Sunday, April 3, 2016

Lessons From The Vietnam War

The VA has set aside March 29th as a day to “welcome home” vets of all wars, but especially the ‘Nam experience.  Good. We owe our vets a lot. (full disclosure: I am a Korean war vet, non-combat.) Of all our recent “wars” our Nam vets did not receive a proper welcome home---because many in America, properly, turned against the war as it dragged out over many years.  I agree, BUT the vets had nothing to do with US policy and should never have been blamed for it. They did a nasty job, patriotically, as their country asked them at the time to do.

But, have we learned this---and other lessons—from that war?

I doubt it..and IF I am right, 58000 died and 153,000 others suffered wounds, injuries, amputations, PTSD, etc..not in vain, but not wisely either.

To begin with, Congress, as the Constitution requires, never passed a declaration of war…and hasn’t since for most of our succeeding wars, tho there have been attempts at half-hearted legalities, NO war declaration has passed Congress since WW II.  That’s more than a shame, it’s a failure of our elected representatives to carry out their oaths…and in some cases has cost vets and their families dearly—as they were denied benefits only available if war was declared.

Suicides among active duty service members remain “disturbingly high” according to media reports and among vets even more so...something the VA must bring down.

Meanwhile, we need to remember them every day, not just on March 29th (tho at least the Central Kentucky Veterans Committee did observe that day at Camp Nelson, and more power to them.)

Meanwhile, the rest of us need to remember them, remember the lessons of 'Nam, insist that if we ever do go back to war Congress at least pass the required declaration, and look very skeptically on those candidates for high office who talk so glibly about more “boots on the ground” as a way of solving foreign affairs problems.

War is never the easy solution.

I'm just sayin'...

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