More soldiers, dying for nothing

I don’t hear the same music that you do. The military documented that I left my high frequency hearing in Vietnam. Probably in the Central Highlands. Aggravating, but not that big a price to pay for our criminal invasion of a country that was still plowing with water buffalo.

No comparison to the price paid by the 58,000 Americans memorialized on that long black wall in D.C. or the 3 million or so dead Vietnamese who couldn’t escape our massive firepower.

The memories flooded back when I started to read about the tenth anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. Another criminal war with only a few voices of conscience speaking up for sanity. Our own Empower ladies in Ely braving the belligerence of a majority gone mad with war lust and ignorance.

Now, the majority have acknowledged in polls that the war was a mistake but there are not a great number of individuals who will publicly acknowledge the wisdom of the peacemakers. I believe those of us who went willingly to war have a special obligation to be honest witnesses. I grew up in a religious tradition that believed in confession and penance and it’s probably as healing for society as it is for our souls to admit that conscience and history demand that we acknowledge the sinfulness of America’s wars.

It’s not easy to admit error but it would be nice to hear a few voices saying Empower, you were right. How can we force our government to use diplomacy rather than firepower if we don’t admit the massive misuse of that firepower?

During a past political campaign I heard a politician say that he couldn’t tell a mother that her son died for nothing in Iraq. That attitude is what it makes it possible for our government to send more young soldiers into future wars to die needlessly.

It’s time for us to bear witness to the terrible truth. Whether it’s Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. We fought like tigers and died like flies for nothing. Nothing.

Bob Tammen

Soudan, Minn.

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Thank you, Mr. Tammen

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