Our source on the ground in Afghanistan is a reserve Army major (called to duty from his home in Minneapolis) whom we are inordinately proud to claim as a Power Line reader. He has previously asked us not to disclose his name for security reasons. He sent us the following Christmas message:
“I just wanted to check in. Unfortunately, not a lot of new news here that I can report other than the fact that I put on a great karaoke for my unit Christmas party tonight to the tune of Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got to do With It.’ As I mentioned in one of my previous emails, I was in Germany during some of the low points in the Iraqi liberation (Wolfowitz Hotel attack and big helicopter crash). I had to go back to Germany and finish my training the first two weeks in December.
“What a sweet turn of events. First, the President puts out a coalition partner only contract policy for Iraq (which drove the International press absolutely nuts), followed by the capture of Saddam, followed by Baker begrudgingly getting debt relief commitments from the Axis of Weasel, and all the while positive financial news from the US continues to pepper the European financial channels. Although there are difficult days ahead, I believe the worm has begun to turn.
“I think the one lesson that American needs to learn from these events is the attribute of persistence, as demonstrated by our President. American will not win this war on terror if we expect it to be over in a matter of days, with no American casualties, while only killing the bad guys (and no civilians), completely fixing overnight the country we liberate, and, oh yeah, cease all military activities during Muslim holy days.
“I was able to read your terrific article on Carter/Mondale foreign policy. After reading it, one thing came to my mind and that is what a terrible sense of judgment that the Carter/Mondale team had — that is in judging the will and intentions of other nations (as you pointed out), but more particularly, how to deal with an international crisis. It seems to me that when Carter could not negotiate the release of the hostages from Iran, in desperation he went for the ‘Hail Mary’ pass in trying to pull off a Delta Force rescue. Talk about not having ‘a plan.’ As an Army guy, I don’t think there is a finer group of special operation folks than Delta, but trying to send a small team deep into enemy territory to rescue hostages? On its face, it seems like a long shot to me…
“On a more personal note, we were supposed to go home just before Christmas and now will be here to at least the middle of March, if not longer. I had a whole stack of Christmas cards which I chose to hold to open until Christmas eve.” The major notes that one of the cards was from his new friend, a veteran of the battle for Leyte Island, with bittersweet memories of Christmas 1944 that we are asked not to quote. After quoting the card from his friend, the major’s message continues:
“As I am sure you know, the Battle for tiny Leyte Island was one of the deadliest battles of World War II. A quick internet search shows me that the US Army suffered over 3,500 casualties (which is about eight times that of Iraq at this point)and the defending Japanese lost more than 55,000. I think that in our current war on terror, the enemy is much weaker and less dedicated. Hopefully we can have a fraction of the will of our forefathers and can stick this out.
“One last thing, I was wondering if you could give me an address where I could send you a small token of my appreciation for the great support you show the military and the war on terror?”
Well, we are seriously embarrassed by the thought that the major is grateful for our support, and have asked him how we could show our own support to him in Afghanistan and to his family here in Minneapolis. Until we hear back from him, please keep the major in your prayers and note that our friend Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics has posted a call on all Americans to support our troops. Please take a look at Tom’s post and do what you can for the good guys who are giving it up for us.
UPDATE: In a subsequent message, the major directed our attention to this article by John Burns from today’s New York Times: “Once skeptical, Briton sees Iraqi success.”
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