Now the veterans of the Iraq war, and soon the veterans of the war in Afghanistan, will share in common with the veterans of Vietnam War the bitter irony that we won every battle but ultimately lost the war — because we were defeated at home by self-serving, dishonorable politicians. The only consolation now is that far fewer of this generation will have died in vain.
In 1955, Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur warned against the political mentality “that no longer when we send our sons and daughters to the battlefield should we see them through all the way to victory; that we can call upon them to fight and even die in some half-hearted and indecisive effort; that we can plunge them recklessly into war and then suddenly decide that it is a wrong war, or in a wrong place, or at a wrong time, or even that we can call it not a war at all but by some euphonious or gentler name; that we can treat them as expendables although they are our own flesh and blood … .”
To serve in the military is to be there and be willing, and to unconditionally trust that our leaders are acting in good faith with us. While we could not conceive of defeat, we did not envision being betrayed. True faith and allegiance is not a common virtue among politicians.
SENIOR CHIEF PETTY OFFICER VERNON GRAY
U.S. Navy (Retired)
Great Mills, Md.