Daily Letters

A selection of letters received.

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July 17, 2004

I've served

Dear George:

I've just seen Michael Moore's film... Frightening, if any of it is true. Is it true Mr. President?

I'm a veteran of US Navy who joined the US Army in 2001. I was in my first year in the Navy when your father was defeated by Bill Clinton. I witnessed the next four years of military down-sizing. It seemed a bit counter-intuitive, even at the young age of 18. I was in a “Tomahawk Launch area” in the Red Sea in 94' and the Persian Gulf 96'. I Spent my 22nd birthday in a helicopter leaving my ship enroute to Bahrain for a night, then on my way home.

Election night 2000: I was in college working third shift at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. It's a union shop, mostly democratic. But a really interesting place to be on election night - we are the biggest newspaper in the state - especially your first election night. We literally “Stopped the Presses” that night a few times. Each time all of the press crews scurried into to old, decades ink stained breakroom and huddled around a black & white poorly tuned TV with badly battered rabbit ears.

Just goes to show how times have changed huh? The press crew of the major newspaper in the state runs to a television for news after we realize we are printing the wrong news. I was happy to hear it was wrong. I had no respect for anyone associated with the Clinton administration.

September 11 2001, I'm a Specialist in the US Army - FT. Sam Houston TX. I've recently completed Combat Medic School with the 232nd Medical Battalion. Now have just started with the first phase of the Army Practical Nursing school. Had to hear about the first plane from my father - just happened to call home during a break in a pharmacology class. I remember the fear I've never heard in my fathers normally strong voice as the first tower collapsed. I announced the news to my class - oddly enough, most were uninterested. Later the base was completely locked down. Security checks at every corner. I had just received my orders to report later that month to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. to complete my training.

During my year in D.C. I had the honor to take care of some of the survivors of the pentagon attack. You visited a few times - never got to see you though. We were both at National Naval Center, Bethesda at the same time one day. You were getting your yearly physical, I was helping deliver a baby. Also, I took care of service members injured in combat in Afghanistan - not only American, but also Northern Alliance Afghani's. Lots of blast injuries, traumatic amputations and nerve damage. There was a young boy there - everyone called 'Rosey' I think. Some Army nurse in Germany promised him that she would adopt him so he wouldn't have to return to Afghanistan... Not sure as to his fate.

Fall 2002: Graduated US Army LPN School, headed back to Wisconsin to my reserve unit. I'm to become a part-time soldier, sounds good to me - I'm going back to college, already accepted. December 2002: There's talk in my unit in Milwaukee of deployment, You made it seem as though we really need to go to war. Chemical weapons a nasty, I agree - they really freak me out-I hate to wear that gas mask. But if it's important, I trust you - you're the president.

The unit's officially activated in February, although there were a few false alarms between then and now - my family is already exhausted. Looks like it's going to happen - I'm going to war, I've decided to shave my head - the Gulf was hot on a ship in 96', plus I look tougher (hoping to scare the gas away).

FT McCoy becomes my home with a Combat Support Hospital, just like a contemporary M*A*S*H* unit. We work 24hrs a day to load the hospital, commander tells us our brothers are going to need us - we are charged with making sure they make it home together.

The war starts, still haven't left FT. McCoy. But were told daily that we are going and to stay ready. Our equipment is enroute via ship. Still haven't got our Chemical Weapon Suits or our Body Armor. I was told that I am too big, they don't have enough for the soldiers now in combat. Same situation with the chemical suits... Still told daily that we are going to fight, any day now.

Getting nervous, no chemical suits or body armor yet - decided to email my congressmen. emailed every one from Wisconsin - later that I didn't follow proper protocol - all of my emails were kicked back.

Major combat operations are over!, you said it - I'm still here a FT McCoy. I've heard our equipment is sitting Kuwait waiting for us - I guess it has to be guarded so other US units don't steal it for themselves. It's spring now and by this time I'm consistently sneaking off post to see my girlfriend, we covertly zip up to La Crosse and get a room for the weekend, she's getting sick of this - Are you going to send me to war or not, women get really crabby if you don't follow through with your plans... I need some help here man!

June 2003, our unit is split into three's. 1/3 to Afghanistan, 1/3 to missions in the states and 1/3 will go home. All volunteer, and surprising enough too many people volunteer for Afghanistan and missions in the US. I decide to go home, I've already volunteered for the Army - if she needs me she'll let me know.

So now to the present, lot's has happened. I've served and been as patriotic as I can with unconditional trust for the last 12 years - my entire adult life. Now I'm questioning that trust - I'm questioning why we decided to liberate Iraq. Tell me that oil had nothing to do with it. That your family connections with the social elite and the oil elite had no bearing on your decisions to put my brothers and sister at risk. Please promise me that 18 year old Americans didn't accidentally kill women and children so that your family friends could control the largest oil reserve in the world and therefore the world's oil driven economy.

Please do the right thing and if you've made bad judgments in the past - change and make the righteous decisions now. I'll be watching and praying.

Your citizen

Shaun
Age 30
Fond du Lac, WI

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