I am writing in regard to "Respect all-volunteer force" (letter, Aug. 6).

I am in Iraq for the third time now, and I have lost numerous friends and people whom I respected during my service. I find it absolutely deplorable that anyone who is serving in a public position has the right to dismiss the Iraq war as a mistake.

I was here during the initial push in March 2003, and I have witnessed the atrocities of what a dictator can do to the people of Iraq.

For those of us who have done multiple deployments and suffered many losses of our comrades, it is like reopening a wound to hear people bad-mouth this war. It will mentally break you down when you repeatedly do the same thing over and over and lack the support of the American people and those who serve in office. I can only imagine the horrific pain that Vietnam veterans have endured from a lifetime of people like "Hanoi Jane" Fonda.

I will fight for the love of my country and for the freedom of speech, but how many comrades must I lose for the American people to find their own personal justification? I am quite confident that if every family were directly affected by the wars in the Middle East, perhaps their tongues would not yield the slashes of a sword.

I believe that a draft for our spoiled America is long overdue. I thank the letter writer for addressing what we already feel.

Staff Sgt. Samantha MahanCamp Victory, Iraq

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