To those serving in the armed forces of the United States, as one who once stood in your place, I ask that you look at history before you cast your ballots in this presidential election.
Contrast how President Johnson reacted to the calls for reinforcements to handle the Tet Offensive with how President Obama reacted to calls for reinforcements in Afghanistan and prior to and during the Sept. 11 attack on our consulate in Libya. Gen. William C. Westmoreland requested reinforcements in early February 1968 in response to the Tet Offensive enemy attacks across Vietnam. Johnson gave the order for reinforcements only days later. The lead combat elements of a reinforced brigade of paratroopers (including my infantry battalion) landed in Vietnam in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 1968. U.S. Marine reinforcements arrived elsewhere. Johnson’s decisiveness saved the lives of many Marines and soldiers.
In June 2009, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander in Afghanistan, requested 40,000 troops to reinforce his beleaguered forces. It took Mr. Obama more than three months to decide what to do. When he finally agreed to send reinforcements, he sent them in increments, and 10,000 fewer than requested. While waiting for him to act, American soldiers and Marines were killed and wounded by a resurgent Taliban. On Sept. 11, the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi came under a well-planned attack executed by a well-armed and organized terrorist group, which killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
We now know that the highest levels of the Obama administration were aware of the assault within two hours of its beginning and did nothing. We also know that Mr. Obama’s State Department withdrew security forces from the embassy contingent in the weeks preceding the attack, despite intelligence reports stating that the situation was deteriorating. Stevens’ repeated requests for additional security, including the last one made mere hours before the attack, were denied.
I ask those of you now in the U.S. armed forces, when your military situation has gone to hell, whom do you want as your commander in chief — a decisive president or someone who worries more about the political ramifications of his decision than your life?
MAJ. JAMES M. DORN
U.S. Army, Special Forces (retired)
Chino Hills, Calif.