Dear Congressman Murtha,
Although it is difficult to keep up with politics from over here, your comments on immediate withdrawal have been noted by all of us. I cannot tell you the overall sense of discouragement, sense of betrayal and the feeling that few appreciate our efforts your comments have created. 1BCT has been frequently deployed in support of the War on Terrorism and we believe it is the correct fight and we believe we are winning. We have seen a significant improvement on the ground since we began combat operations in Baghdad three months ago.
I started in the US Army in 1968 and retired in 1992, with most of my time in Special Forces or Airborne Infantry units. I came out of retirement to come to Iraq with the 1BCT and I enjoy service with these outstanding officers and men. They are better than we were and they carry the terrific burden of frequent deployments and a high operational-tempo. There are few complaints as they feel the mission is extremely important to the nation's security, their families and to most Iraqis. They are dedicated to winning and I believe they are winning. It is obvious to this 'old paratrooper' that your comments have hurt their morale and will eventually impact negatively on their efforts here.
"It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory."
"Morale is a state of mind. It is steadfastness, and courage, and hope. It is confidence and zeal and loyalty. It is élan, esprit de corps, determination."
"It is staying power, the spirit which endures in the end…the will to win."
"With it all things are possible; without it everything else, planning, preparation, and production, count for naught."
General George C. Marshall
I sincerely believe General Marshall as deeply as I believe your statements have undermined the morale of these young soldiers. I have watched intently as your political party has attempted to use this war for political advantage and find it to be repugnant in the extreme. That your name is now inextricably linked to Senators Kennedy, Biden and Durbin-politicians who we believe do not support us-must be of great concern to your constituents.
How can you ask us to leave? Must we forget all the sacrifices, the deaths, lost limbs, lost marriages and the daily struggle to win? What do I say to my 22 year old nephew, a Staff Sergeant with the 1/75th Rangers seriously wounded in Mosul last month or his brother, a Sergeant in Germany just back from Afghanistan or my niece in ROTC, or my brother-in-law, a Lieutenant Colonel getting ready for his second deployment? Would you have me tell them that all we have done thus far is for naught? It means nothing? How about, "Don't worry; it happened to us coming out of Vietnam." Don't you remember?
Make no mistake, we are winning here. It ain't easy and it may be difficult for you to see from your elevated position. But day in and day out, 24/7 we are pushing out combat patrols, taking the initiative away from the beheaders, limiting their ability to move, resupply and detaining and killing them. We are going to win here. We are going to leave this country far better off than when we started and America is going to be more secure for it. We will make the sacrifice, will you, will America?
Dave Rockwell, US Army Paratrooper, Ret