to withdraw from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can quit spending billions of dollars a year, bring our soldiers home, and leave the Middle East to deal with its own demons. Maybe the terrorists will leave us alone. It is possible that they will lose interest in attacking us and may simply go away.

"This possibility is extremely naïve and unlikely. Terrorists have demonstrated a propensity to attack our cities, our citizens, and our institutions without provocation. Our withdrawal will not stop these vicious and indiscriminate attacks. The terrorists that attack Western culture and have hijacked Islam despise our beliefs and our culture.

"Frankly, they hate us.

"Though withdrawal sounds enticing, this choice will only embolden these evil people to further attack those things that we love.

"The second option we may choose is to demonstrate unity and strength.

"During World War II, Americans united to defeat the recognized evil of fascism. Fascism was aggressively pursued in an attempt to subjugate the world under a few ruthless tyrants. These evil men also preached extremism and hatred. Disregarding political affiliation, differing ideologies and internal division, Americans of 'the greatest generation' united to defeat the evil of their day and secured a world where freedom and democracy had a voice.

"Though Islamic extremism is more covert in comparison to the overt aggressiveness of the Axis in World War II, the threat to democracy is just as dangerous and menacing. Make no mistake: the great evil of our day is upon us. Terrorists spewing their hate filled form of extreme Islam have directly confronted the American vision of freedom and democracy. We may either face this evil now or force our children to face it later.

"The war between democracy and Islamic extremism is currently raging in Iraq and Afghanistan. The reasons we entered these countries are moot and arguing over their justification is simply a distraction. It is time for the current generation of Americans, my generation, to demonstrate the courage to universally reject the tenets of Islamic extremism.

"This process begins with finishing the job in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is imperative that we continue to demonstrate to the people of these countries and the entire Middle East that violence and hate are not virtues. We must coach these infant democracies into recognizing that government and the rule of law go hand in hand. It is crucial that we provide all necessary support as the growing pains of democracy are felt. Abandoning this mission would have devastating consequences not only on the Middle East but on our own future security.

"As we have done in the past, it is time for America to boldly confront our enemies. We need to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the ideals that we hold as inalienable. If we withdraw from the current conflict, we are sacrificing the security and peace of mind of future generations of Americans."
Captain Shane Reeves from Iraq

Finally, be sure to check out "Going Places" written by E.D. Hill. She will be in Birmingham this weekend. And if you'd like "The Games Do Count" in hardcover or paperback go to We have about 30 requests waiting on personal information, so if you ordered make sure you filled it all out.


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