Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Nate's perspective ... should the U.S. be in Iraq?

Nate back home in Augusta County May 2007

"To win our freedom, we fight. To secure our freedom, we must instill patriotism in our children. A society that fails to remember those who served, their deeds, sacrifice, and why they fought will quickly find they must fight again and again."

Lance Cpl. Nate Salatin, USMC, is the son of missionaries who spent his very earliest years in the mission field of Indonesia. The second oldest of four children, he decided as a teenager that he wanted to go into the military. He graduated from home school high school, attended Marine boot camp, entered the Marine Reserve, and attended his first year at Virginia Military Institute before being deployed to Iraq. Now back home, this 21-year-old plans to continue his studies at VMI in the fall.

The question everyone asks is ... should the U.S. be in Iraq? In his final email to the many who had stayed in touch throughout his deployment to Iraq, Nate addressed that subject:

In closing I want to mention two things about the war in Iraq. This seems to be the number one question I am asked after people say, "Welcome back."

First of all, Iraq was one of the most messed-up countries in the Middle East, which as we all know isn't the most stable of places. Saddam Hussein was very much like Hitler in the things that he did to his own people. So, the U.S. military was supposed to take the country over, and rebuild it from the ground up and leave it a stable democracy.

Which, by the way, took America herself years to accomplish.

These people have no concept of what democracy means nor what it means to be free. They have been living in fear their entire lives just trying to carve out a living for themselves and their families. But the problem in America, it seems, is that we are not rebuilding this country fast enough.

So, to put it in perspective, it seems that the American people want us to take over one of the most messed-up countries in the world, then rebuild its police, military, government, industry, etc. from the ground up and change it into a stable democracy in less time than it takes for most Americans to pay off their car loans (we have only been there for five years).
When people ask if he's glad he went, Nate responds:

Then the final thing is what I tell people when they ask me if I am glad I went. I ask them, "When is the last time that you were able to look into a dirty, hungry little child's eyes and know that you were risking your life to make a better life for that child?"

Yes, I am glad that I went.
Nate, thank you for your service to our country ... and for your friendship. Semper Fi.

More about Nate: Back from war ... Nate's perspective

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