Sunday, July 02, 2006

"I will not say America Is Perfect"

The following letter was printed in the Sunday edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As we as a country are in the middle of the celebration of our Country's birth, it is right to read a letter from a defender of our liberties, who paid the ultimate sacrifice back in October, 2004.

When I read this article, I wanted to paraphrase it to make some points as to how I felt about the progress on the War on Terror, however I felt I would do an injustice to his letter, so like the Plain Dealer, I am putting in its full version here and have hyper linked the title to send to you to the Plain Dealer.

Dear America,

I sat here and pondered the turbulent world we live in today. For the first time in my life, I have grown apprehensive. Old enemies have become new friends, old friends have become new enemies and every corner of the world village we live in seems to be collapsing in strife.

These most dangerous of times are harbingers of a change to the world, collapses of whole cultures and civilizations and a whole new foundation of potential rule of fear as opposed to the rule of law.

I wonder if, towards the beginning of the Dark Ages, people felt the same.

I am not for war, and most certainly, I am not opposed to peace. I am a soldier -- to be for war would mean to put my closest friends and family into harm's way. The world is most obviously filled to the brim with violence and hatred, with no end in sight. Many wise people have made statements along the lines of: "All people feel fear, the brave go on despite their fear."

Is there a better way to solve the problems of demagogues and tyranny than violence? This I cannot answer, for there is no precedent for this happening in the history of humanity.

The world's problems today are greater than Iraq or Afghanistan,which exist as a result of the problems. Yes, I am saying these are in fact symptoms: the violence and breakdown of order in every corner of the world, religious intolerance in Europe, political upheaval in the Americas,tribal and ideological fighting in Africa and the rule of the gun in Asia.

It was said that Sept. 11, 2001,changed the world, and how it did. Mighty and benevolent America was attacked, the attackers used innocent men,women and children to strike at our nation.

I will not say America is perfect.

We have made our share of mistakes and committed our fairshare of crimes against others.
The Indian Wars, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, the occupation of the Philippines and the dirty battles of the Cold War: That is a shortened list of valid complaints to our grave misdeeds of the past. America has seen its share of noble ventures as well. I am sure others will undoubtedly and predictably find fault with her and her efforts; any half-wit can find fault in even the kindest of people and acts.
I am not writing to excuse war. I am writing this to explain my understanding.

Our own CIA and Special Forces trained the mujahedeen soldiers that we ended up fightingin practically every corner of the world. They were not trained to oppress or murder, but to fight Soviet tanks and spetsnaz [Russian Special forces].
The training and guerrilla tactics and equipment was meant to level the field. They chose to use their training for nefarious purposes and murderous deeds. The world was shocked when those immoral men destroyed ancient and irreplaceable artifacts; oppressed the masses; murdered,maimed and tortured in thename of their religion. The list of crimes of these same men includes genital mutilation of young women, draconian laws of rape and intolerance and the attempt to bring their own morbid and despicable desires into the world.
For right or wrong, America has embarked on a course to right the wrongs of the past. Historical hindsight always offers a perfect view, and we will not know of success or failure for many years to come.
I cannot intelligibly argue the claims of those against America.Iraq has supported terror with the use of facilities for terrorists,reward money for the families ofsuicide bombers who targeted Americans, weapons and training,and offered safe haven to many of them.
Ultimately, this letter is a declaration of my clear conscience. I will endeavor and will continue to train my soldiers to seek these lesser men out and make them know fear.
I will continue to fight when others falter and grow weary of their duty.
I firmly believe in my Constitution; in fact, I believe it applies to all humanity, not just America. I believe that it serves all people who are not just citizens of whatI am convinced is the greatest nationof the world, but to all people regardless of their origins. I believe that the American dream is not economical or political: It is the dream that all people can live a peaceful and prosperous existence by mutual respect andkindness.

Ultimately, though, I believe to get to that dream, good people must do those things we abhor. We must be ready to attack the adversaries of peace and tolerance.
These evil men do not respect anything but force of arms, they only acknowledge the power of fear and hate.
America, I ask that we must keep faith in ourselves. The path has been chosen, not by us but by these evil men. In the past, others would have had us standaside during times of troublesuch as these.

In the past, others would have had us turn a blind eye toward the plight of others. In all of those times, we did the hard"right" over the easy "wrong." West stood against malevolent, imperialistic powers, such as the Barbary pirates, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, only to be criticized later for our deeds. The same people who criticize our past fail to acknowledge that they would be incapable of that criticism had we done nothing. In the America I love, the currentstate of affairs is to attack the patriotism of others. This is a disgusting act of treachery against our Constitution. People use the right of freedom of speech to slander and libel their opponents. This, in my view, isakin to blasphemy.
I say, let those who protest our war effort - and yes, it is our war effort - do so. The greatest threat to our nation is not those cowardly men who only know bravery against unarmed civilians,but instead the potential that they change us.

Keeping faith in yourself regardless of your point of view is paramount to our success.

Yes, I am indeed saying that the end of this will not be a victorious celebration of heroic battles fought and won, but it will end when we embrace our adversary and rebuild their lives for the better. Germany and Japan enjoy even today the benefits of losing to America. Let us make sure the past again never haunts the lives of the future generations.

To ultimately win this war, we must be a paradox.

We must not only defeat and crush our enemies, but also help and embrace them.

Thomas Hawkins

Staff Sgt. Omer Thomas Hawkins Jr. sent this letter to his younger brother shortly before a roadside bomb killed him and two other soldiers as they traveled near Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Oct. 14, 2004, at the start of Hawkins' second tour in Iraq. He asked James "Buck" Hawkins, a Missouri National Guard soldier, to post the letter on the Internet. After O.T.'s death, it was framed and hung on the wall of his mother's home.

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