Letters to the Editor

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WAR: Double standard exists for our fallen

Letter by J. Michael Rose, Tacoma on March 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm with 24 Comments »
March 2, 2012 1:04 pm

I am a Vietnam combat veteran (1971). I made it out without physical wounds, but many of my brothers who I stood shoulder to shoulder with did not come home. Some came home in pieces, some came home in body bags, others came home but still even today have not come out of that god-forsaken jungle.

My son is a battalion commander currently serving in Korea after serving time in Iraq. The sacrifices he and his comrades have made are much more appreciated today than ours were all those years ago.

My thoughts, as are many of your readers’, are of State Trooper Tony Radulescu and his family, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our community. The appreciation for his service was on clear display, and deservedly so. My heart aches over the loss his family is enduring, especially his son.

After reading the front-page tribute to Radulescu (TNT, 3-2), I eventually made it to page 11, where it was reported that two more U.S. soldiers sacrificed their lives for our country in the Afghan war. The article didn’t include their names; they probably weren’t from our community. But many from our community have stepped up to serve our country and have lost their lives, leaving behind family and friends to deal with the profound sadness and loss.

But where were the public processions, gridlock, testimonials and choreographed rituals? Were these losses of a lesser kind? I think not.

Leave a comment Comments → 24
  1. old_benjamin says:

    What were of a lesser kind were those excremental vermin who cursed, spat upon, and otherwise disrespected their betters, those who responded to their government’s call to defeat Communism in Viet Nam. We who served won the war. Those who stayed home and protested lost it.

  2. sandblower says:

    The author is wrong and so is ben. No surprises there.
    A mind is a terrible thing to lose.
    If you guys cannot figure out the difference between a police officer and his place in the world as compared to a combat soldier and his place in the world, I can understand how little you really know.

  3. I too am a Nam Vet – We faught the war, our leaders who lost it.

    I was never spat on or otherwise disrepected. In fact the only place I ever saw such behavior was on the evening news.

  4. old_benjamin says:

    mouthblower, you can’t figure out the similarities. How little you know.

  5. sandblower says:

    hey ben, ever hear of sticks and stones etc?

  6. We who served won the war. Those who stayed home and protested lost it.

    That kind of rhetoric is uncomfortably close to the rhetoric of the Freikorps during the Weimar Republic.

    The reality of civil wars and other conflicts that the US has been involved in since WWII is that winning the battles isn’t the same as winning the war. Just having superior military that prevails isn’t enough – especially in these kind of conflicts. This is nothing new, this is why the Colonial powers have had a history of not prevailing in spite of their vastly superior resources. War is a political act – to pretend that the civilian politicians have nothing to do with it is just willful ignorance.

  7. old_ben, It was a different time and a different situation. Let it go. And, thank you for your service to our country. You too Xring. Thank you! I also served during the Vietnam Era. It’s history now. Let it go.

  8. old_benjamin says:

    Thanks, bB, for a masterful statement of the obvious.

    No, muck, I won’t let it go, anymore than I’ll let 9/11 go. I’ll always do whatever I can to keep the memory of those who served thanklessly in Viet Nam in the public consciousness, for the sake of those who now serve if nothing else.

  9. I’ll always do whatever I can to keep the memory of those who served thanklessly in Viet Nam in the public consciousness, for the sake of those who now serve if nothing else.</I.

    Your statement of intent varies widely from the statement you wrote which reads of bitterness who held different political beliefs from you, not as a celebration of those who served.

  10. italics are hopefully off.

  11. There’s a website which gives the military service of all the members of the current congress. Take a look at it. Check out the military service of those currently running for president. It is interesting how many of them are willing to commit others to die, when they have never experienced military service let alone combat.

    Check out the statistic at the Viet Nam War Memorial. Check out the percentage of KIA’s who were draftees. Then consider many of the enlistees joined because they were going to be drafted anyway. Take a look at the pay scale of the Viet Nam era soldiers. An E-3 combat infantryman was paid $212 per month, including combat and overseas pay.

    Also consider less than 1% of the current population endures the consequences of serving in the military. God forbid if it suggested the current 99% of non serving citizens are asked to pay for the current military. Nothing has really changed since the Viet Nam War.

  12. harleyrider1 says:

    Marines 1969. Law Enforcement 1974

    They are different heroes; they are different protectors. Both keep us safe and both protect our way of life.

    If America finally has had enough of these “presidential conflicts” and demanded that none of our soldiers see combat unless America declares War, we would be all in. the Constitution was written specifically making that point: one man and one man’s opinion could not result in the death of many. Only Congress can declare War.

    Demand irregardless of who is President that America does not go into any combat without such declaration. Right now we are also fighting in four (4) countries in Africa of all places. We don’t hear about it; Americans never voted to do this.

    As for the Washington State Trooper, thank-you for your service and rest assured we will monitor the sentencing of the one that took your life. It should not have happened.

  13. alindasue says:

    Like the letter writer, I am grateful to the service that police officers serve to our community and feel that an officer killed in service deserves a funeral with full hero’s honors.

    That said, when a police officer’s funeral extends into a parade several cities long (60+ miles) and disrupts traffic to an extent that makes visits to the area by sitting presidents of the United States pale by comparison, then things have gone way too far.

    Police work is inherently extremely dangerous, as is joining the military, working as a firefighter, or – as one of my daughters pointed out – being a line-man trying to restore power during a bad storm. All of them chose their line of work knowing it was dangerous.

    Yes, give a police officer killed in the line of duty a hero’s funeral. He deserves it. However, please keep it to a level that we’d also accord to our fallen fire fighters or soldiers.

  14. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    I passed the procession while heading West on 16 – it was solid law enforcement vehicles from the bridge to Sedgwick Rd. Very impressive and poignant. But it is also difficult to not sympathize with those who feel the optics might have been a bit much.

    It’s a tough one.

  15. I came across this article this morning. Documents sealed by LBJ have revealed that Richard Nixon sabotaged the 1968 Paris Peace process – thus helping his election and extending the US commitment to the conflict (costing about 20,000 American lives).


  16. xring writes, “I too am a Nam Vet – We faught the war, our leaders who lost it. I was never spat on or otherwise disrepected. In fact the only place I ever saw such behavior was on the evening news.”

    Slight correction. Simple but forgotten fact is The Nixon Administration did exactly what it said it would do. Gradually turned the whole mess over to the South Vietnamese, brought our involvement to a close and had our POWs returned…honorably.

    The Democratic Congress reneged on the promise to continue materiel support to South Vietnam, and they were finally over run by the Communists just over two years later. That war was “lost” all those months AFTER our departure. The public has been fed garbage by leftist liberals regarding that all these years to where now it is widely believed we “lost”. (I don’t say that as a political finger pointing, rather simply stating facts.)

    Closer to home, I too am a Vietnam Era Veteran and damned proud of it. (1972-1978) I fought my “war” right here in the States. I know what it was to be an outcast and experience the hateful looks, the finger flips, and snide comments by my own fellow citizens. (to this day I cannot refer to them as my peers because they never were that good!)

    I still remember the wet paper bag of garbage that was thrown at me from a passing car while walking down a sidewalk right here in Tacoma while in uniform. The idiots missed, but galvanized my opinion of local liberals. It has taken me decades to quell the hatred I carried, but its not all gone. Those of us who served developed a very definite “us versus them” mentality, and I doubt it will ever go away.

    I am happy for you, xring, that you were able to avoid it.

  17. …as far as todays “support” for our troops. I think its nothing more than phony horsepucky. A way for the public to make up for the crappy way they treated those of my time, and feel good about themselves.

    What have most of them done for the GIs besides sticking yellow ribbon magnets on their bumper? They do stay on better than the stick on flags you people tried a decade ago, that blew off into the mud dont they?(never did see anyone pick those little flags up. I did when I found one.)

    I’ll never forget the genuine gratitude (although I was a bit embarrassed by the thanks) the day I picked up the tab for eight paratroopers of the 101st Airborne at a truck stop near Ft Campbell, Kentucky a number of years ago. Support goes beyond stick on magnets.

  18. DCR – there is also evidence that the Joint Chiefs told LBJ there were two ways to win in Viet Nam. One was by putting 500,000 troops on the ground in the first year. The other was to nuke them. LBJ, like Bush II, overruled them for political considerations.

    Closest I ever came to having my uniform and Nam service disrespected was by a fresh-out-of-basic-at-Fort Lewis Army private while waiting for a late night flight at Sea-Tac in ’68. My response was to use my hunting bow to drive a broad headed arrow thru his six-pack of Coors.
    Got a lot of coyotes at Pendleton with that bow.

  19. More disturbing conclusions that Nixon intentionally screwed with the Paris Peace Talks in 1968 to aid his election efforts and for financial gain:

  20. Save it Beerboy. A batch of suggestions and hearsay from some liberal rag might convince you. Haa!

    Lets ignore of course that in 1968, the idea of Nixon having anything to do with Peace Talks, is about as ludicrous as saying Mitt Romney is working the Afghanistan mess. In 1968, Nixon was a CANDIDATE. The guy didnt take office until 1969.

    I suppose we could accept the idea that Nixon’s Wall Street friends were setting themselves up to make a buck on the thought that LBJs peace talks would fail. But then, making a buck on war is what people have done for centuries.

    Fact is Nixon did exactly what he said he would do. Honorably ended a mess that was escalated (on shaky excuses by the way) by Lyndon Johnson. And lets not forget that honorable withdrawal was destroyed by a Democratic Congress who reneged on the agreement to continue materiel support of South Vietnam.

    Simple fact is Beerboy, that Nixon upheld his campaign promise, by honorably ending the mess begun by LBJ, before the Democrats in Congress fell down on promises made. No matter how you try to spin it with liberal twists and turns, those are the simple realities.

    Just for fun, lets also toss in the fact that Nixon enjoyed such success and popularity (except of course by those flea bitten, liberal hippie freaks) that four years after his initial election he won one of the greatest Republican landslide victories in American politics.

    Frankly in my opinion, the world would have been a better place if he had won the election he VERY NARROWLY missed in 1960. Of course going into the underhanded shenanigans pulled of by poor sweet innocent choirboy John Fi on THAT campaign would be another lengthy story entirely.

  21. …tzgerald Kennedy (dang thing sent before I could edit)

  22. By the way “xring”. In stitches of the visuals on that bow and arrow story! Good job!! ;)

  23. As long as I am on a roll, let also remember, maybe for the benefit of younger readers who probably never heard this from their liberal parents.

    That “60s peace movement” did NOT bring an end to the Vietnam War! They had no more power than today’s occupy idiots trying to change American economics!

    The “massive grassroots” did not exist, and did not include most Americans. It was a relatively small, but very loud minority that was supported, as is usually the case, by a liberal media to the point that today people might think their cause was that of every American.

    Frankly it was a unruly idealistic gaggle, nearly entirely made up of kids under 25. And most of them were clueless on anything other than hating the “establishment” was the cool thing to do.

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