Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

Submitted by Benjamin Finnell, West Valley City, Utah

I am a hospital corpsman 2nd Class in the Navy who has served three years and two combat tours with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in Iraq . As such I have seen both the trials and the successes of war. I have seen Iraqis and American troops learn from each other and develop relationships of mutual trust and respect. I have seen the Iraqi people struggle to learn how to use their newfound freedom. Unfortunately, I have also seen much death on both sides of this conflict.

As anyone who has been to war will tell you, war can only be fully understood by those who have experienced it. How dare lawmakers in Congress attempt to use the sacrifice of our troops, particularly those who have given their lives in the ultimate sacrifice, to further their partisan agendas. Politicians should be ashamed of the way they have made the war an issue upon which to gain support, utilizing the troops as a platform upon which to stand.

Although I know of many people who are against the war, I have met very few who do not support the troops. Despite this overwhelming public sentiment, Democrats in the House of Representatives appear to be content to disregard the safety and effectiveness of our troops. Currently, for example, Democrats are making any additional funding for troops contingent upon a timeline to start withdrawing troops and ceasing combat operations. This would cut off funds for the military to purchase armored vehicles capable of withstanding an IED (improvised explosive device) blast as well as cutting funds for programs designed to help the Iraqi people become self-sufficient. As is evident from this, the Democrats are charging the military with failing to fulfill their mission and then denying them the means to improve mission achievement.

Whether or not one agrees with our nation’s involvement in the war in Iraq, our troops’ lives should not be endangered by their own government. This, however, is exactly what is currently happening within our own Congress. This reprehensible course of action is not only irresponsible, it is largely responsible for the low morale and retention rates seen in the military today. How would you feel if you were told to drive down a road teeming with IEDs in an ambulance with no armor? I was in this position on numerous occasions during my last deployment to Iraq. When I asked the commandant of the Marine Corps, in March of 2006, when we might expect some armored MedEvac vehicles, he responded that they would be purchased as soon as funding was available. As of right now, Marines in Iraq are still waiting for these armored ambulances. Please do not stand idly by as Congress plays politics with the lives of myself and my fellow servicemen. I thank you for your time and support and leave you with these simple words and their profound meaning Semper Fidelis! Always Faithful.

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