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July 1, 2006 Response from Iraq to local fast Selene Aitken, I read your letter to the editor and thought to myself, 'Hey, she is talking about me ... talking about people I serve with and have served with in the past ...’ I speak

Response from Iraq to local fast

Selene Aitken, I read your letter to the editor and thought to myself, ‘Hey, she is talking about me ... talking about people I serve with and have served with in the past ...’

I speak only for myself, but I would thank you not to fast for me on the Fourth of July. Our government, which as President Lincoln said with simple elegance is “of the people, by the people, for the people,” has not abandoned me any more than you have. I am proud of your willingness to make a stand, proud of our shared right to freely express our beliefs, and proud that I live in a nation which allows such emotion to flourish. That said, it would be as disingenuous of me to say I am fighting this war for you as it is for you to say you are protesting it for me.

I take offense at your contention that our government is terrorizing and killing innocent civilians in Iraq.Wars are not some abstract thing, neither are the people who fight them. Governments may wage wars, but people like us, who care about the sanctity of life, who maintain personal values, and who do not take lightly the consequences of war, fight them. So tread softly if you choose to carry the “our government is terrorizing and killing innocents” banner, because you suggest more than you might realize — that your fellow citizen-soldiers wantonly disregard the values we share.

I don’t have the time and this might not be the appropriate forum to address your opinions about leaders motivated by greed, the abandonment of moral integrity, and responsibilities our government has toward our civil liberties. I say fair enough, there is some truth in all of that, but you must also agree that many of those around us have forsaken these things as well. If you must fast, consider doing so for them.

You said that you would be in good company while fasting on the Fourth of July.I’ll be in good company too — over 120,000 American service men and women, most of whom will work or catch a little downtime on The Fourth, hoping that those they left at home enjoy themselves and wishing more than anything they were with them. I will also be amongst Iraqis, many of who, like our own citizenry did 230 years ago, will hope, pray and wonder if their struggle for democracy will take hold.

If it’s all the same to you, Sean, Susan, Alice, Daniel, and Michael, I will suggest to my Iraqi counterparts that it might, but it’s going to take a lot of work, because freedom isn’t free.

Pat Gibson

Iraq

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