Government policies are the real issue
A recent writer urged public support for our troops overseas in the Persian Gulf to assure that our country would not be torn asunder as it was during and after the Vietnam conflict.
My recollections of the Vietnam era are somewhat different. Responsibility for the lack of support for our returning Vietnam veterans lies not on the shoulders of those who voiced opposition to U.S. policies, but at the feet of the government which created and carried out those policies.
Inadequate funding of veterans' benefit programs and abject denial of responsibility for the outright poisoning of our own troops through the use of Agent Orange were government policies of administrations which alternately bumbled and lied their way through ten years of armed conflict.
The civil unrest of that period was spawned by a public outcry against government by deception. Although considered by some to be disruptive, public protest against governmental wrongs, whether the wrongs are perceived or real, can be effective in bringing public attention to a potentially bad situation.
As U.S. military posture in the Persian Gulf turns from defending the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to liberating the Kingdom of Kuwait through the use of force, the issue is not public support of U.S. forces overseas. I hope that they all return safely before a single shot is fired.
At issue, however, is public support of U.S. policies:
Whether control of world oil prices is somehow an inalienable American right.
Whether supporting totalitarian regimes is really in our best national interests.
Whether our president has backed himself into a diplomatic corner that is inescapable without armed conflict.
Can anyone suppose that political analysts of all persuasions have not already ciphered the impact of daily arrival of body bags during the upcoming presidential campaign?
DONALD VINCENT JR.
No one was forced to join the military
It seems these days our television screens and newspapers are being filled with stories of pity for our service members overseas taking part in Operation Desert Shield.
As a former member of the United States Navy, I find it hard to feel one ounce of human compassion for our men and women serving our country in the Persian Gulf. What most Americans seem to have forgotten is that they are doing what they have been trained for all these years. How come our firemen and policemen don't get recognized as much when they put their life on the line every day? No one forced these people to join the military, unlike Vietnam. Once in the service, you are always faced with the possibility of war.
I think most of these men and women just wanted a free ride from the government, especially our reservists. Now that it's time to put out for what they're being paid for, almost everyone is crying, "Why me?"
I just think it's about time they started using their training and earning their pay because I'm not giving out any pity.
Force may be needed to subdue Saddam
Throughout history, aggressors such as Saddam Hussein have never been coerced into peace by mere rhetoric. Force or the threat of force has always been necessary.
It will certainly be regrettable if any blood is shed defending the Kuwaitis' rights and the rights of all nations to live in peace without fear of invasion, but this is a principle which we must defend and have always defended.
GAROLD L. STONE JR.