Here are just a few of the most recent responses, as of Aug. 4, to Capt. Dan Sukman's 'Soldier's Diary' on FOXNews.com.
I guess you get a lot of this, but I wanted to thank you personally for your time and effort in "A Soldiers Diary." My son, HM1 Joseph Schulter, is three months into his second tour in Iraq with the 2nd Recon BN USMC. He has seen much action and has one Purple Heart from his first tour (IED). He was just recently promoted to his present rank, (E-6), a combat meritorious promotion. My son is dedicated to his Marines and his job as a SARC Corpsman. However, his letter writing does leave a lot to be desired. He does write, but generally one or two sentences just to let us know he is still kicking. In all respects I can't complain, and I don't.
Your diary gives me, as a "worried" father, the opportunity to read from first-hand perspective some of the conditions my son has to endure. You have helped my understanding of conditions and experiences, be it they are not my son's, but close enough. He doesn't talk much about what happened his first tour, and I don't expect anything to be different after this one. I do not ask, but am there if he needs me to listen. In closing, thank you so much for your insight, your service, and your leadership. My God bless all out young men and women in uniform. —Christopher Schulter, Kennesaw, Ga.
This is not hate-mail. This is not a rebuke.
You write about a man who loves his country and its beauty in your article, "Soldier's Diary: There Was Little To Destroy in Iraq When We Got Here." So the man has grown up in a desert, under a dictatorial regime, with religious factions fighting for power and control around him. He's never had the opportunity/fortune/blessing to come to the U.S. to see what both you and I take for granted. He has never been in a country that enjoys a democratic process, has freedom of the press, or considers all votes as equal. But, sir, he loves what he knows, and what he sees is his country falling into a civil war — a consequence he cannot help but attribute to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Putting aside the arguments over "right or wrong" in our decision to invade Iraq, can you not see that the man loves his country, his birthplace, his home? I ask you to be honest, with yourself, with what you call home, and with your country.
If you had been born in Death Valley without the means of leaving, would you not love your home? If an outside force, say Kerzblekizan, bombed the hell out of it and a regional "civil" bloodletting ensued, would you not be outraged, demoralized, frightened and hopeful that someday you'd again see the beauty of what you called home (albeit Death Valley)? I don't ask that you "put yourself in his shoes." I don't claim to have an answer to whether the U.S. was "right or wrong" in its overthrow of a dictator. But to question a man's love of what is his, the little piece of the earth that he feels claim to, is un-American.
And yes, sir, I do know that Kerzblekiztan exists only in the movie "Austin Powers," but if you were born there, would you not love it? —Matthew NelsonCapt. Dan,
When I hear anyone say the war in Iraq is a waste of time, that the Iraqis will never live in a democratic state, I get unusually angry and offended. Offended and angry for each and every soldier over there fighting for Iraqi freedom and democracy, Iraqi and American alike. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and unselfishness in daily life as an American soldier. Please let every American and Iraqi soldier you see today know that we believe in what you are all doing and support you in the daily trials and tribulations of being in war. —Jessica Creamer, Baton Rouge, La.
As the mother of a 19-year-old son that will soon be graduating from basic training at Fort Sill, I am encouraged to read that progress is being made in Iraq if only in small increments. Some of the media would have us believe that no progress is being made and the war is helping no one. People tend to forget that it's taken America 230 years to become the greatest nation in the world. Sure we have our share of problems. But when I think of my 19-year-old son and all the others who so unselfishly serve, our problems seem pretty small. So I say "thank you" for continuing to update us on the progress in Iraq. God bless America and God bless all the men and women who fight for freedom. —Pam W., Jacksonville, Fla.
Wow, that's excellent to hear about your achievement there. Have you seen the Iraqi civilian death toll lately? …I know you are just following orders and doing your job, but at what point as a human being do you drop that façade and confront the truth of the situation in Iraq? They did not attack us on 9/11. Get it? Hope you sleep well at night knowing all you have done, and all you could have done if you had just stood up for what was right, instead of just following orders. Sad. —Jason Price
I hate to be one of the many that complain about things.But I had been overseas twice while I was in the Army. I am now out, and waiting on my husband to return from his year-long deployment (we are told some time early September). Well, now we see things on the news that units are getting extended another four months. We have been told by others "not to worry" but my marriage, as well as many of my friends, are at that point of it better be soon! If not, then there will be a lot of divorces because of the stress our men and women are going through! I feel a year is long enough! Why does our government one day tell us that we will reduce troops, and then we find out a month before our loved ones come home they may stay out there another four months!!! The numbers may stay the same, but can't we send in some new battalions or something so our husbands and wives can get a deserved break from what they are going through? We are out of Ft. Campbell, and my husband is not in the dreaded 502nd ... who got an early ticket home ... so what is it? If you mess up beyond belief then you get to come home???? What is going on here? —Jennifer Nieves
I must say that when I read some of the letters sent to you I have mixed feelings.
Some bring a tear to my eye when you can almost feel the love and support from the writer and others burn a hole in my stomach. One of the latter being from retired Maj. Scott R. Carey, USAR, who should know better, then again maybe he does know better and that's why he's retired. The motto of "no one left behind" may not be 80 to100 years old but that does not make it any less true or any less heart felt by our troops today. Will we ever find all of our POWs and MIAs? Probably not, but does that mean we ever stop trying, or ever stop looking, hell no! Wear your uniform proudly Cpt, it sounds to me like your troops have themselves one hell of an OIC. —MSgt J.B. First Sergeant
Dear Capt. Dan,
I have been reading your diary pieces for some time now, with equal fascination and sorrow. I sit here in Aberdeen, Scotland, admiring the bravery and professionalism of your company and the American army in general. You have brought new meaning to the war in Iraq, in that, you have personalized it for me, which brings concern for you and your comrades safety. I say a prayer here and there that you all go home safe and well. I am sure your families go through such trauma every day of your tour. I have two boys, ages 27 and 30, and I simply do not know how I would cope if they were in your situation. Good luck and best wishes from the Dillon family. —Brian Dillon, Aberdeen, Scotland
When I was an MP [military police], 75 percent of my arrests were alcohol related. Now that I work in a prison as a teacher, I find that over 50 percent of my inmate students are here because of alcohol. Why devote your time to praising alcohol? Can you not think any other way? Are you so socialized by commercials and the Army that you cannot think for yourself? Why not devote a column to why we should not be in Iraq in the first place. We have been deceived by Bush and Cheney to start a war that should not be. And you are paying for their ambition. Question everything. — Ret. Major Scott R. Carey
I was just laughing as I read your posting on FOX News. How Marines are discussing what beer they are going to drink when they get home. But then, I doubt that Captain Dan even exists. These postings seem to be written by a professional propagandist to paint a favorable happy picture of Iraq. Instead of the disaster that Americans have caused there. But then I suppose 'truth' is something that Americans have long lost the meaning of. Just as they have lost the meanings of the words 'reconstruction' which now means destruction. 'Freedom' which now actually means 'oppression' and 'democracy' which now means 'American puppet obeying orders.' Someday Americans will need to be re-educated about what freedom' and 'democracy' actually mean. It's such a shame to see the American media purposefully promoting all this nonsense, to cover up the truth about the crimes committed by the U.S. government. —Zimbo
I served in Viet Nam for two tours while in the Air Force. My son enlisted in the Army Reserve a month after 9/11 while still a high school junior. He served in Iraq at Camp Anaconda as a NBC Specialist, but after his shop was organized, he went out on the gun truck escorting convoys. I just want to tell you that everyone I know is backing you and are grateful for troops like you. I have always taught my son that the most honorable profession is that of the warrior. Be careful as you do your job, and know that we don't feel the same way as the press describes us. —Tony Edwards
Hello Captain Dan Sukman,
My name is Aura Michel and I am writing to you from Israel. I live in a small town called Efrat about 7 minutes away from Bethlehem. I was wondering if you hear of what is going on here in Israel at our border with Lebanon, as well as in the northern cities of Haifa, Tiberias, Kiryat Shmona (just to name a few)? Is it politically incorrect to discuss wars in other countries within the U.S. Army or within the troops? Do you really think the "Iraqi military/police" that you are training will actually use their training for positive reinforcement or do you ever have doubts that maybe you are training terrorists of the future? —Aura M. Efrat, Israel
I may be taking your diary for something that it's not supposed to be — sorry if that's the case. We know you're suffering, and we know you're losing a lot of guys over there. A lot of us are extremely appreciative of your sacrifices, even in Europe! But what I would really have preferred to read was your opinion on how securing Iraq is going. Do you see any progress? Is it hopeless? Will it all go to waste if we pull out? All we can read is, still, a few headlines when a particularly nasty car bomb goes off. The only ones getting quoted on the overall picture are Malaki and Bush, I sure as hell hope that they're right, but I wouldn't expect them to tell us the truth if it was looking bleak. Stay safe. —Michael, Denmark
Our military leadership needs to speak up for our troops' safety. We should not send our troops into Baghdad working side by side with Iraqis — not until we can pressure the Iraqi government into getting their political and religion differences resolved: Amnesty to all fighters; all Iraqis (Especially Sunnis) should be guaranteed their fair share of oil revenue; and reconciliation sessions between two extremist religious groups (Al-Sadr and Al Qaeda) should be held continuously). Until then, we absolutely should not send troops into Baghdad City. —Melody
I am a former combat infantryman from WWII serving in the Pacific Theater. Please know that we support you. I know what losses within your ranks can mean. We had no protective armor in those days, just our GI shirt and a steel helmet. I hope you are better protected now. In 23 days of combat on the Island of Saipan, total U.S. casualties were over 14,000 with more than 5,000 dead — the Japanese soldiers did not surrender. The largest suicide charge (Banzai) of WWII took place there, they lost over 30,000 total. If I were younger, I would be there with you (I am an octogenerian). Good luck to you, and God Bless!
I'm hesitant to write from work, but I cannot stress how much I enjoy reading your diary. My son went to Iraq (second time) about a month before you and he's due for redeployment in September. He's stationed in Taji and is with the 626 MCT. I am very pleased that you report day-to-day operations, stressing the somberness and professionalism of your tasks and rarely focusing on the horrors of war — there are many. You remind Americans that we are strong and ready to fight for our freedom. Thank you for doing a wonderful job. You are America! —Lynne Kirby
Many thanks for the work you are doing. Contrary to the portrayal of citizens here in the States, I see tremendous success in Iraq. I'm confident that the effort of the U.S. military will lead to a stable democracy in a very volatile region. Our son joined the Marines two years ago. He is presently serving overseas, although not in a war zone. His mom teases him that I wouldn't let him use a lawnmower but the government gave him a M-16. With a child serving in the military, every casualty reported brings pain to me. Often, those killed are younger than our own. It's a chilling thought that you can become numb to these losses. I hope it's possible for you to finish your time in Iraq and see no more loss of life. Thank you. —Phil Marion