September 3, 2004


Keep the Faith: A Letter from Iraq (Joe Roche, April 2004)

I'm in Baghdad, Iraq.

I'm a soldier with the U.S. Army serving in the 16th Combat Engineer Battalion.

The news you are hearing stateside is awfully depressing and negative. The reality is we are accomplishing a tremendous amount here, and the Iraqi people are not only benefiting greatly, but are enthusiastically supportive.

My job is mostly to be the driver of my platoon's lead Humvee. I see the missions our Army is performing, and I interact closely with the Iraqi people. Because of this, I know how successful and important our work is.

My battalion carries out dozens of missions all over the city -- missions that are improving peoples' lives. We have restored schools and universities, hospitals, power plants and water systems. We have engineered new infrastructure projects and much more. We have also brought security and order to many of Baghdad's worst areas -- areas once afflicted with chaos and brutality.

Our efforts to train vast numbers of Iraqis to police and secure the city's basic law and order are bearing fruit.

Our mission is vital. We are transforming a once very sick society into a hopeful place. Dozens of newspapers and the concepts of freedom of religious worship and expression are flowering here. So, too, are educational improvements.

This is the work of the U.S. military.

Our progress is amazing. Many people who knew only repression and terror now have hope in their heart and prosperity in their grasp.

Every day the Iraqi people stream out into the streets to cheer and wave at us as we drive by. When I'm on a foot patrol, walking among a crowd, countless people thank us --repeatedly.

I realize the shocking image of a dead soldier or a burning car is more sellable than boring, detailed accounts of our rebuilding efforts. This is why you hear bad news and may be receiving an incorrect picture.

Here's the letter the President quoted last night.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 3, 2004 8:38 AM

These letters (the one quoted is one of many I have read) sound like they're written by Peace Corps volunteers. Shows you the incoherence of the Left when they dismiss these impressive results merely because the young men in question are wearing the uniform of the United States instead of jeans as they open schools and install sewer lines.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 3, 2004 12:42 PM