Rebuttal to letter on removal of troops from Iraq [Letter]

Mr. Thompson, I noticed you led your article with your credentials as a Naval Reserve Officer during WWII and Korea. For that I thank you for your service. I too served in the military. My service includes 20-plus years as an active duty Air Force officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

During my time on active duty, I was a KC-135 and C-17 pilot, where I carried many of the fallen and wounded back from the combat zone, flying over 568 combat sorties in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I would also like you to know that many of our young servicemen and women are coming up on their ninth — that's not a typo — ninth combat tour (12-17 months) in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. I understood and agreed with the launching an offensive in Afghanistan. I did not agree nor understand why we would attack Iraq. The United States provided Saddam Hussein training and access to American schools and equipment (remember the Iran-Iraq War of 1986). Iraq did not have anything to do with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I know that the media and our leaders have convinced you that our forces are capable of all sorts of endeavors such as peace-keeping, nation building, etc., but I can assure you that is not our primary mission. Our primary mission is to protect this nation and our way of life. I will contend that we are and will continue to be the best military in the world as long as we keep this focus.

In conclusion, I agree and applaud our current President for his fortitude and determination to end these conflicts.

I would only ask two things of you and everyone reading this article. First, never forget the many hundreds of thousands of veterans that have lost their lives and those that are still here with us, but will need our help for the rest of their lives due to their battlefield injuries. And, let us not forget the trillions of dollars that will never return to our nation that were used in these conflicts, much of which could have helped us rebuild our own infrastructure and economy, while helping our poor and sick.

Lt. Col Timothy T. Tenne, USAF, Retired


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