Our Troops Need and Deserve our Support July 4th column by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D.
As Oklahomans prepare to celebrate July 4th, many families have loved ones serving overseas who need our prayers and support. Our mission in Iraq, in particular, is at the forefront of our hearts and minds.
As I was putting my thoughts together about the need to support our military in advance of July 4th I came across a moving and eloquent letter from a young Oklahoman serving in Iraq than is more profound that anything I could say.
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Jesse Young. I was born and raised in Tulsa, graduated from Booker T. Washington High School, attend the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and am currently serving my country as a soldier in the US Army outside of Baghdad, Iraq. I am writing this letter, to you, the American public, during what I feel to be a crucial point in this nation's War on Terror . . .
Naturally, I cannot currently watch the nightly news in America from my station half the world away, but I am still able to follow politics and current events through the internet, and frankly, what I hear, see, and read scares me.
I am not writing this letter on a political front, and therefore will not begin to proselytize my political leanings during this letter. I will leave that to the politicians battling it out on Capitol Hill. I am writing on behalf of my brothers and sisters in arms, as these are the men and women I serve with daily, and whose work directs me most directly . . .
We are battling a foe who knows no leniency . . . These "freedom fighters" walk into cafes in Baghdad filled with innocent civiliansincluding women and childrenand detonate themselves with suicide vests, killing dozens . . .
My real purpose in writing this letter, however, is not to persuade or dissuade anyone's belief or support of this war . . . I am truly writing this letter as a plea, on behalf of all service members, to the people most important to us: the American public.
Whether or not we agree with this war, we are fighting it. We are putting our lives on the line twenty-four hours a day. We do a job daily that most at home wouldn't consider. We put our lives in line for a nation that's never known freedom, for people we've never met.
In a war that no one can truly see the end of, the support of all Americans becomes increasingly important, and weighs increasingly heavy on the shoulders of the Americans here fighting it.
Please don't forget, that while you are at home sleeping in your beds, there are many over here who would love to do the same. Just as you need support, backing, and love from your families and friends in your life, we too need it in ours. The only difference for us is, our family is all Americans.
As the 4th of July is approaching, let us not forget those from our community who are currently making the sacrifice so that all others can sleep in their beds at home . . .
Jesse S Young
United States Army
Oklahoma National Guard Thunderbirds
I believe that all Americans can be very proud of not only our soldiers like Jesse Young, but our overall mission in Iraq. In Iraq, we overthrew a genocidal dictator, freed an entire nation from tyranny and made the world more secure. Iraq is not the front line between America and the Islamic or Arab world; it is the front line between freedom and the tyranny of violent Islamic extremism. We have two choices in Iraq. We can turn tail and run and wait for another 9-11 type attack or we can win and change the future for the Middle East and for future generations of Americans.
Make no mistake, the battle to defeat terrorism will be long and arduous but we cannot lose our resolve. I know families miss their soldiers, especially during this holiday in which we celebrate our freedom. But calling for a timetable for withdrawal would only emboldened the terrorists and strengthen their will to wait us out.
On Independence Day we celebrate our Nation's victory over tyranny and oppression, but those dark forces are again trying to take root in a fledgling nation and will take root in any nation that chooses appeasement. Like our founding fathers, our brave men and women in uniform again have taken up the fight to protect freedom and, with the American people's support, we will succeed.