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Fight to win, not lose

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Last Memorial Day, my wife and I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor the memory of those whose sacrifice is etched on the wall. As I stood there in sorrow, I was overwhelmed by the conviction that every one of the 58,000 dead had died in vain. This was not because the United States lost the war but because it had not fought to win. Whether we could have won may be open to debate, but it is incontestable that the politicians, not the military, dictated the strategy that assured defeat.

We are seeing the same unnecessary sacrifice today in Afghanistan. We are fighting a war with one hand tied behind our backs. In the service of counterinsurgency, nation-building and political correctness, we have rules of engagement that favor the enemy at the cost of American lives. President Obama has shamefully dictated an arbitrary timetable of retreat that signals the enemy that we are not committed. Once again, our policy assures defeat.

War is tragic. However, if it is worth engaging in, it must be fought to win. As in Vietnam, whether we ever could win in Afghanistan is open to discussion, but our leaders have demonstrated that they will not even try. A war fought on those terms only assures that more Americans will die in vain.

GEORGE K. BERNSTEIN

Bethesda, Md.

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