Military gives Americans freedom

Jessica Gregor and Jessica Gregor

To whom it may concern:

I wanted to write to thank Ian Zulick for his column last week [‘Blind support of troops … ’ Feb. 14].

It was a column that allowed him to openly express his negative opinion of American soldiers, thanks to our country’s freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, it seems like Zulick failed to correlate his ability to write and say what he wants with the impact our military has on these democratic principles.

To be clear, I’m not saying that our freedoms as American citizens are protected by the fighting in Iraq and our continued presence in Afghanistan.

Zulick had a problem with people assuming that soldiers are fighting for our freedoms, citing the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay as instances in which Americans and others are restricted in order to protect liberty.

There are two main criticisms I have with this— first, the servicemen and women he is so adamantly against have little to do with the passage or implementation of the Patriot Act or the funding of Guantanamo Bay; if the military wasn’t involved with these two programs, contracted civilians would likely be hired by the government to continue these operations.

It seems that the bulk of the responsibility for these very unpopular programs rests with our lawmakers, including President Obama, who has stated on the record several times that he plans to close the U.S. installation in Cuba and has consistently failed to do so. Secondly, due to the very nature of terrorism, it is difficult to quantify how our presence abroad has protected our freedoms at home; however, I would remind Zulick that if not for the soldiers that he refuses to support, Osama bin Laden would still be hiding in a compound in Pakistan, actively engaged in planning more terrorist attacks against our nation.

And while he likens members of the military to war criminals, I would ask that he review the statistical data that confirms an overwhelming majority of soldiers abide by the many laws and rules of engagement [such as the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Convention protocols] that dictate how war fighting should be conducted to reduce collateral damage.

In closing, while I appreciate the fact that Zulick and others are not proud of what our country’s elected representatives have ordered its military to do, I want to remind him that the service members he is so dismissive of are people, too. They are mothers, fathers, neighbors, volunteers, students at the University and members of the community that deserve respect and our support, just as any other American citizen.

And when he asks, “How can we call every single soldier a hero when some of them end up committing war crimes?”

I ask in response, how can you dismiss an entire group of people who have volunteered to risk their lives to make you safer?

Jessica Gregor

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