I'm glad you started this thread. As I type this, there is right at 30 minutes until we reach Bush's deadline. Contrary to what LVRN wrote in another thread, I feel no glee or joy at what is about to happen.
There are a number of emotions I do feel. I cannot deny I feel sadness at the violence that is about to occur. My heart is breaking for the Iraqi children who will be forced to live with this war. And I am worried. Worried for Bob, my best friend, closer to me than my own brothers. He is currently a DOD civilian, deployed with one of the Special Forces units. Worried for other friends now deployed, worried for all our forces. I will not say I feel the same concern for the Iraqi forces, but nonetheless, I feel concern for them, pity for the violence they are about to be subjected to. Most of you know, I blame Saddam Hussein, and SH alone for the need for this war. He could have avoided it as long as 12 years ago. He could have averted it up to right now. He has chosen not to do so. This is HIS fault.
I also feel pride. Pride in my former comrades in arms, standing in harms way, for the sake of a nation whose fundamental principles they believe in. Pride for my country, where we can have this debate, free of fear of persecution for disagreeing with each other.
Know this. For all who agree with me, and for all who disagree, I respect your viewpoints. For those who fear the outcome of this war, have faith. Regardless of what you think of the leadership of the nation, have faith that our troops will conduct themselves with courage, and above all, with honor and dignity. There will be no soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines who commit war crimes. They will treat Iraqis captured, and civilians in occupied areas with dignity and respect. Whether you agree with the war or not, I think we all, as Americans, can be proud of our armed forces.
Now, on the brink, I think I will put aside the debates. They are moot in any case. I plan to concentrate myself on the actual war. I will worry and sweat until I hear from Bob again. And I will be grateful for each of you, those who agreed with me and reinforced my feeling. And for each of you who disagreed with me, and forced me to think, and think hard about what I was saying. Some may say it differently than I, but I hope we can all agree with this one sentiment. May God bless us all.
Kevin McHugh, SFC, USA, Ret