EMAILS OF THE DAY

Two more for the record:

“Dear Captain Fishback,
It’s far too easy these days to feel demoralized about the state of so many things in America. It seems as if our nation has been afflicted by a kind of creeping stupor in which most of us turn away from the hard truths – not because we’re bad people, or uncompassionate people, or lazy people, but because too often speaking out seems futile. And of course, that is the most deadening, demoralizing thing of all – that so many of us won’t even bother to protest what’s so obviously wrong on so many levels. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reminding me of what’s right about our country, and what must never be lost. Few of us will have – or take – the opportunity to stand for what’s right in such a meaningful way. Few of us have the authority and credibility that you do. But every one of us has the obligation to say what needs to be said, in matters of conscience large and small.
Today, I begin. You’ve made this a better country. Most of us don’t know that yet. But we will. I’ve never claimed a hero before because I’ve never known of anyone in my lifetime worthy of that title. I have one now. I hope you can feel the presence of so many of us standing right behind you.”

I forwarded another 80 or so emails today to Ian via his lawyer and family. In the end, I decided reprinting them all on the Letters Page would be too onerous a task, and perhaps unnecessary after posting many here. All I can let you know is that I have been told on very good authority that this blog-effort has been appreciated. Fishback is not alone. And if he didn’t know it before, he knows it now. Thanks for all your emails. You give me hope that one day soon, we can end this policy of abuse. Finally, this:

Dear CPT Fishback,
My proudest moment as an American came in Munich in 1992, when an old man waved my car down on a deserted street on a rainy Sunday morning. He pointed at my license and asked if I was an American soldier, then proceeded to tell me that he had been in the Italian army in WWII. Captured during the war, he was went to a US-based EPW camp.
I’ll never forget his praise: “The Americans treated us so well, and the food! I eat better in American than with Italian army. You treat us so well, we were your prisoner but we were safe in the camp. I always love America.”
Fifty years after the war, we had won the enemy’s heart. I fear that fifty years after this war, we’ll still be fighting people who weren’t originally our enemies because of what we did to their countrymen in Abu Ghraib and a dozen other places.
Thank you for standing up to right this wrong. You have validated my belief in our junior officers and your actions reflect the moral courage that we should all aspire to as members of the Long Gray Line.

Amen.

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