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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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If the truth be known (02/10/2008)
By Janet Lewis Burns
"By being denied facts of our history, they (young American students) are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to reasoning and thinking through the issues of today." "The bottom line is that we have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it." "All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilization should be like, and the most determined always win." -Raymond S. Kraft

I have to admit, I've always believed that no one wins in war, that it's barbaric and a poor alternative to international negotiations. As I read articles by individuals like Kraft, a Californian who has studied the Middle Eastern culture and religion, extremely knowledgeable about the history of warfare, I realize that there is so much I don't understand.

We, as American citizens, owe it to our country and our troops in Iraq to become informed. This, sadly, will not happen simply by listening to TV and radio news and by reading daily newspapers.

Few parents would actually be glad to have a son or daughter go to war as a soldier in combat. But that dread doesn't obliterate the pride and honor a family feels to know one of their own has taken on such a risk and responsibility. Injury at war and pain on the home front is much more life altering than superficial wounds alone.

So much of what the current news gives the American public about the ongoing war in Iraq is a slanted and brief account of the overall picture. Sensationalism and scandal seem to be what the public craves, but are we really all that shallow? Now, at a time when our troops desperately need our support, we have politicians ranting and raving all over the country, using the current war as a tool for election to office.

Every time I read an article from someone who has served over there, I hear stories of the respect and gratitude the Iraqi people shower on our troops. They all say that we need to be there. Who am I to contradict those who have seen firsthand the injustice and deplorable conditions under which these people must struggle to survive?

E-mails are circulating that show American soldiers carrying injured children in their arms, giving kids candy, shooting baskets with them, calming the elderly who have suffered loss or injury, and kneeling in prayer over their injured comrades. The troops live in poor conditions with little sleep and inadequate food as they work hard building structures and teaching the Iraqi people new skills.

Raymond Kraft stresses why we cannot ignore Islamic terrorism today. He says, "If the U.S. can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an ally, like England, in the Middle East, a platform, from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East." "The Iraq War is merely another battle in this ancient and never ending war"

The threats continue to thrive! It's been recently suggested, by senior U.S. military commanders, that Pakistan's tribal areas provide haven for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters to regroup, rearm, and reorganize.

This war issue is not entirely political. There is the humane factor. It's about innocent, vulnerable people being tortured and murdered. It's the story of uneducated individuals with no skills or means to support and feed their families. This is not the "justice" that America has always stood for.

This new millennium war is about our brave and dedicated young men and women, along with their families, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to uphold a world dominated by governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms. Should the radical Islamic law movement, by the Jihad, become more and more powerful, all that this country has fought for is in grave jeopardy.

My daughter-in-law Tracy sent me an e-mail from St Charles, IL, the other day, telling me about a movement of support being waged for our troops in Iraq, which asks that every American wear blue on Fridays.

How can any of us, as anxious bystanders, condemn the intentions of those who represent our country under such oppressive conditions?

Raymond Kraft reiterated, "Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy."

There are things worth fighting for! Let's hope our leaders are prudently guided.

Janet Burns lives in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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