Gutless wonders

Months ago, as the war in Iraq spooled up and we poured men and equipment into the breach, those on the left compared this conflict with the war we fought in Vietnam.  Somehow, the war in Vietnam had become the defining event against which would be judged all of our future conflicts, wars and military interventions. At least by some in our country.

The same dubious outcome, supposedly guaranteed largely by flawed policy and micro—managed execution by incompetent politicians, lent a smug 'told you so' sense of importance and overblown wisdom in these matters to these critics. 

When I heard their comparisons, I thought that they had based their commentary upon the military and political components of the war.  I disagreed with them then.  Sadly, their comparisons may have the appearance of having relevance...but for very different reasons than previously presented.

America must pose a startling paradox to our enemies.  Here we are a nation of laws, a  representative republic governed by elected civilians who decide the direction, reasons, timing and rules under which brave men and women are sent into harm's way.  Our enemies have met the warriors we send to engage them and know first hand that they are tough, resourceful, compassionate, brave and persistent.  They know that our people, our weapons and our war fighting spirit and skills will defeat them time and time again.  Yet, they find hope for their causes.

We as Americans know this to be true as well.  Time and time again, we see the television clips of interviews and activities dealing with the men and women in the Armed Forces and their commitment to their friends, units and the mission they were sent to accomplish.  We are in awe of them.  Even the most jaded politicians are quick to distance themselves from any public hint that they don't support our troops.  They know that this is the political kiss of death.  No, they are too cowardly for that.  Cleverly, they busy themselves in more subtle activities that are not aimed at our military directly, but nevertheless damn them by association.  Their tactics involve such things as redefining our world image, our honor and our sense of fairness in a world apparently devoid of such concepts, if you believe what they tell us.

They demand public reviews in excruciating detail of pictures accounts and videos showing our abuse of captured prisoners.  They lock arms with so called human rights' groups, who, with shrill voices and outraged visages, appear on public television decrying our treatment of detainees.  They coin the term 'insurgent' instead of thug, murderer or even the most generic term, terrorist, as the main descriptor of those whose gun belts are notched with the slaughter of defenseless and innocent civilians day after day after day in Iraq.  They are quick to make public our casualty rates when they reach some prearranged level that will call attention to the cost of our involvement over there.  They will turn a deaf ear to the repeated pleadings coming from returning Veterans that the full story is not being told about what is going on over there.  The good things our folks do are not in their best interest to publicize.  They even call for a hard date by which we will withdraw from Iraq.   Think about that one for a minute.

Yes, it must be puzzling to our enemies as to how the bravery of the warriors they face in combat can be offset by the cowardly and self—serving behavior those far from harm's way publicly display at every opportunity.  Who is the real American?

So you see there is a comparison to be made between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam.  The same crowd who broke our national will in Vietnam and turned the selfless acts of so many into alleged 'war crimes' for their own ends is at it again.

 Have we learned our lesson about the destructive influence of this group?  Do any of us think that they might be on to something here?  Are there those among us who have forgotten the horrific events on September 11?   Have we become so disassociated with reality that we can reasonably equate handling a Koran with bare hands with flying a passenger plane into the South Tower?

Some of these folks are going to ask for your vote soon. 'Trust me, send me back for another term and I'll clean up that mess in Washington,' they will promise.  Recognize it for what it is.

Tough talk from gutless wonders.

Dave St. John is a Captain in the USMCR.  He served in Chu Lai, RVN
1966—'67

Months ago, as the war in Iraq spooled up and we poured men and equipment into the breach, those on the left compared this conflict with the war we fought in Vietnam.  Somehow, the war in Vietnam had become the defining event against which would be judged all of our future conflicts, wars and military interventions. At least by some in our country.

The same dubious outcome, supposedly guaranteed largely by flawed policy and micro—managed execution by incompetent politicians, lent a smug 'told you so' sense of importance and overblown wisdom in these matters to these critics. 

When I heard their comparisons, I thought that they had based their commentary upon the military and political components of the war.  I disagreed with them then.  Sadly, their comparisons may have the appearance of having relevance...but for very different reasons than previously presented.

America must pose a startling paradox to our enemies.  Here we are a nation of laws, a  representative republic governed by elected civilians who decide the direction, reasons, timing and rules under which brave men and women are sent into harm's way.  Our enemies have met the warriors we send to engage them and know first hand that they are tough, resourceful, compassionate, brave and persistent.  They know that our people, our weapons and our war fighting spirit and skills will defeat them time and time again.  Yet, they find hope for their causes.

We as Americans know this to be true as well.  Time and time again, we see the television clips of interviews and activities dealing with the men and women in the Armed Forces and their commitment to their friends, units and the mission they were sent to accomplish.  We are in awe of them.  Even the most jaded politicians are quick to distance themselves from any public hint that they don't support our troops.  They know that this is the political kiss of death.  No, they are too cowardly for that.  Cleverly, they busy themselves in more subtle activities that are not aimed at our military directly, but nevertheless damn them by association.  Their tactics involve such things as redefining our world image, our honor and our sense of fairness in a world apparently devoid of such concepts, if you believe what they tell us.

They demand public reviews in excruciating detail of pictures accounts and videos showing our abuse of captured prisoners.  They lock arms with so called human rights' groups, who, with shrill voices and outraged visages, appear on public television decrying our treatment of detainees.  They coin the term 'insurgent' instead of thug, murderer or even the most generic term, terrorist, as the main descriptor of those whose gun belts are notched with the slaughter of defenseless and innocent civilians day after day after day in Iraq.  They are quick to make public our casualty rates when they reach some prearranged level that will call attention to the cost of our involvement over there.  They will turn a deaf ear to the repeated pleadings coming from returning Veterans that the full story is not being told about what is going on over there.  The good things our folks do are not in their best interest to publicize.  They even call for a hard date by which we will withdraw from Iraq.   Think about that one for a minute.

Yes, it must be puzzling to our enemies as to how the bravery of the warriors they face in combat can be offset by the cowardly and self—serving behavior those far from harm's way publicly display at every opportunity.  Who is the real American?

So you see there is a comparison to be made between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam.  The same crowd who broke our national will in Vietnam and turned the selfless acts of so many into alleged 'war crimes' for their own ends is at it again.

 Have we learned our lesson about the destructive influence of this group?  Do any of us think that they might be on to something here?  Are there those among us who have forgotten the horrific events on September 11?   Have we become so disassociated with reality that we can reasonably equate handling a Koran with bare hands with flying a passenger plane into the South Tower?

Some of these folks are going to ask for your vote soon. 'Trust me, send me back for another term and I'll clean up that mess in Washington,' they will promise.  Recognize it for what it is.

Tough talk from gutless wonders.

Dave St. John is a Captain in the USMCR.  He served in Chu Lai, RVN
1966—'67