Message From Marines in Iraq
> > The enclosed is from Captain Ben Connable, IntelO in 1st MarDiv, in
> > charge of the western al-Anbar province. Something recent and
> > encouraging, for a change. It came in from a friend this morning.
> > -------------------
> > From: Ben Connable
> > Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 10:35 PM
> > Subject: Reorienting and Driving Forward
> > Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 01:34:41 -0400
> > As you all probably know by now, we are turning Fallujah over to the
> > Iraqis. This will give us an opportunity to focus on other areas,
> > and hopefully to build a new Iraqi Army with some of the folks that
> > are feeling alienated right now. We're all painfully aware of the
> > various issues associated with this move, but there's no point in
> > discussing them. We'll make this work, just like we make everything
> > else work to the best of our ability. The Marines fought hard in
> > Fallujah and took a lot of very evil people out of the fight. That
> > effort, and the associated loss of Marine lives, was not in vain.
> > We're already seeing a significant decrease in the enemy's ability
> > to attack our forces. The supply lines are open again and everything
> > is flowing freely through the country. Their efforts to cut us of in
> > order to break our willpower failed. The Iraqi people are tired of
> > the enemy and they are turning them over to us left and right.
> > I'm going to discuss a subject that I know does not apply to most of
> > you... We're reading that everyone back home is starting to lose
> > faith in our efforts in Iraq. The last CBS poll put the numbers
> > under 50% for the first time. I know that doesn't mean a loss in
> > support for the troops, but supporting "the troops" while not
> > supporting the mission doesn't do much for us. If we're over here
> > for nothing then vague "support the troops" statements carry little
> > weight. The Marines are in high spirits. The troops
> > in Fallujah are doing what Marines do best, and they're true
> > professionals.
> > Everyone else is driving forward, wondering what all the fuss back home is
> > all about. We don't feel that we're losing anything - in fact, we're
> > finally addressing issues that should have been addressed some time ago.
> > The world seems to have forgotten what war looks like. It's not supposed
> > to
> > be pretty and happy. Force is used to kill those who are perpetrating evil
> > on the people of Iraq. The images need to be put in perspective, something
> > the news agencies just don't have time for.
> > It would be interesting to see someone track all the dire accounts
> > and predictions that were issued over the past three weeks to see if
> > they've been accurate. I read reports that we were cut off and
> > couldn't get supplies. Reality: Not true, they failed. A popular
> > revolution was taking place in the south and Sadr was leading a new
> > Shia revolt. Reality: Not true. Shia militia are killing Sadr's
> > folks in Najaf because they don't respect him and they're sick of
> > him. He's the same buffoon he was last month. Fallujah would ignite
> > the Arab world (how many times have we heard that one). Reality:
> > Despite the best efforts of Al-Jazira to make us look like Atilla
> > the Hun, there has been no explosion of populist anger. The same
> > problems exist that existed last month - no better, no worse.
> > Please pass the word that we're doing great and the Marines are
> > victorious in every battle. The enemy is a disconcerted, disparate
> > group of disenfranchised dissemblers who have little power outside
> > the realm of localized intimidation and the support of complicit
> > al-Jazira reporters. We will be able to settle this place down and
> > help the Iraqi people back on their feet if we're able to ignore the
> > hysteria on T.V. and recall the national willpower we had in the
> > 1940's. What happened to our country? Have
> > we really become so addled and weak-willed that we can't stick something
> > out through a little rough patch?
> > I have faith that we'll get the backing we need to finish our work
> > in Iraq.
> > Please have that faith with me and support our mission as much as
> > you support our Marines.
> > Semper Fidelis -
> > Ben