Recently a man from the Netherlands E-Mailed me. He wanted to get something off his chest and I'm glad he did. Here is what he wrote.
I am Hans, from the Netherlands. Found your excellent website while surfing for items for our monthly 'Tiger'of the Dutch Triumph Owners Club TOCN. I own a 1942 BSA WDM20 ( went to Omaha beach with it for the 60 year commemoration), a 1957 Triumph 'TwentyOne' and a 1966 Dutch Army Triumph 3TA.
As for me personally, I am a retired civil engineer, 70, politically spoken a Liberal (which means the opposite of US liberals: right wing, law-and-order), NRA Life Member and have fond memories of B-17's dropping food in April 1945. And visit every now and then the Margraten US military cemetery, to remember.
Two comments: First, the translation into other languages created thunderous laughs, both in French and Dutch; Completely incomprehensible too....
Second: here in the Low Countries, we think that your present President and government is a disaster for the world AND for the USA. The way the Iraq problem has been handled was incredibly stupid, and showed a lack of the most basic knowledge of your enemy. I know, I lived and worked for many years in Muslim countries, among them Iraq. So many good young Americans that pay the price for this mistake.
Sorry for this rant, I had to get this off my chest!
Thank you Hans. I like to get the opinions of others outside this country. This seems to be the prevailing view in a lot of countries. Here is my reply.
It was good to hear from you. Yes, the war has been handled poorly, but that is to be expected. ALL wars are handled poorly. That's why they are wars. The Iraqi people have NEVER had democracy. They do not understand it or how it works. It will take a long time to teach it to them. If, indeed, it can be done. We might fail... then again, we might succeed.
As to the reasons for the war in the first place. If one says Saddam did not have any weapons of mass destruction there are at least 5000 Kurdish villagers that might disagree. They can't because they are dead. Killed by chemical weapons of mass destruction. In the past decade I have read about them and many more, in the news media. Kind of common knowledge if you read past page one. What else did (does) he have ? I don't know. The desert is a big place.
As to supporting terrorism. He gave $25,000 to each Palestinian suicide bomber. Who else did he give stuff to ? Again, in the last ten years it's been buried on page eight in the papers.
Consider this true story. In 1964 a young woman named Kitty Genovese walked by an apartment building in a big US city at night. A man came up to her and for several minutes cut her to pieces with a knife. She screamed for help but NOT ONE of the thirty-eight people in the building came to help her. They didn't even call the police. They later said they didn't want to be involved, and they were scared, and that it wasn't any of their business anyway.
Please do not ask me to sit in my nice, warm, safe (???) home and not help. We are now a world community. The fact that you and I are talking to each other proves this. AGAIN, on page 7, page 9, page 5, over and over I see pictures of poor women crying over the bodies of their husbands and children at mass grave sites in Iraq and other places in the world. We in the USA have the ability to help these powerless people and we WILL help them.
Arrogant ? Perhaps, but the USA has the highest standard of living in the world. Our poor have more things, cars, stereos, clothing, you name it, than the rich have in some countries. Our system works, and it works good. Our way truly is the best way. To think otherwise is to ignore the facts. Think on this. In the USA we just don't kill each other like so many other countries love to do. How many people has Europe lost to war in the last century ? The US is composed of many different states. I live in Idaho, and I just can't remember the last time we slipped over the boarder into our neighbor, Washington state, to rape, plunder and pillage. Perhaps it's time for others to listen to us.
Last thought. What are we really getting out of this ? Are we cheating the Iraqis like the UN, France and Germany did in the oil for food programs ? Again, page 8 ! The price of my gas is still sky hi. Look at other countries we have taken over in war. Is Japan doing poorly ? Are we still in control of Germany or Italy ? We were in charge of most everything after world war two. Did we give it all back ? Seems to me we did... and a bit more. The people that say we shouldn't have gone into Iraq are the same ones who gave into Hitler. At least they have the same ideas of giving into a dictator.
Oh yeah, you are quite right. The translator is rather poor. I've used it on sites in languages I don't understand and I could barely make them out. However, with a bit of work on my part, it is doable. The alternative is ... nothing ! Tell me. Is it better to try to do something, to be part of a poor solution, or is it better to do nothing at all ? The sites I've used the translator on, well I have an idea of what they want to say. Without it, all I see is gibberish. If you assemble an engine poorly, and it runs down the road badly, it's still running down the road. If you never put the engine together, because you are afraid you might not do the best job, that engine will NEVER go down the road. Which is better ? You will have to decide.
Thanks for writing, I envy those bikes you have ! Forgive me if I worded
this too strongly. I'm just an old paratrooper and the Germans did call us
'Devils in baggy pants.'
PS I have some pictures I took on a jump here, if you are interested. http://www.dansmc.com/airborne_page/airborne1.htm "
Now here are a few additional thoughts.
ANYTHING France, Germany, or Russia say should be just plain IGNORED. They made BILLIONS of $$$ hurting the Iraqi people. The UN ? Same thing. I ask you. Exactly how much are we, the USA, making ? I, personally, think we should get something for freeing the Iraqi people and putting down Saddam, but I suppose most of the oil money will be spent rebuilding Iraq. I can live with that ! What I will not live with is PIGS that steal the food from little children so they can afford an extra vacation house in the Black Forest.
If you feel it's OK to hurt and take advantage of the helpless. Well, Ah, with all due respect (which isn't much) you can stick your head where the sun don't shine !
On the point of USA arrogance. Yes, you are right. We need to work on that. But really, we have a system that works. Should we agree to a system that doesn't, just to make others happy ? Do you have a system that works better ? The communist system is bankrupt. Socialism is going bankrupt. Capitalism works better then any other system yet devised. Could it work better ? YES , but so far I've not seen any European system that works better. I hear lots of talk, but I don't see any action. Is it USA arrogance or a case of European "Won't lead, to proud to follow" ? Or maybe it's just a case of irritation with the USA mess'en with my food bowel.
Maybe, it's also a case of who you listen to. The Media here in the USA often leaves out important information that doesn't fit their world view and many times they just plain lie. Remember all the car roll overs and fuel tank blowups the media "Exposed" here in the USA a while back ? They were staged ! Perhaps some, or maybe even a lot, of the things people read in Europe may be, shall we say, somewhat slanted away from the truth.
Here is a letter I got in e-mail the other day.
A Marine Asks Americans for help
1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger USMC
First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help.
It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people. Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad.
We are a people that cherish the democratic system of government and therefore hold the will of the people in the highest regard. We love to criticize ourselves almost to an endless degree, because we care what others think. Our enemies see this as a weakness and are trying to exploit it. When we ask ourselves questions like, "Why do they hate us?" or "What did we do wrong?" we are playing into our enemies'hands.
Our natural tendency to question ourselves is being used against us to undermine our effort to do good in the world. How far would we have gotten if, after the surprise attacks on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, we had asked, "Why do the Japanese hate us so much?" or "How can we change ourselves so that they won't do that again?"
Here in Iraq the enemy is trying very hard to portray our efforts as failing and fruitless. They kill innocents and desecrate their bodies in hopes that the people back home will lose the will to fight for liberty. They are betting on our perceived weakness as a thoughtful,considerate people. Unfortunately our media only serves to further their cause.
In an industry that feeds on ratings and bad news, a failure in Iraq would be a gold mine.
When our so-called "trusted" American media takes a quote from an Iraqi doctor as the gospel truth over that of the men and women that are daily fighting to protect the right to freedom of press, you know something is wrong. That doctor claimed that out of 600 Iraqis that were casualties of the fighting, the vast majority of them were women, children and the elderly. This is totally absurd. In the history of man, no one has spent more time and effort, often to the detriment of our own mission, to be more discriminate in our targeting of the enemy than the American military. The Marines and Soldiers serving in Iraq have gone through extensive training in order to limit the amount of innocent casualties and collateral damage.
Yet, despite all of this, our media consistently sides with those who openly lie and directly challenge the honor of our brave heroes fighting for liberty and peace. What we have to remember is that peace is not defined as an absence of war. It is the presence of liberty, stability, and prosperity. In the face of the horrendous tyranny of the former Iraqi regime, the only way true peace was able to come to this region was through force. That is what the American Revolution was all about. Have we forgotten?
Freedom is not free and "peace" without principle is not peace. The peace that so-called "peace advocates" support can only be brought to Iraq through the military. And we are doing it, if only the world will let us! If the American people believe we are failing, even if we are not, then we will ultimately fail.
That is why I am asking for your support. Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are fight the lies of the enemy. Don't buy into the pessimism and apathy that says, "It's hopeless," "They hate us too much," "That part of the world is just too messed up," "It's our fault anyway," "We're to blame," and so forth.
Whether you're in middle school, working at a 9-5 job, retired, or a stay-at-home mom you can make a huge difference! There is nothing more powerful than the truth.
So, when you watch the news and see doomsday predictions and spiteful opinions on our efforts over here, you can refute them by knowing that we are doing a tremendous amount of good.
Spread the word. No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer. Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success.
You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception. So I'm asking you as a fellow fighting man: Do your duty. Stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side.
Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.
God Bless and Semper Fidelis,
1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger
USMC Ramadi, Iraq"
Now about my little language translator. I find it quite interesting that, of everyone who complains about it, not one has a better idea. Yes, they are correct. It's not perfect. What would you have me do ? Spend my time learning some obscure language instead of teaching motorcycle repair ? Then I could clearly, in your own language, tell you absolutely nothing ! Or would you rather I write about motorcycle repair, even if I communicate it to you somewhat imperfectly ? After all, it is FREE. Yet, people complain. It is an imperfect translation BUT if you work at it you can figure it out. Maybe that's it. People just are just too lazy to work it out. Well, I cater to the lazy too, so I'm adding some more translators to the site. Maybe that will help. I just read this week of a guy who had a free web log site. Thousands of people had web logs (Blogs) on his site. Well, after three years, he ran out of money and had to close the free site. He said he got hundreds of hate E-Mails, from people who used his FREE site. That pig ! How dare he not give me any more free stuff. Maybe that's why people hate us. Too much free stuff ! Go figure !
Bottom line ? We have stopped a band of primitive thieves and a Hitler wanna be. We have brought the CHANCE for freedom to two different countries. The world is MUCH safer now. It is costing us a lot in both money and lives. The cost of freedom is never cheap and the price is always paid in blood. My only regret is that this didn't happen when I was serving in the Division.
Jesus said "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Matthew 22:39) If I were ever held captive by thugs and murderers, like the people of Afghanistan and Iraq were held captive, I would hope some neighbour would love me enough to free me. The United States of America has done this in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you don't like this, TOUGH, learn to live with it !