Reporter's Note: Presidents don’t ask regular Americans to give them advice on how the run the country every day, but Barack Obama has, so I’m doing just that, with a letter to the White House…every day.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
Every Sunday at our church we pray for members of our country’s military. It is a part of the service I always notice; unlike the sermon which often finds me drifting. I grew up in a military family, believing that there is no public service more praiseworthy than that of the person who is willing to place his or her life on the line to serve our nation.
So I was glad to hear your specific plans for our withdrawal from Iraq. I know President Bush struck the deal for the pull out, but your commitment to a specific schedule matters. Not because I am either for or against the war or its intentions; I’ll leave that debate to others; but because I think our servicemen and women deserve to know what their Commander in Chief has in mind.
For too long during the campaign, I fear our troops did not know what Washington was thinking, or what might come next. When all the candidates thought the race would be decided on the issue of Iraq, they were talking up their positions in every café and on every street corner. Then when the course of the war shifted, and neither Democrats not Republicans knew quite how to capitalize on it politically, suddenly all the chatter stopped. The rise of our economic troubles made it even easier to avoid the war.
Our troops have never had that luxury. There have been worse times and better times; progress and setbacks; but not for one minute have they been out of harm’s way. Facing danger is a soldier’s job, and the vast majority of the troops I’ve talked to since the war began do not ask for even a hint of sympathy. Instead, almost to a soul they have been brave, unassuming, dedicated Americans who simply want to serve their country as their country sees fit. And if you see fit to bring them home now, I suspect the vast majority will follow that order with the same professionalism, discipline and sense of duty with which they went to battle.
Whether any given war is necessary or not is up to others to decide. Troops, by their very nature, must trust in political leaders to choose their battles carefully; to know when to advance, when to retreat, and when to hold a position.
But this should be a credo for every elected official in the land: You should never send people off to get shot at in your name, and then forget about them. The troops, their families, their friends, and our country deserve better.
Hope your weekend is going well. Call if you get a moment.
For more of the Foreman Letters, click here.
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