Let’s Honor our Vets – Avoid Unnecessary Fights

On this Memorial Day, we honor our veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice and who are no longer with us. And, we should. But, we must honor their sacrifices more by doing every thing in our power to avoid conflict in the first place and fight with purpose and planning when we cannot.

Many soldiers lost their lives in Vietnam, a war which fell out of favor as its purpose could not overcome the loss of life witnessed on the nightly news. And, in what may have been his worse abuse of power, which says a lot given Watergate, President-elect Richard Nixon purposefully and clandestinely derailed the peace process, so it could be accomplished on his watch. Many more Americans died as a result.

Later, we did not learn the lessons of fighting a war without clear mission and follow-up, by invading Iraq under false pretenses. We fudged questionable intelligence to invade and overthrow Saddam Hussein. A former Vietnam veteran and Congressman made an impassioned speech that if we invade, we need to be prepared to stay for 30 years.

We are now 14 years in and it looks like we will remain a while longer. We did not understand what success looked like, trusted the wrong advisors, did not understand the differences between Shia, Sunni and Kurds, and went in with too few troops and inferior equipment. General Shinseki resigned because of his disapproval of these last two reasons and our troops commonly referred to our efforts as a “clusterf••k.”

To honor our troops, we need to avoid fighting battles whenever possible. But, when we do send our troops in harm’s way, let’s make darn sure we have a clear cut plan, sufficient support and follow-up after the battles are won. Allowing the new Iraqi government to fire the police force from the Hussein days and to maltreat the minority Sunnis helped create ISIS.

We owe it to our troops to avoid risk whenever possible and to minimize their use of the term “clusterf••k” to define our modus operandi when we must fight needed battles. As General James Mattis said, if we lessen funding of diplomacy, we will need even greater funding of the military.

17 thoughts on “Let’s Honor our Vets – Avoid Unnecessary Fights

    • Well said. We still do not understand the subtleties of the various Muslim sects nor the historical animosities. And, our current President does not care to know, which is sad.

      • Very true. And, we now have a leader who does not want to inconvenience himself with learning the details.

  1. Dear Keith,

    We went into Afghanistan where now 1/3 of the problem is the Taliban; 1/3 of the problem is poppy farming and the other 1/3 has to do with corruption issues.

    If we don’t sit with these under-developed countries for 30 plus years, the chance of improving the lives of residents is nil. And the benefit to the US is nil. I am at the point where the overwhelming goal should be to encourage stability in the middle east with supporting leaders who treat their citizenry with decency.

    Our heroes lives are precious and need to be treated accordingly.

    Hugs, Gronda

  2. Great post, my friend. Memorial Day. Memorial Day weekend. A time for remembering and honouring those who paid the highest price, their lives, so that we could live in a free nation. So that we could live in harmony. So that we could respect not only our likenesses, but also our differences. So that we could live and let live. So that we could escape hate and bigotry. 😥 Mankind seems incapable of learning the lessons of history, yes?

  3. A very worthy post indeed.
    Robert E Lee at the battle of Chancellorsville viewing the fields of Union dead said “It is well that war is so terrible. Lest we grow fond of it,”
    WWII a soldier of the US Graves Registration said “Dead bodies have a funny smell like no other. You know what I think? If everyone could smell them, there would be less wars,”
    I can’t find the exact quote but Eisenhower said something to the effect that we should never enter a war without a clear objective and an exit strategy.
    One man in Pres. Bush (the younger)’s administration voiced objections to invading Iraq; Colin Powell- the one with a military record.
    I doubt if we will ever rid ourselves of war, but at least treat the soldiers and the survivors as the humans they are.

    • Roger, well said. The US Civil War is a great example. The Union generals were so inept, they sacrificed far too many troops. Their incompetence and the Confederate brashness caused the death of over 600,000 people. WWI and WWII should have taught us the necessary lessons. Keith

      • Indeed Keith ‘Should have’ being the operative phrase, and yet we still have fools. In my dream world all these supremacists and arm-chair revolutionaries along with those who see wars as a way of making a profit or furthering their own ambitions should spend a month with the brave volunteers of the various charities digging bodies out of rubble and seeing face up what war is about….I can dream.

      • Seeing things up close can have a profound effect. If you watched “Band of Brothers” about the Europe stage of WWII as contrasted against the sequel called “The Pacific,” allied soldiers had it rough. But, the ones in The Pacific theater had more PTSD since the Japanese soldiers fought to the death. Keith

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