Date: Tue, 29 May 2007 19:42:27 -0700

From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <>
Subject: Don't ask, don't tell: What makes America great

May 29th, 2007

Dear Readers,

I was introduced to a couple of soldiers who have been back from Iraq for a week, where they spent most of the last five years.  We drank beer and played horseshoes together.

They are hoping they will not have to go back.  They are absolutely willing to go back, though, if called.  Nicest guys you'd ever want to meet.  One was the son of a Doctor, and surely could be an emergency room doctor himself, but instead he sends people there and to the morgue.

They are tired of the endless violence, the killing.  But they'll do their part if we ask them to.  For a fourth tour.  And a fifth, whatever it takes.  "I'm a peace activist" I told them.  No problem.  This is America.  I didn't have to tell them, but I wanted them to tell me what they thought we should do.

Here's what they said: "I don't know.  We have to leave.  It's useless."

They say they ARE doing a lot of good there, from building things to trying to establish police systems, protection for schools, universities, and yes -- even mosques -- all the things we like to think they are doing, including catching bad guys -- they are doing it.

But they CAN'T make any of the good things they do in Iraq stick.  Everybody, they tell me, wants payback for some wrong done to them, and payback always has to be double the original crime.  You can't achieve peace when people feel like that!

And corruption is rampant -- you can't find an honest guy to do business with in Iraq, they tell me.  It's nearly impossible.  People go back on their word all the time.  You can't build a foundation of trust when that keeps happening.

And the enemy -- is ruthless.  They will attack from any position (from mosques, for instance, or from schools, or from homes occupied by families), and they will violate any rule of war.  They kill each other in droves, but their favorite targets -- are us.

Today, Cindy Sheehan announced that she is dropping out of the peace movement (whatever that means), and George Bush declared he will bring peace to the Darfur region of the Sudan, and end the suffering of millions there.  I hope he's learned a better way to do it than the mess he's making in Iraq.

My world is topsy-turvy today.  How's yours?