December 16th, 2011
06:25 PM ET

Letters to the President #1061: 'On the end of war'

Reporter's Note: I write to the Commander in Chief every day.

Dear Mr. President,

Just as you have, I do not want to let the week pass without noting the official end of our war in Iraq. As we lower our flag there and head out, a lot is being written about what we gained or lost; whether it was worth it or not; and on and on.

I’m pretty sure that a lot of those questions will not be answered anytime soon, maybe not for years, and perhaps never. Wars are messy, painful, and full of murkiness.

That said, I hope that people all over our country can take one simple truth to heart: The young Americans who served there went because our elected leaders told them to. They did their jobs. Despite some difficulties and some scandals, as terribly as they may be, the vast number of troops served with honor, decency, and patriotism.

Now they deserve our respect and help as they try to rejoin all of us on the home front. They will need jobs, education, and job training. Some may need financial or medical help. All will need to be included in our communities, schools, churches, workplaces, clubs, and more. Not just for a few weeks, but perhaps for years.

Whatever difficulties we have faced here at home with the troubled economy, odds are that most of them are facing it too, and in a more complicated, difficult way.

And it is not just the soldiers. Military families all over the nation have struggled to support the mission in Iraq for years; running households with a parent gone, getting by on limited military pay while civilian careers went on indefinite hold, and in the worst cases, hearing a knock at the door and the news that a loved one has been lost.

They too, need and deserve our assistance.

It is easy when a war drags on or grows unpopular, for civilians to start scorning the people who are fighting it. It is just as easy when such a war is over, for societies to quickly start resenting the responsibilities owed to soldiers. But we do owe them, and I hope during this holiday season we can pledge to be true to our commitments long after the echoes of that distant war have faded into dust.


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
soundoff (One Response)
  1. diana

    i am a mother of a medic who belongs to the national guard of puerto rico he is a policemen in civilian life he went to iraq and in january 2 he and two of his friends were sent on a mission in iraq and they were bombed and his two friends died in the explotion my son has been in georgia since march of this year he is receving treatment and they are giving him over 23 pills a day and since last month my son was put in a county jail by the army comander of fort gorden georgia i am very sick and upset i cant rest well with this news that my son is in jail when he was a patient i say if they do not have professionales to deal with a soldier who came back with ptsd why dont they send him back home to puerto rico and get treatment here and he can be near his family . he is alone in georgia and we his family are suffering so much . i need to know why do they punish my son for serving in iraq he is a good man father son he is a police officer her in puerto rico . he has two small daughters who need him and his wife. please help me

    December 16, 2011 at 7:38 pm |