2009-12-18 / Letters

Remember The Veterans

Dear Editor,

As this Veteran's Day comes and goes we are reminded of the bravery of those who sacrificed to enable the non-military among us to live a de - cent lifestyle or just to live. Anyone who contrasts our present wars to those of the past must see the obvious differences. Most apparent among them is the enemy wears no uniform and is as portable and mobile as we are not. Reasons for our past wars were justifiable exempting Vietnam then and present engagements now. We are fighting in Iraq and Afghan - istan against an enemy we define with a catch-all phrase fully aware we can never obliterate him. The only way we can win is if we are serious about nation building.

If nation building is truly our goal, the face of our military must change. Sociologists, psychologists, teachers, contractors, laborers added to a re - duced presence of fighting men and women must constitute much of our new army. Unfortunately we run the risk that each time we construct a town or hamlet in a war torn area it may be destroyed by local dissidents, however we must run that risk to prove that our intentions are honorable. What Iraqi thinks our intentions weren't wrapped up in oil? Have we proved them wrong through nation building? Not yet.

My guess is the military hierarchy, currently pressing for additional troops, will always ask for more troops in order to complete their mission. However, we are still unsure as to the definition of the mission. How can we possibly send additional troops to Afghanistan when our mission is undefined and our exit strategy unclear? How do we know when we have won? Who will sit down and sign a peace accord? Whom do we trust? If we find Bin Laden and try him for war crimes or kill him that is no guarantee to end the war. It certainly didn't end the Iraqi War with the death of Saddam Hussein.

The argument that we will fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here is full of holes. Any sage American has to know we have been lucky we have not experienced another 9/11. It doesn't take a gaggle of terrorists or sophisticated wea ponry to harm our nation and alarm our people.

Bring the bulk of our military men and women home. Deploy them on the northern and southern borders of our country, in our ports and air ports and strategic areas within the United States with orders to observe, inspect, detain, confiscate, arrest or whatever is necessary to keep us safe. Main tain a presence of nation builders in Af - ghanistan and Iraq likening them to a Peace Corps. Allow them to do their work building an infra-structure, constructing schools, dwellings, houses of worship, stores and athletic facilities without publicity and fanfare or pinpointing locations. When our allies get wind of our new mission, we might get those countries that cut and run to join us in our humanitarian effort to literally build nations. What stronger message is there for promoting peace and re pairing our image around the world? We win the people, we win the war.

JOAN METTLER

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