Wednesday, December 7, 2005
Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941
2,402 people lost their lives as a result of the attack
on Pearl Harbor.

For this weeks Wednesday Heroes I'm doing something a little different. Rather than profile a soldier I have an interview with one. LTC. Brett Perry, aka Greta's husband, was kind enough to answer a few questions I had. He just recently got back from Iraq, April 6 of this year, where he was Deputy District Engineer who was responsible for coordinating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Iraq reconstruction effort for the Kirkuk and Sulaymaniah Provinces. And he just recently returned from Louisiana where he was helping out in the clean up efforts after Katrina and Rita.

Only seven questions. I wanted to keep it brief. He couldn't get too political in his answers as he is still on active duty. The only news we seem to be getting is from the so-called "experts", at least in their own minds, up on Capital Hill. I wanted to try and get some information straight from the horses mouth, so to speak, because no one knows what's really going better than the one's who're actually over there. Not Ted Kennedy, not Joe Lieberman, not you nor I, not even W. I hope you enjoy it.

1. Do you think the media in this country has a bias, either way, in the coverage of the war?
I think the media is biased towards reporting “bad” news. They would much rather report a plane crash than 100 successful plane landings

2. We keep hearing from certain politicians and pundits that the War In Iraq isn't part of the overall War On Terror. Do you feel the same way?
I don't understand how a rational, thinking person can differentiate between the war in Iraq and the GWOT. Iraq is the battle ground for GWOT. We chose the place and the time on this one which means we have the initiative. If we do not continue to keep the pressure on the enemy until he is destroyed then we will lose the initiative and sit around waiting to be victims again (ala 911).

3. Again, we keep hearing from certain politicians and pundits that overall morale is low. I know you left Iraq a few months ago but what did you view the morale of the soldiers to be while you were there?
Morale remains high as indicated by record high re-enlistment rates. Soldiers don't necessarily enjoy being seperated from their homes and families for long periods of time but they do like soldiering which is exactly what they get to do when deployed. The only thing that I will bring down morale is if the American people turn against them (i.e., wrong war, wrong place, wrong time)or if forced to retreat prior to victory.

4. I've said in the past that the only one's who actually know when the U.S. should pull out are the one's who're there fighting. When do you think the United States should begin to pull troops out of Iraq?
War is, and always has been, a means for achieving a national strategic objective. The military, in our Country, does not determine when those objectives are met, they only advise the elected decision makers. Personally, I believe we pull out when the mission is accomplished (as stated by the President - stable and democratic Iraq). To pull out any earlier would be a compromise and show the world we lack the resolve we proclaimed to have on Sept 12, 2001.

5. Do you think President Bush lie just so he could invade Iraq?
If you look at it objectively, probably millions of dollars have been spent trying to prove the President lied and yet not one shred of evidence (even fabricated) has been produced.

6. Are our troops dying for nothing in Iraq?
I believe no U.S. Service member ever died for “nothing”. The willingness of those to serve, throughout our history, is why we have achieved a status and standard of living as perhaps the greatest all time nation on earth. We may be peace loving but we did not achieve this status through peaceful means. We may prefer to use diplomatic and economic tools for achieving national strategic objectives but when those fail we have had and will continue to rely on our military. Also, we have historically achieved goals, forced belligerents to the negotiation table and otherwise kept those that would destroy us at bay, not through war but merely through the threat of war and fear of the U.S. Military. Every member contributes to that cause and the continued greatness and promise of our Nation. If you call that dying for nothing then I am curious what you consider dying for something.

7. And final question. As everyone knows, 99.9% of the coverage of the war is negative. Could you tell us about one positive event, that you saw, that the media didn't report on?
I saw "good news" stories every day. We were there to manage (and
fund) the construction and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, health clinics,
police stations, fire stations, military facilities, oil infrastructure,
electric and water infrastructure, roads, etc. Sadam had let all of this
public infrastructure (even oil) deteriorate to 3rd world conditions in
order to fund the military.

I say we managed the construction because it was
Iraqi construction companies that did the construction. We were able to provide
jobs for thousands of Iraqis; always choosing to hire 5 men with shovels
instead of a backhoe. I met weekly with local government and staff (Kurds,
Sunni and Shiite) to brief them on progress and hear their priorities and

Bottom line is all this went on like it might in a normal
functioning free society. The Iraqis I worked with wanted a free
government, the rule of law, and wanted to control their own destiny. They understood
why we were there and, don't let anyone convince you otherwise, very much
appreciated what the U.S. was doing for them. The only abnormality was the
constant threat and occasional attack by the terrorists.

I want to thank LTC. Perry and Greta for allowing me the privilege to do this. It was an honor. And to LTC. Perry. I think I speak for all my readers when I say thank you for your service to this country. You may get a little tired of hearing the word "hero" but every man and woman who puts on that uniform is just that. A hero.


loboinok said...

Good interview Chris! Merry Christmas!

Please pass on my gratitude to the Colonel and a Merry Christmas to you both as well!