05 July 2014

I Fight Where I Am Told

"I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told. I win where I fight."

Gen. George Patton epitomized the American Soldier. Smart and brash, he won the hearts of his men and captured the imagination of his countrymen.

His famous dictum of duty is as relevant as ever, and still inspires me.

One can scarcely read news about Americna military fortunes today without ominous references to Iraq's disintegration and it's implication for our enterprise in Afghanistan. I recently had an extended conversation with a Soldier who was with the invasion force during the Second Battle of Fallujah, and is now just leaving Afghanistan.

His sentiments echo those of so many other Soldiers who are disappointed that the country where so much American blood was spilled is falling into the hands of an enemy that was so nearly defeated.

But do any of them regret it? I haven't met anyone who says so. Why?

"We did what we were sent there to do," said the Soldier I recently spoke with.

It is the same here in Afghanistan. Thousands of service members deploy and get the job done. We deploy and engage the enemy. We win.

Sometimes our political leaders limit what Soldiers do. Sometimes the bureacracy stifles them. But to a man, almost, these Soldiers who are out here put the mission first.

It is remarkable, actually, that an organization so vast and diverse has so few disciplinary issues and organizational breakdowns.

When we come home from Afghansitan, we will have left it in better shape than when we came.

And as in Iraq, if it fails, it will be because we are no longer here.

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