On March 29, Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day was marked by a reverent flag raising at the VA Medical Center in Boise, followed by a wreath laying at Veterans Memorial Park. Idaho Governor Brad Little said correctly, “America’s Vietnam veterans faced unique and extraordinary challenges, and it’s important for us to openly show our support and thank them for their service and sacrifice.” We owe a debt of gratitude to our Vietnam veterans, and we owe the same to our veterans of Afghanistan.
America has been blessed with generations of men and women who have been proud to don the uniform and serve in their country’s wars. Unfortunately, their dedication and sacrifice, as well as that of their families, has not always been matched by clarity of purpose from America’s political class. Politicians all too often confuse war fighting with nation building. The lives of our troops are too precious to squander simply to make political points. When war is necessary, as it sometimes is, it should be fought for one purpose only: victory. The goals must be clear and concise, and battlefield necessity rather than lawyers should shape the rules of engagement. Our forces must be fully equipped and supported before, during, and after deployment, especially in the case of battle casualties. Multiple tours of duty take a heavy toll on troops and their families, particularly with our much smaller all-volunteer force. Make no mistake, this is not an anti-war argument, it’s an argument against the careless use of people for vague purposes. If we fight a war it should be to win, not to commit sociology.