We've been having an argument about the Iraq war in this country and we've been saying things in public we wouldn't have dreamed about saying just before the invasion.

We've been saying things like: We can't win. We won't win. We should get out. American soldiers aren't good at occupation. Americans are terrorizing Iraqi women and kids.

A whole bunch of nasty and negative stuff is coming from war opponents and Bush opponents.

And evidently the people saying these things think they are doing the American soldier in Iraq a favor.

You hear John Murtha saying someone has to speak up for the troops. That he knows what the troops are going through and he has decided to speak up for them.

My colleague David Asman did a special recently called "Winning Iraq: The Untold Story."

He got an e-mail from a Marine in the field, Sgt. David Karnes in the dangerous Anbar province.

Sgt. Karnes wanted to let David know what he and his fellow soldiers think of the war debate back home:

"A lot of so-called experts back home who are far removed from this combat zone like to say that the constant negative media reporting on the war has no effect on the troops. It does have an effect and the effect is demoralizing."

Nobody wants to leave American troops twisting slowly in the wind in an unwinnable situation.

But according to this sergeant and others who write to us here, the troops don't think that is the situation.

They see the more radical public statements made by Howard Dean and others as demoralizing our troops and invigorating the enemy's forces.

This cannot be what political debate about a war is about.

Some of the cooler heads in the Democrat Party have realized they cannot be the anti-troop party and they've refused to go along with some of the incendiary and shameful statements of Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi. And that's good. A little moderation can be a positive thing.

But the others on the anti-war side should know that the troops may now feel that some of these American politicians are against the American troops in Iraq.

These soldiers and Marines have long memories and they'll remember the people whose free speech at home in a time of war had the effect of abandoning our own troops in the field.

That's My Word.

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