It strikes me as serious, thoughtful, and concerned. I imagine there are a lot of parents who share his concerns -- about their children, and about this war and the news they are hearing about it.
Below is his letter, and his son's e-mail:
I am the father of a 23 year old 1st Lieutenant in the Army. He is presently deployed and we are fortunate that he is able to send us an occasional e-mail.
Yesterday he sent an email and I thought you may be interested in his "on the ground" view of the war.
To give you a little background, my son – Bryan Patrick Smith, graduated from West Point in 2005 and is presently a platoon leader with the 1st Calvary Division...
Here is the part of the email I found so compelling to pass on to you:
"It is pretty interesting operating in this area. I have always understood that the media reports what people are interested in hearing but I never realized to what extent that they really ignore the good things that are going on over here. I have been to all of the villages in my area and spoken to all types of tribes, and religious sects. The Iraqi people are very open to explain to me how much they need us here. Honestly, we and the Iraqi Army are the only force that maintains any type of stability here. While there is a very evident sectarian divide between the Sunni's and the Shiites, they are both being harassed by the Al Qaeda in the area. If we were to leave Iraq before their own security forces are fully prepared to maintain stability in the area this place would erupt in looting, murder, and kidnapping. All of these tools the Anti-Iraqi forces use to fund their insurgency. So next time you watch some pompous ass politician use the "Let's pull out of Iraq" card to push his name on the ballot please realize that these guys have never set foot in these towns. The American public does not realize how much these people not only need but want us to help them rebuild their government. Sorry, I got a little emotional there. Don't get me wrong, I don't enjoy being away from home but if we are here to help these people then that is what we need to do, stay and help them until it is the right time to leave."
I watch your news program and rarely – if ever – hear anything like this. I am not just "picking" on you but the media seems to have a bias against balanced reporting of the truth. Where your program skews everything to left point of view and Fox skews everything to the right, there is no middle ground where the truth wins out. It is always about how to get your political point across. It is as if the major news outlets are only there to advance the cause of the political party they are associated with.
I think this war is horrible and yes, we have problems and issues, but when was the last time your program or any other news program showed the truth of what is going on?
I don't want my son in a war – I want him home having some of his Mom's homemade Baked Ziti, but both his Mom and I believe in him and we believe in what he is doing.
So please, do me a favor – take an honest accounting of the news you report. Rather than just showing the mayhem of this war why don't you show the good our forces are doing?
Sean Patrick Smith