Are Vermonters wrong to question Guard's role in Iraq?
I read with great interest the Feb. 28 article regarding the proposed resolution against the National Guard's role in the war in Iraq, "In Vermont, a Town-Meeting revolt over Iraq war." I recently returned from Iraq as a member of the Army Reserve and now serve in the Tennessee National Guard. All members of both those forces are made aware from the beginning that they could be called upon to serve overseas in time of war. The National Guard does indeed have a primary role as a state agency, but it is also the reserve combat force of an overstretched and greatly reduced Army.
The supporters of the resolution have a point that this debate should be had within communities around the country - that is the republican nature of America. They need to realize, however, that the funding, equipment, and training for the National Guard comes mainly from federal coffers. As long as the national government funds an entity, that entity is subject to the government.
Bon Aqua, Tenn.
I found one quote interesting: "People who went into the Guard thought they would be doing things like floods. They weren't expecting to go and be part of an army fighting a war." These people must have known when they joined the Guard that there was a possibility of going to war - that's part of what the Guard is for.
I spent 24 years in the Naval Reserve and my wife and I knew I could be called up at any time. During the 1991 Gulf War, some members of my unit were called up. I was next in line to go, but the war ended before the call-up. I was prepared to go, even though I didn't really want to. But, I knew by accepting that paycheck every month, I had a duty to my country to help defend it.
I favor getting our troops out of Iraq, but as long as they are there I will do everything I can to support them.
College Station, Texas
The purpose of the National Guard is just what its name says - to guard the nation, and that nation is the United States, not Iraq. In the article, Grant Lewis is quoted as saying, "You've got to support (the war), because people have gotten killed." Mr. Lewis has it exactly backwards; you don't support war precisely because war gets people killed.
Fort Worth, Texas
As angry as the people of Vermont are, there is no way that they can revolt against the war and pull their sons and daughters out of Iraq. It would be better to pray for the safety of all of the solders from all states and branches of service.
The quickest and best way to bring home the troops is to support the mission - anything less gives the enemies of freedom hope that they can outlast us and will lengthen the time our military personnel will have to stay in Iraq.
As recent developments demonstrate, the path to peace is through resolute perseverance! Lebanon, Egypt, and other countries in the region are showing signs of breaking out of feudalism and dictatorships.
My personal thanks go to Josh and his comrades and their families for their dedication and service to the cause of freedom.
H. Michael Sarkisian
If more people were like Vermonters, we would have a better world in which to live, work, and raise our families. I have always said, "No wonder God rested on the seventh day - it took him six days to create Vermont and the people there." My favorite poet, John Dunne, said, "No man is an island unto himself," and the people of Vermont have proven that over the years.
The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.
Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .
Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.