Reader feedback: More than US cannon fodder

Re: Slovak soldiers in Iraq under attack, no injuries, Flash news briefs, Apr 19 - 25, Vol 10, No 15

Slovak armed forces have been globally engaged for many years, with peacekeeping or monitoring forces in Cyprus, Africa, and the Balkans, to name a few. Slovakia is an extraordinarily geopolitically involved country, considering its size and resources. While any accountant could enumerate the soldier to population ratio, or the per-capita spending for defence, what no person can put on paper is the heart of the Slovak people or their concern for the betterment of the condition of the world.

Is it unusual that in an age where terrorism knows no boundaries that Slovakia would find it important to continue to project its ideals and utilise its military skills? Look through the last two years of The Slovak Spectator and see how many terrorists have been detained in Slovakia as they pass through to Europe, or arrested through the intervention of the Slovak government. Without the professionalism and attention of Slovak law enforcement and its military, the risk to the larger Europe, even the world, would be much greater. Please recall specifically the al-Qaeda member who lived in Bratislava and was arrested in the plot to poison the London underground.

The belief by some that Slovakia blindly or inappropriately follows the US is out of touch with reality. I spent much of my time in Slovakia with the men and women of its military; they are professionals dedicated to the same ideals as the rest of the free world's militaries. The soldier, above all other persons, values peace the most because he has the most to lose when peace fails. There comes a time when politics and/or harsh language no longer work and someone must act.

John Bryk,
former US Air Attaché to the Slovak Republic, Washington DC, USA

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