Published January 13, 2015
Here are just a few of the most recent responses, as of July 20, to Capt. Dan Sukman's 'Soldier's Diary' on FOXNews.com.
Dear Captain Dan,
I appreciate reading your insights and experiences in Iraq. I am in no position to disagree with your estimate that 99.99 percent of our soldiers try to do their duty honorably and follow the rules. What I am concerned about is the number of soldiers who will protect their comrades even when the violation is outrageous, as in the most recent alleged case of rape, murder and conspiracy. I think you would have to agree that while 0.01 percent of our soldiers may be willing to commit dishonorable acts, a very large portion of the remaining 99.99 percent are willing to look the other way when those acts occur. Until our soldiers are as aggressive at protecting their honor as they are at protecting their safety, the aberrations will have a disproportionate effect on the moral and image of the service. —Eric Christianson
God bless you, we love you and thank you all so much for what you all do every day. I saw the post referring to the "famous five." Given the allegations are true, that is five out of how many thousands? It's a shame that more of the truth about the good things happening don't make it home. Don't let that kind of talk get you down. My family and I, credit you and those like you for the freedoms we enjoy every day. The world is lucky to have America to stand up for what is right. Who else is going to do it? Stay safe my friends and thanks again. —Eric Antonson, Oakdale, Minn.
Today, I read through the entire diary of U.S. Army Capt. Dan Sukman. Afterwards, I clicked over to read the responses and comments of other readers. I am astonished that after the repeated "good doings" that Capt. Sukman is trying to educate and optimize people with, people have the audacity to browbeat him with the bad that only a few soldiers engage in, that he has nothing to do with. The young men involved in the acts mentioned will be brought to a military court and punished as deemed necessary. But the impact of a few brings the entire military to its knees in these cases and it is horribly unfair. To those military personnel serving OUR country in Iraq, we will never look at you as a whole in these cases. A few bad apples will not ruin a bunch. Come home safe. —Toni, California
You are going to lose that war Captain Dan. And you and your comrades will be remembered badly. Just like Vietnam. What does that feel like? —Mark Miller
Dear Captain Sukman,
I just wanted to let you know that on a street in Fair Oaks, a small bedroom community of Sacramento, Calif, almost all of the residents turned out to sign a 25ft. banner thanking our troops for their dedication. This project actually started out as a small poster my 4- and 6-year-old grandchildren wanted to make, then it became a little larger to include the children across the street, then it was as if the project took on a life of its own and it became a 25ft. monster with people driving down the street stopping to sign it. I only wish I could send the actual banner as all of the messages are very heart warming and sincere. I hope you have some way of sharing this with a good many of our warriors in harms way just to let them know that this is more representative of America than the negative "stuff" they see or hear in the media. It is my fervent prayer that all of our courageous warriors will feel the warmth and gratitude of a grateful nation. Thank you for you diary, it makes me feel as if I know some of these young people personally. —P.A. Wyatt
As an officer, I totally understand your need to motivate your troops and spread the good word that everything is just fine, we have the "moral high ground", etc. etc. But come on, this is pure propaganda. I am a veteran, I was honorably discharged in 2004 and you know what my Lt. Colonel said a day before the war kicked off? Quote: "If any of you has a problem with this war, you can see me in my office." Because he knew, as you know and a lot of us knew (I was in AF Space Command) it was all a bunch of crap. Iraq was never related to Al Qaeda, they did not attack us on 9/11 and they are a secular (or where until we arrived) country. Now that we are over there, it's become a sectarian hole and your actions are directly responsible for perpetrating this nonsense. 30,000
Iraqis are dead, who were living under massive sanctions before we arrived and now the country is without a leader, just sectarian violence and open civil war. You mean to tell me as an officer you could not see this coming? Please ... save the B.S. for the enlisted troops and take responsibility for you actions. How many children have you killed? How many civilians? Just the cost of war, right? Iraq was wrong, period and you should say something, do something to stop this crap. Hey, but you'll have a ready-made job when you're discharged with FOX, so your good right? —Jason Price
Dear Captain Dan,
Having served in the U.S. military for almost eight years, I am thankful that young men and women are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice; putting their life on the line fighting for what they believe in. It is not the soldiers' purpose to question the politics of the action, but to perform the mission, period. I do believe that the United States has a responsibility to properly punish those that do not act in accordance with the UCMJ and the Military Code of Conduct. President Bush has said that no international court system will be able to try our service members for war crimes, yet does the military have the courage to apply the death penalty if its four members are convicted of the premeditated rape and murder of the young girl and her family? As far as I am concerned, Iraq may extradite the civilian and try him in their court. He is a loser that should be hanged.
Sun Tzu has said that punishments for crimes committed under one's command must be swift and severe. The United States must show its commitment to the Constitution of the United States by punishing its military personnel who commit atrocities against civilians and combatants of other countries. Not acting on this will send a message to the troops that you can get away with such crimes. You talk the talk, Captain Dan. Can you walk the walk and deliver punishment to those who fail to perform their duties in accordance with the UCMJ? Show the world that the United States has a professional military that can operate in accordance with the law, not that its service members are a bunch of social deviants willing to take advantage of the situation for their own ill gain. Show the world the difference between 'them' and 'us'. —Shannon Streifel
As a former soldier who served in Iraq it hurts to see headlines and top stories on the nightly news that focus on five soldiers accused of plotting and carrying our rape and murder in Iraq, or a dozen soldiers mistreat detainees at Abu Ghraib. I have never seen a newspaper headline read 150,000 U.S. soldiers did their job today demonstrating the highest degree of moral and ethical values. I know from my time in Iraq that this is the true case. The reputation of our armed services has been beaten and battered by the media who are a bunch of greedy glory seekers trying to get the next Pulitzer by breaking the next Haditha scandal. I turned the other cheek for 4 years while I served, but now that I m a veteran I take every opportunity to defend our soldiers and criticize America s media which has its own agenda which does not include reporting the truth. Wish you the best of luck down there and keep doing the great job that I know 99.99 percent of our soldiers are doing. —Owen Fulsome
Dear Captain Dan,
I have been reading your soldier's diary from day one, but after reading the July 9th "Morale High ground" entry I felt compelled to write to you. I and we as Americans are lucky and forever grateful having men with your caliber in the military. How you can feel and write without an ounce of resentment towards the media says volumes about the man you are. You made me take a step back and consider your way of thinking. I can look at the disgraceful media from a different point of view. I will try and find a positive in what the media does to our military. If you can do it, then I guess I can. However, it still doesn't make what the media does acceptable. I find it horrifying that military mistakes become front-page headlines for days, weeks, and even months on end, to use your words literally. Young men and woman are defending our country and making it possible for me and every American to get up and go to work (or whatever it is we do) everyday... including the media who writes the stories. Believe me, I appreciate every single military person in every branch.
So I say 'thank you' Captain Dan for your service. Thank you is such a simple word and hardly enough for all you and all the military personnel do. The men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are in my prayers everyday. —Shirley A. Turnbull, Hartford, Conn.
Good article. You make the point very well that we prosecute our criminals and do not tolerate that type of behavior. We expect more and we get more from our soldiers. I can only think of one other army in history that operated along the same lines. Alexander the Great, in his invasion of Persia, personally conducted the court martial of three soldiers accused of raping a farmer's wife in violation of his edict that they should not rape, pillage and burn. His army paid for all the supplies and food they appropriated to support them during that campaign. He held the trial in the farmer's front yard for all to see, convicted them, and had them hung immediately thereafter. This was a message to his own troops and to the Persians. He wanted the Persians to be a part of his empire, not be an enemy within.
We follow in the footsteps of that Army, and hold our soldiers to the rule of law. I am glad to hear that spirit is alive and well in the Army today. My classmates from West Point are LTCs now and many command battalions in Afghanistan and Iraq. I know their character. I know from working with officers from all walks of life that they are cut of the same cloth, and manifest the same character traits and morality. In short, we are professionals, and there is no room for criminal activities in our profession. Keep up the good work. Keep the faith that a lot of us here at home support you and believe in you. —Bruce Randolph, former Army captain
While you may be right about only soldiers recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices and hard work, ex-servicemen and the soldiers' families are usually on board as well. Two of my 3 sons have spent time in Iraq; one as a military contractor (what he considered his duty, since he was medically discharged from the Navy ROTC program in college) and the other as an Army specialist. Our specialist also was awarded the ARCOM and a MSM for his work in Iraq as a communications specialist. So know that you and your efforts are registered and appreciated. I spent a tour in sunny Southeast Asia once upon a time, and I still remember quite well. And I am pleased to no end that our country is honoring its heroes. It was not always like this. God bless you all. —Sam Whitley
Dear Captain Dan,
It might be worthwhile to do a follow-up piece comparing the relative "crime rates" between the "society" represented by our military in Iraq, with the general U.S. population. I have no doubt that our soldiers, Marines, and airmen commit far fewer intentional murders, rapes, and thefts (as counted by formal charges filed and convictions obtained) than do the U.S. population at large, and certainly fewer than does the U.S. demographic which matches the military age range and percentage of males. Ours is no doubt a more disciplined, honorable group than the population which is being encouraged to criticize them. As a further assignment, it might be even more fun to compare those same military crime rates to those experienced by some of our more vocal European critics (France, Germany, the Netherlands, you know which ones). I'd still be willing to bet you lunch that our military personnel are safer folks to be with (off-duty) than the average citizens of those countries. I'll look for this analysis. Should be fun. —Joe Reynolds
Hello Capt Dan,
After 6 KIA in 4 weeks, one of the top stories and topics of conversation in the U.K. media is the concern that our Brit forces in Afghanistan are under-equipped and not prepared to fight the Taliban. The way that these media stories are presented you could be forgiven for thinking that we are taking a beating out there and that there is reason to panic. I can see through this sensationalism and it only harms my opinion of the media and its accuracy. Due to this over-reporting, I don't really believe what is being said in the media but try to read between the lines to get a vague idea of the real situation. Surely the goal of the media is to inform the public not to sway them in a direction that leaves it up to them to decipher the truth.
One of the things I wanted to write to you about was the increasing voice given to military families through the media. We hear reports of peaceful protests made by military families to encourage that their serving family members are brought home immediately. The media being very clever have latched on to this and they realize that the family members present a strong and powerful case, one that we could all relate to if it were our family members in harm's way.
The problem I have with this is that it's obvious that military personnel do a job that is dangerous. It is clear that their family members would worry about them and that if they had the choice they wouldn't be in harms way. It's also clear that anybody who signs up for military service doesn't expect a career that guarantees safety and comfort. This is why some of us work in an office and some of us step up to the challenge of serving our countries. When I see a mother or father on the news spelling out the case for withdrawing our troops from conflict I don't think it portrays the true story, that every military parent, wife, husband, child or sibling will worry but that they are also very proud of their family members and that from the moment they entered the extended military family, most of them starting living with the idea that one day their family member would be in harms way. Anything else would be a delusion.
Our soldiers, although precious, are not in need of overprotective views from those of us at home, they are trained well to perform their dangerous jobs and they know and live with the consequences. Our Army is made up of brave men and women who have taken the duty of protecting us, for us to voice how we would rather them be at home would deny them the duty of looking out for our safety in exchange for their own, something I would expect many serving soldiers to be insulted by. Isn't it better just to be confident in our forces and behind them to do a good job wherever they are deployed, as well as grateful that you live in a country where people will risk their lives to uphold it's values? —John Downer, London, U.K.
I just started reading your Diary on FOXNews.com, and I just want to say how proud I am to be reading something personal from someone who gives so much of his life to protect the freedoms I enjoy. I'm not only a proud American, but I'm so proud of all the sacrifices that people like you and you fellow soldiers make just for people like me. I read the part about the "American Idol thing," and you are probably right about that in some respects. The political battles that are going on in this country are simply ridiculous. When President Bush came out and said what he wanted to do, and why, the people in this country pretty much "all" was behind him, even though he told us what lies ahead. After we started losing our brave soldiers, and the damn media started showing nothing but the bad things, a lot of the people lost their nerves and forgot what this is all about. While we may or may not have found any WMD, the fact is this needed to be done a long time ago. Now that you guys are there we cannot just pull up and run, or our people that have died, will have died for nothing. I could go on about this, but I'm sure you have many other important things to do, rather than read my ramblings. I just really want every soldier over there, regardless of their rank or their duties, to know there are many more us over that are so proud of "all" of you, and praying for you every day. I hope that you will get this email and know how I feel about what you are doing. Please keep the diary going, as I will try to keep up with it so I will know some of what is going on over there with the personal side of things. God bless you all. —Tim Robinson, Wetumpka, Ala.
As the mom of an active duty Marine, I look forward to your posts. I'm sure you know, but I want to say it anyway: We back home are very proud of each and every one of our military, whether they be home or abroad. You are all volunteers and as you put it, 99.9 percent wake up each morning prepared and ready to do their job, whatever it may be. It is unfortunate that the actions of a few take the spotlight and all of the wonderful things that are being accomplished each and every day by Army, Marine, Navy, Airforce, National Guard and all, are left on the back page. We support you, and we thank you for your service, your time, and your patriotism. Thank you. —A very proud Marine mom, Sue Wagner
I just wanted to e-mail you and let you know how much personal respect I have for you and every other soldier fighting throughout the world. I have been reading some of your entries into the soldier's diary and am humbled by how you can find ways to see the good in life. I have a profound respect for all members of the military and can not seem to find the words to thank you all. Without you, the United States of America wouldn't be what it is today. I thank you and send my prayers that you will all be able to return home to your families in good health and good spirits. —Jenn Sprague