Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 - Remember The Fallen

During this Memorial Day weekend, while we are enjoying hot dogs on the grill, a day at the beach, a swim in the pool, or just the companionship of our family and friends, please remember the American warriors who have given their lives that we might live in peace and safety.

Please watch this video and pass it on:

Those of us who have served in America's wars will never forget our comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice. You may read about those from our most recent wars on the "Honor the Fallen" website HERE. You can read about our Vietnam fallen HERE at the Vietnam Memorial website.

As a veteran of both Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I hope that you will pray for the fallen and for those who are still serving in harm's way on our behalf...

Charles M. Grist

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Armed Forces Day 2011 - Thanking The Members Of Our Military

Today is Armed Forces Day. From the Department of Defense website:

*  *  *  *

"President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense."

*  *  *  *

Thank a veteran or current member of the military today! We would not be living in freedom without them.

Charles M. Grist

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead - It's Time To Begin Our Withdrawal From Afghanistan

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Taliban refused to turn over Osama Bin Laden to the United States. By doing so, they became his allies, and we went to war in Afghanistan. Although it became necessary to remove the Taliban in the process of chasing Bin Laden, we gradually lost our focus on the primary mission. It should never have been about anything but capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden and those who planned and executed the 9/11 attacks.

Instead, we became involved in nation-building, trying to bring a primitive country from the dark ages to modern times with only a handful of soldiers. Our leaders ignored the traditions of corruption, tribes, drugs, and religion, believing in their intellectually superior minds that we could wave our hands and create a Jeffersonian democracy.

As usual, our troops have performed magnificently. Because the Taliban was chased into the mountains with their tails between their legs, the Afghan people have had a chance to enjoy the fruits of our warriors' efforts. Few of them have embraced us or our ideals. They remain a primitive people for the most part, and they despise foreign occupation - regardless of the reason.

The president of Afghanistan is working against us and continuing the culture of corruption in his country. He wants to work with the Taliban to bring them into the government - kind of like letting the fox into the hen house. When - not if - that happens, the Taliban will only wait until we are gone before they try to return Afghanistan to its brutal past.

Whether we leave today or twenty years from now, the Afghan people - like their Iraqi counterparts - will determine the future of their country. Maintaining their culture of corruption is not worth another American life.

The sacrifices of our troops in Afghanistan ultimately resulted in the death of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Almost all the Al Qaeda planners of 9/11 are dead or locked up. The few that remain can still be taken out with accurate intelligence and professional special operations forces. We have accomplished our primary mission in Afghanistan, and we have been victorious. It's time to bring the troops home.

On our way out of Afghanistan, the last soldier to board an airplane should turn to the Afghans with one final message:

"Do what you will with your own country; but if you attack us again, we will destroy you. Any questions?"

Charles M. Grist

Monday, May 2, 2011

Navy SEALs Kill Osama Bin Laden - Major Victory In Continuing War On Terror

America's legendary Navy SEALs stormed the Pakistan hideout of Osama bin Laden yesterday in a classic, well-planned and well-executed raid. The details of the mission are still coming to light, but apparently the Al Qaeda leader who planned the September 11, 2001 attacks resisted capture and was killed by small arms fire.

Once the identity of this infamous murderer was confirmed, his remains were buried at sea so some burial chamber on land would not become a shrine for terrorists.

We commend the efforts of the SEALs, the troops who supported their raid, and the unseen and professional efforts of our intelligence officers. This great victory will hopefully bring some comfort to the relatives of the 9/11 victims as well as the families of the American troops who have died as part of the efforts to locate Bin Laden and fight his supporters in the war on terror.

As a veteran of the ongoing war against Islamic fundamentalists, this victory brings a great sense of satisfaction to me as I am sure it does to my fellow warriors. All of us must remember, however, that the war against terrorism continues. There will surely be revenge attacks by surviving Al Qaeda members, and the larger Islamic fundamentalist movement will continue to take the lives of innocent men, women, and children throughout the world.

Justice has been served on Osama bin Laden. The greatest lesson may be for those who consider attacking America again. If you injure or kill Americans, there is no place on earth where we cannot find you. No matter how long it takes, we will cross every desert, climb every mountain, and destroy every obstacle in our efforts to find you.

Like Adolph Hitler whose ashes were lost in the sands of time, Osama bin Laden's corpse will now rot in the depths of the sea.

Such are the wages of evil....

Charles M. Grist

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We Won In Iraq - It's Time To Come Home

The agreement negotiated by President George W. Bush with the Iraqi government mandates that our troops leave Iraq by the end of 2011. There has been some talk that we would stay longer if the Iraqis asked, but there is no indication they will invite us to do so. That is as it should be. It's time to come home.

Like many military veterans who served in Iraq, I always felt that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a war that didn't need to be fought while we were still chasing Osama bin Laden all over Afghanistan and Pakistan. Still, my fellow warriors and I did our duty, followed our orders, and defeated the regime of Saddam Hussein. We also killed or captured a lot of Islamic fundamentalist bad guys.

In place of the Sunni dictator, we installed a democratic government that has now been in place for many years. We drew down on our combat forces as the Iraqis built up their army and police. Our training mission continues, but we have forces in place that could respond like a SWAT team to a major problem. We also have advisors who accompany Iraqi units in the field, and those Americans remain in great danger. If any training continues after this year, it can be conducted next door in Kuwait or elsewhere.

The problems that remain in Iraq will be there whether we leave today or twenty years from now. The Sunni versus Shiite religious disagreements existed long before America was created. They will continue to be the greatest issue to face the Iraqi people. Watch radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr and the Mahdi Army - they are the Hamas, Hezbollah, or Muslim Brotherhood of Iraq.

I am proud to have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom with some of the finest soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who ever fought for America. We liberated over twenty-five million people, made many friends among the Iraqis, and gave them a great opportunity to live in a land filled with freedom and opportunity.

The future of Iraq is now in their hands.

Charles M. Grist