Troops in Iraq are Heroes Say Readers

Many readers wrote in to comment on Andy Rooney’s beliefs regarding American troops in Iraq. Most readers disagree with his comments.

Last week, we asked the question in the poll: “In your opinion, do American troops serving in Iraq qualify as heroes?”

The genesis of the survey was a report by Andy Rooney, a commentator on the television program “Sixty Minutes,” who voiced the opinion that the troops in Iraq are victims.

The survey generated a large number of opinions from readers. The overall survey results were also strongly in favor of the opinion that the troops in Iraq do qualify as heroes.

66% of those responding said, “Yes, they are heroes”. 27% said they are not heroes and 7% were not sure.

The opinions sent in by readers expressed strong sentiments. A number of readers wanted to fire Andy Rooney or made disparaging comments about his mental stability.

Other readers took the opportunity to voice their opposition to the war in Iraq without necessarily agreeing with the commentator.

Here are a few of the comments.

A fire dispatcher from the Forest Service in Willows, California said: “How can they not say that our American Soldiers are not heros. They are protecting our country from future attacks from terrorists and trying to bring justice to the Iraqi people.”

An insulator from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard offered this opinion: “Andy Rooney’s comments are typical of the liberal left when they really don’t understand what is going on. The war on terrorism was allmost lost while Clinton dallied with Monica.”

A classification specialist with NASA in Huntsville, AL said: “Anyone called to defend his/her country’s political/military actions and does so to the best of their ability, in the face of grave danger, is a hero. Any dumb ass can second guess.”

An employee of the VA in California wrote: “Andy Rooney is an idiot. Our troops are more than heros and I honor each and every one of them and pray for their safe return.”

A human resources assistant in Barstow, CA said: “Mr. Rooney forgets that there have been people who did not agree with each and every war. People know they is a chance of war when they enlist, so agree or not, they follow their CO. Anyone who puts their life on the line reguardless of the reason is a HERO in my book. God bless them!”

An engineer with the NRCS in Nebraska had this to say: “Andy Rooney needs to go out to pasture.”‘

A senior engineer with GSA in Washington, DC says only that “Rooney is looney.”

An employee with the FSIS in Harrisonburg, VA opined: “Andy Rooney’s brain has turned to mush. No one likes war. No one is trying to glorify the war in Iraq. Has everyone forgotten the reason we are there?? Thank God, that those decrying this war were not around in 1942, 1951 or during the Cuban missile crisis. Those fanatical Muslims want us dead, they don’t understand anything but Force and Determination!”

And a civil engineer with the Forest Service in Waldport, OR wrote: “Heros? Absolutely! Who cares what Andy Rooney says (he’s a godless, mindless, bitter, pitiful man) These men & women volunteers are in the best tradition “heros”.”

From the other side of the opinion spectrum we received comments like these.

An Air Force employee from the State of Washington said: “Pawns are still pawns, even if they are volunteers. Seems a shame to squander the goodwill of yet another generation of Americans on an expensive policy of questionable value to the American society.”

An FAA employee in New York City commented: “I agree with Rooney’s comments. They are doing their duty; some are heroes. However, the decision to invade Iraq was wrong.”

An accountant with the National Finance Center in New Orleans wrote in: “I said they are heroes but the are ALSO Victims of this administration’s lies and underhanded tricks. I say this because they are just coming out to the general public now!”

And, finally, we received a lengthy submission from an individual in Iraq who did not identify himself. The submission is too long for this article but here are excerpts:

“I can only imagine the horrors that are being shown on the news now, especially in light of the recent mob action following the killing of 4 civilian American citizens in the Fallujah area. I would like to provide a little perspective on this and other events.

To fully understand and appreciate the enormity of the mission here is difficult, even for someone like me who is experienced somewhat in these “stabilizing Operations” and is fully briefed on the intricacies of daily operations. This is a country almost without a national identity. The masses are largely ignorant, and like most Islamic peoples, are told what to think by the Muslim clerics. [The Arab mentality is one of innocence, i.e. they can’t conceive of shouldering responsibility or blame. It is ALWAYS the leader’s fault, or whoever is in charge at the time.

Right now, it is the US lead coalition that is in charge, so of course all the problems are our fault]. They have been brutalized and repressed under a hostile dictatorship rule for decades. It is almost as if they have forgotten, if they ever truly knew, what it is like to work together for a common goal-the betterment of their society.

The workforce age men and women have difficulty trusting anyone, and are largely unwilling and unable to look toward long-term goals. Hence, you have both public officials and private citizens more willing to make a quick buck selling information harmful to coalition forces or weapons, or worse yet employing weapons against us, than they are willing to work together to better their society.

The workforce age men and women have difficulty trusting anyone, and are largely unwilling and unable to look toward long-term goals. Hence, you have both public officials and private citizens more willing to make a quick buck selling information harmful to coalition forces or weapons, or worse yet employing weapons against us, than they are willing to work together to better their society. There is no quick solution, and little short-term gain to be had in forming and nurturing what we consider a civilized, compassionate society. The citizens of Iraq want safety and a stable economy, but are unwilling (scared) to take the actions necessary to help achieve these goals. They are still harboring terrorists in their homes and mosques, even though they are many times outsiders. They do this out of fear and racial loyalty-they trust another Arab more than coalition forces. Also, their infrastructure is in such a state of disrepair from decades of neglect that it will take literally years to rebuild.

? I can promise you that the Marine Corps sees this as a worthwhile, even monumental mission for the Corps and our Nation. We simply must nurture a seed of freedom and democracy in the Arab world. My friends, we are talking about a race of people that are still living in the 7th century. Their culture has not matured in over 1300 years. I don’t think they will or ever have to become “Americanized” but I think it is imperative to solidify a government over here that is trustworthy, one that will not promote, tolerate, or export terrorism, and that will be a stabilizing force in this troubled land.

The Marine Corps forces are very active in both rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, helping with community projects, as well as rooting out the bad guys. We are very visible in the cities and towns, which naturally exposes us to dangers. So, please don’t be unduly influenced by the press and their penchant for sensationalizing events, horrific as some of them are. It is a long and difficult road to overcome decades of turmoil, but we are making progress and helping people. The political decisions of “is it our job” and “should we be over here expending all this money to do this” are not in the military’s hands. We take orders, plain and simple.

I know I have rambled a bit, but I guess I want to express my belief that difficult and costly as it is, I think we have no choice but to finish the job over here, no matter how long it takes.

Believe me, no one over here wants to be away from their family and friends. Even with many comforts and conveniences of home, it is still a dusty, dirty and desolate place to live.

I will close with a heartfelt thank-you to each of you for your prayers and friendship. I am still humbled and thankful for your generous outpouring of love and friendship at my going away party. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends.

Please keep our brave young men and women in your prayers, as they stand watch thousands of miles from home.

Kiss and hug your kids tonight, and give them a hug for me if you would. I hope you are all healthy and well, and look forward to seeing you when I get home.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47