I am disgusted at the blatant inaccuracy in the September 8 article “Cry for Help,” especially in regards to its claims about American troops serving in Iraq. Karyn Meshbane claims that “many soldiers in Iraq have gone AWOL,” while, as of date, only one soldier is reported to have gone absent without leave while deployed in Iraq. The correct term for this is not AWOL, but desertion, which is punishable by death during wartime. Soldiers have a responsibility to go to war if ordered to, just as professors and students at the University of Miami have a responsibility to attend class. Just as professors and university officials do not chase down students who skip class, the government does not chase down AWOL soldiers. Most are found when they receive a traffic violation or they commit another offense.
While it’s easy to slam the men and women of the armed forces as “baby killers,” soldiers are not ordered to kill innocent women and children. Yes, innocent people do die, but most deaths are occurring from sectarian violence, Iraqis killing other Iraqis, not by the hands of Americans. The few American soldiers who have murdered in Iraq, which is a small minority, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
It’s oversimplifying to say that the situation in the Middle East is about oil, economics, or power. The issues we face today have been brewing longer than most University of Miami students have been alive. Before commenting on politics, or disgracing the honor of those serving our country, Ms. Meshbane should research the facts. From the comfort of our private school lives, it’s easy to whine about all of the things that are wrong in the world. After being in Iraq for over three years now, the complaints are getting old. I’d be much more interested if someone could offer a solution.
In co-ordination with the 4th Infantry
Division, Baghdad, Iraq