I just wanted to write to my “adopted” hometown newspaper for two reasons: 1) to let everyone know I am doing well and 2) to offer a different perspective to some of your readers.

I have heard of the anti-war protests and signs in people’s’ yards saying, “No war for oil,” etc. But this really isn’t about that at all. I am serving in Ash Shuaybah, Kuwait right now with Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 and have met many of the Kuwaiti people. They are genuinely glad that we have done what we have in Iraq. There are memorials all around the port to remember the 600 Kuwaiti and Third Country Nationals who were kidnapped from this country during the Gulf War, which I also served in. There is still no word on the fate of many of these people and, because of the actions of President Bush and our military, their families have just now been allowed to go north into Iraq to seek information on what happened to their loved ones. I cannot even begin to imagine their grief and frustration.

There is a wall down at the Kuwait Naval Base that the Iraqi military forced the enlisted personnel on the base to stand in front of while they were shot — you can see and touch the bullet holes in the concrete. The officers of the base received a much worse death sentence — they were loaded onto a boat, taken a few miles from land, and the boat was sunk. I could continue with the stories of what I have heard first hand from the Kuwaiti people themselves, but it would fill this paper from front to back.

I hate it here! There is no respite from the 120 to 130 degree heat. There is sand blowing everywhere. The sand fleas are relentless. There is nothing to break up the desolate, bleak landscape of endless desert around us, other than the black smoke from the constantly burning smokestacks. But I am here voluntarily, sacrificing my business concerns, missing birthdays and anniversaries with my family, missing camping trips and canoeing trips with friends, and not being able to even get a cup of coffee when I feel like having one, simply because I believe we need to “do what’s right” whenever we can.

But I am very proud to be here, and I am glad to be able to give some of you the opportunity to have the freedoms to voice your opinions, whether it is in a protest at campus, or through the editorials, or by whatever other means you choose to show your disagreement with our military actions in Iraq. Unless you are actually here to see and hear from the Kuwaitis or the Iraqis, you will never understand what it is like to not have the “liberties” we so often take for granted. What we did and continue to do in Iraq was the “right” thing to do, and eventually the people of Iraq will gain the right to vote, and protest and write letters to the editor, just as you have.

As I said, I am very glad I am here fighting for your “freedoms,” and I hope that you will try to understand what it has been like for the people of these countries for too long. The next time you think this is only about politics, close your eyes reach out your hand and touch the bullet holes in the wall.

God Bless all of you!