The following is the text of an e-mail sent by Gen. Robert Magnus, who recently accompanied Chuck Norris during his trip to Iraq.
Yesterday, I returned from Iraq where American "GIs," who are the Marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen and even a few Coast Guardsmen,
are doing their selfless service to our nation and people as well as,
quite frankly, the Iraqi people.
I was fortunate to come with Chuck
Norris and his friend and fellow actor Marshall Teague, who are great humanitarians and wanted to say thank you to our troops. We talked
to thousands of troops, those "behind the wire" at large bases as well
as those in forward operating bases and combat outposts. They are
intelligent, tough, strong-willed, good men and women. All of them
are volunteers who are professionals and know exactly what they are
doing, what their risks are, and why they do what they do. They fill your
heart with pride and your head with their virtue.
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They are today another "greatest generation." They are overseas
to fight for many reasons, including Christian values, Jewish values,
and, yes, even Buddhist and Muslim values. Some do not believe or
practice a religion, but they do believe in and practice the same core values. Honor, Courage, Commitment. Humanitarianism – giving more than money
and giving of yourself for others with the only return on investment
being that it is "the right thing to do." I know that they would do
whatever it takes to help each other professionally do their duty ... and would
put their lives at risk to help their buddies.
While ultimately it is
the Iraqi and Afghani peoples who will decide the course of the wars in
their lands, deciding whether to respect each other and the rule of
more than they fear the murderous terrorists and fanatics who
intimidate them, these American warriors are there as strong right arms, better
perhaps to say strong righteous arms, in a fight that is for some
universal values and human rights and against unspeakable acts and
On a daily and nightly basis, these American warriors know that
this requires many to go in harm's way to do this duty. Jews call it
tzedakh – a duty to give for others. I have seen them do this. Many
will be wounded, some very seriously and disabled and disfigured for
the rest of their lives, doing this duty.Muslims call it sadakh, coming
from the same root word Jews use. I have seen them too. Some will
giving their lives, literally stopping their heartbeats, doing this
duty. Christians call it charity, coming from the Latin "caritas,"
or of the heart. Yet, day after day, night after night, these American
warriors go forth and do their duty. They are not unafraid. But
they are steeled by the courage of their convictions and values ... and by
being in the company of fellow men and women of similar higher
than themselves. No finer team ever existed.
What wonderful young men and women we have serving today! They fight so that others at home can say the things to each other that
they hate ... as long as those at home don't do the things to each other
that they hate. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the insurgents, anti-government
forces, terrorists and brutal criminals go by many names ... Taliban,
al-Qaida, Salafist Jihadi, Mahdi Brigade.
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These evil people also say
things that we hate but the difference is that they do things, to
fellows and to those who have come to do their duty to help their
fellows, they do the things that we hate. That is evil incarnate.
I hope that we continue to honor the duty of those Americans, who do
duty often at great risk, and simply but strongly support them ... and
protect us and give choice and
freedom to others.
It is hard for me to hear and see that for some, few Americans
peace at home, honoring these hard-working and brave people is
not understood or practiced. Some at home clearly do not understand
what these mainly young warriors clearly do understand. I pity
who have confused minds, weak hearts and hollow values. They may
strong convictions, but they do not have the courage of the
selflessness, duty and charity of heart of these troops. The troops
fighting people who routinely torture, murder and violate their
People who would turn their world and our world into one that has no
choice but to follow their distorted values and evil purpose. Yet,
these Americans who do not honor the cause of our warriors are the
"people who sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men
[and women] stand ready to do violence on their part." The warriors
not waiver simply because they defend the weak. That is today as it
always been and should be.
Gen. Robert Magnus