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Letter to the editor: On war, then and now

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 12:01 am

The older I get the more difficulty I have trying to justify war. It was pushed upon America, and we Americans resisted every effort to pull us into war until the aggressive and dastardly attack upon Pearl Harbor.

Then there was a national draft, rationing of food and gas, and the total support and sacrifice of the American people. We won World War II and proceeded with the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, and Gen. MacArthur provided the leadership to rebuild a new Japan. In my heart of hearts, that was the last justifiable war we Americans fought, where we Americans can honestly say not only was evil stopped and freedom restored, but much good came to our world from the great sacrifice.

I have always believed in God and his perfect justice. Until now, I’ve always been full of hope that at the right time, our prisoners of war would be returned to us. I have always hoped their return would shock America back to reality. I thought we might return to a state of moral awareness of right and wrong instead of “How much does it cost?”

From what I have read and witnessed in the U.S. Senate report of May 23, 1991, entitled “An Examination of U.S. Policy Towards POWs, MIAs, During World War II, the Korean War, and Second Indochina War (Vietnam),” it appears that any soldier left in World War II, Korea and Vietnam even inadvertently was in fact abandoned years ago and that the farce that is being played with the “Entire Pentagon Papers Report,” which came out June 20, 2011, is no more than a political deceit done with “smoke and mirrors” to stall the issue to make sure it dies a natural death.

From World War II to present, 612,875 Americans, mostly young, have lost their lives in the service of the nation. An additional 928,900 returned home suffering from wounds they received on the battlefield. Also, most Americans would find it incomprehensible that Russia would hold 20,000 POWs from World War II and the Chinese would hold 8,000 POWs from the Korean War and more than 2,000 in Vietnam. (Congressional Research Service. The Library of Congress)

There has not been sacrifice or total support by the American people of any of the wars since World War II, and now maybe Syria. In sad truth, we have been greatly divided.

How can our politicians expect to fight a war without the full support of the American people? Our brave and courageous military carry out their duties with great distinction, considering the state of the purpose and end games under which they serve, and which seem to change seasonally. Any honest appraisal of how this is affecting America’s soul and how unfairly the sacrifice is being borne by such a small group of our fellow Americans has not received the civil and thoughtful public debate it deserves. Please, this is not a Republican or Democrat issue; both have led us into these ill-advised wars, and both are willing to let our grandchildren fight and pay for them.

Paul F. Double

Ossian