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Another defeat for military commanders, politicians

Watching the retreat of our military forces from Afghanistan in recent days has reminded me, as it has many others, of a similar retreat out of Saigon and the hellhole that was Vietnam. Make no mistake about it, we retreated from Afghanistan and a sloppy retreat it was. We abruptly cut off air, ground and logistical support for the Afghan military we trained and they wilted like a daisy in the desert sun, changing into their tribal clothing and fading into the indigenous population where tribes have been at war since time began. We left behind fully operational bases, aircraft, drones, vast numbers of small arms and Allah only knows what all else. Terrorists now have even more of our own equipment to use against us and they will. But, worst of all, we left behind American citizens and Afghani nationals who had assisted us openly and covertly. The American military was undefeated until Korea. That war ended in a stalemate and we still spend trillions to maintain a demilitarized zone there to shore up the South Korean government. Vietnam was our first loss. We poured troops into the country. We bombed and napalmed it endlessly. We defoliated its jungles with Agent Orange but our commanders and political leaders never worked up the will to win. Soldiers fought valiantly to take hills in the middle of nowhere only to be ordered to leave, send home their dead and then be ordered to retake the same hill the next day. Casualty lists sent back home grew and grew. Over 58,000 American troops died there. Tens of thousands returned home maimed either physically, mentally or both. Americans lost their taste for the war and the military itself. That exact sentiment put the final nails in the coffins of military colleges around the country including Gordon right here at home. I remember watching on TV as bulldozers pushed Huey choppers off the decks of aircraft carriers into the ocean in order to take on rescued Vietnamese as we pulled out. The visual of those choppers flying into and out of the rooftop pad atop our embassy while Saigon was laid siege to were unforgettable. Despite the spin given the situation, we lost the Vietnam war. Now we have almost the exact same situation in Afghanistan – a military defeat and a hasty retreat all because commanders and politicians lacked the will to win. We should never have sent the first soldier to Vietnam. Nothing was achieved there militarily or geopolitically. The same is true for Afghanistan, we lost and nothing was gained from the deaths of over 6,000 soldiers and military contractors. Two wars lost. Those defeats, however, cannot be laid at the feet of American servicemen and women. They followed orders. They killed and got killed. They maimed and got maimed. All for nothing! The losses in Vietnam and Afghanistan fall squarely on those in Washington, DC. There is considerable blood on their hands. Remember that blood the next time they want to send ‘˜military advisors’ to some Godforsaken place and do your best to stop them. Walter Geiger is the editor and publisher of the Pike County Journal Reporter and The Herald Gazette in Barnesville. He can be reached at news@barnesville.com.

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