Major General Rick Lynch Speaks Out Against Media and Lawmakers

Major General Rick Lynch in a satellite interview.
Major General Rick Lynch in a satellite interview.

So, what do the troops on the ground think of all the debate back at home about their future in Iraq? WTOC had a chance to hear first hand from Third Infantry Division commander, Major General Rick Lynch.

"There are no regrets," Lynch told WTOC via satellite Wednesday morning.

Lynch didn't hold back when talking about the US military and their mission in Iraq. The battle in the Senate over troop withdrawals touched a nerve with Lynch.

"The big debate back home makes no sense to us really, " he said. "We can't fight for terrain and then give it away. We lost 80 soldiers since I've been here. We can't fight then walk away. We can't do that."

While some wonder about troop morale, Lynch says morale is strong. "We're doing fine and an indication, I got to tell you, we enlisted 42 soldiers yesterday, General Pace was here. Fourth of July we re-enlisted 200 dog-faced soldiers. On the Army birthday, another 50. Ask the guys how we are doing, we're doing great."

What worries Lynch is the morale of families back home. He blames the media and the lawmakers trying to pull troops. "Our families are saying, 'why are you there,'" he said. "I don't know why they play up the negative and downplay positives. When we have visitors, they say, 'wow, we are making progress over here.' Optimism is a combat multiplier. It would be a great thing if you all quit being so negative back home."

Lynch says two things are certain. Soldiers know what their mission at hand is and they want to get back home to their families when the mission is complete.

"We miss our families, all soldiers we know we are fighting for freedom," Lynch said "We are trying to guarantee freedom for our children."

Lynch says he expects to complete the 15 month deployment the Third ID was sent to do. They are in month five right now.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com