I have had the great opportunity of serving our nation in both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Foreign Service.
As a Foreign Service officer, I served for 29 years with the U.S. State Department in many countries with large Islamic populations, including Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan. Those experiences have brought me to the conclusion that John McCain is the best-prepared candidate to lead our nation in these dangerous times.
The threat to America and our way of life from radical Islamic terrorism is the most complex and serious challenge our country has ever faced. Sen. McCain, with his long legislative and military career, has the broadest knowledge of, and the most extensive experience in, foreign affairs of any candidate, and has the demonstrated indomitable courage to do whatever is necessary to protect our nation.
We should all be grateful for his unflinching constructive criticism of what appeared to be a losing strategy for the conduct of the war in Iraq. His leadership in making strong arguments for augmented forces and the ensuing "surge" were instrumental in dramatically changing the security situation in Iraq, and the consequent large reduction in casualties for our troops and the Iraqis.
John McCain is a proven leader, and I urge you to vote for him in the Republican primary Jan. 19.
Dick Smith, Aiken, S.C.