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It's a privilege to live in America 

In response to the Nov. 24 opinion piece by Johanna Rubba in New Times titled “The real America,” it’s hard to know where to begin. 

Anecdotal evidence indicates Rubba’s belief that America is a terrible country is wrong 46,000 times over; that’s the number of people attempting to illegally immigrate to America apprehended by the Border Patrol in October of this year. Maybe if she told them the real scoop they’d change their minds, but I doubt it. These people know what living in a repressed country is really like and it isn’t America. Were it not so, I’m sure somebody would have called home for a return ticket.

Rubba’s slander of the American military requires redress as she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She cites an aberration such as Abu Ghraib that involved seven soldiers engaged in misconduct out of a force of 150,000, which landed the miscreants in prison, their commanders relieved of duty (fired in military parlance). In 2004 I saw Americans risk their lives daily to protect Iraqi villagers from al-Qaeda monsters. Read the letter from the mayor of Tal Afar about his praise of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in their liberation of his town from al-Qaeda predators. It’s on the internet. Another personal experience I had involved peacekeeping operations in Bosnia in 1997. Elements of a convoy I was leading were struck head-on by a wayward semi-truck, knocking a Humvee with four soldiers hundreds of feet down a ravine on the Olovo Grade, which was lined with mine fields. The Humvee was resting on its side against trees below, no sign of life. When I was able to make my way down the slope to the vehicle, I was astonished to find my troops gone. The local villagers had made their way through the mine fields below and carried my injured troops out hand-over-hand to safety to the local clinic. They told us that because we were Americans and that we were there to help them, they loved us and risked their lives to save my soldiers proving it. Recalling the Nazi atrocities in the area during WWII, they also said that if we had been Germans they would have killed us; memories die hard.

All this aside, I doubt if Rubba will change her perspective, but hopefully those with a more open mind might consider and reflect upon what a privilege it truly is to live in America.

-- Al Fonzi - Atascadero

-- Al Fonzi - Atascadero

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