View Full Version : More Voices on the War

11-26-05, 06:51 AM
More Voices on the War
Written by Thomas Segel
Saturday, November 26, 2005

The military community is made up of active duty personnel, veterans, retired military and their families. While it is a constitutional truth that every American has the right of free speech, there is no segment of our population that is more deserving of that right than the men, women and family members who sacrificed themselves through separation, immense hardship, pain, blood and loss of lives on our behalf. These are some of their words about the War on Terror and the conduct of those at home.

Lieutenant General E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr. commanded the Strategic Air Command’s Eighth Air Force for three years and two months. He participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama, plus Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. His 32-year military career included 23 years in SAC. The general is now retired and lives in Lake Martin, Alabama.

Taking a quote from the old comic strip Pogo, General Shuler says, “We have seen the enemy and it is us!” Regarding the anti-War crowd here at home, he continues, “These people might as well be card-carrying jihadists. The net results of their actions are just as effective as if they were personally serving on Bin Laden’s staff or on the street actively conducting terrorist operations. Do I question their patriotism and motives? – absolutely! They cannot have it both ways. If we don’t turn this situation around now, we lose again, Lord help us!”

Another voice on the war is that of retired Air Force Major General Vernon Chong. The surgeon, who commanded Wilfred Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, has written a strong article titled “The War is Real.” Dozens of veterans have quoted excerpts from that commentary in their messages to me. Says General Chong, “To get out of difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine.”

He later points out that the threat against America did not start on September 11, 2001, but 22 years earlier. There were the Iran hostages in 1979, the Lebanon embassy bombing in 1983, the deadly attack on the Lebanon Marine barracks in 1983, the Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight in 1988, the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, the Khobar Towers attack in 1996, the attack on the Kenya embassy in 1998, the attack on the USS Cole in 2001 and the attacks we all call 9/11 which destroyed the World Trade Center towers and smashed the Pentagon. Chong further notes there have been 7,581 attacks worldwide between 1981 and 2001…all made by Muslim terrorists.

Major Michael S. Oshiki is an active duty Army officer stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. He served in Desert Storm as a calvary officer, but is now a physician preparing to deploy for his fourth tour in the war zone. He writes, “Some politicians seem to be serving their higher political goals at the cost of our troops and the mission in the War on Terror. I believe that many politicians who oppose the President and his party on political issues are using the war in Iraq as a means to defeat their political opponents. I see this as a calculated move on their part feeling that losing the war is worth winning on the political front.” He also notes “their right to express themselves doesn’t lessen the benefit that our enemies derive from the perception that America will falter in the face of internal dissent.”

Retired Navy Commander Jordan Bolton of Harlingen, Texas, sees deadly consequences for such political calculations: “Almost without exception the prime requisite of a politician is the ability to straddle fences successfully. Absent their guts to fight the war there – we will have no choice except to fight it here – and it shall be much bloodier and costlier to fight it here, with a higher probability of losing. True fanatics that are eager to give their worldly life in exchange for an express trip to paradise can wreak a tremendous amount of damage on that trip. 9-11 awakened our nation to things that could and do happen. Unfortunately, so many in our congress refuse to look at the probable future and instead just enjoy their perks of the moment.”

Former Staff Sergeant Richard E. Nygaard of Winchester, Oregon served in the Marine Corps from 1953 until 1963. He doesn’t mince words when addressing the actions taking place in Washington D.C.: “The self-serving statements made by former Presidents and left-leaning Democrats in Congress, and, yes, even a decorated Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War who is now a member of Congress, are, as far as I am concerned over the top. Their comments, in any other time and era would have been considered treasonous. I do not consider them less treasonous because the Washington elite consider themselves more enlightened than those who fought in WWII or [Korea]. Their comments hurt the troops and our country by creating the illusion Congress does not support the President in the War on Terror.”

Writing from Kerrville, Texas, retired Air Force Technical Sergeant Dan Decker says, “I support the troops by demanding our victory in the War on Terror. Pulling out before the job is finished would be the first and only parallel between the Vietnam War and the WOT. We can’t do it again and expect to ever be respected again on the world stage. As a Vietnam veteran I think several members of the House and Senate, notably Democratic Party members, should be arrested for treason. A traitor is a traitor, regardless of socio-politico economic status.”

Jay Adams who resides in the wine country of California, is a 20-year veteran of both the Air Force and Marine Corps, retiring as a Master Sergeant. His words reflect the feelings of several hundred former service men and women who wrote emails on the anti-war conduct of congressional members and most of the mainstream media.

“My anger on this subject increases by the day. You would think that everyone in congress would understand that statements calling for immediate withdrawal and about the conduct of the war does nothing more than give our enemy the resolve to continue on. There have been many statements over the years from North Vietnamese leaders saying they knew that if they could hold on long enough we would give up. They knew the unrest in the US public and political leaders would let them win in the end. I guess the naysayers have forgotten that old idiom ‘those who fail to learn from history will see it repeated.’

Adams also wrote of speaking with a number of active duty soldiers and Marines who have just returned from Iraq. “Almost to the man they said overall that things were going much better than the media portrays in the news. Their morale is good, but they felt they were always being let down by the press and politicians back in the United States.”

And so the voices continue to call out on issues related to the war. In the military/veteran community they are getting louder by the day. Not all agree on the Administration position, but even the detractors show complete distain for the mainstream media bias and the double-speak of Congress.

Sergeant First Class Gerald P. Giggins retired from the Army and makes his home in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. He laments the disconnect between those who serve the country in the military and those who serve the country in public office: “It is too bad members of Congress who have never served their country other than being politicians, do not live by the Duty-Honor-Country credo. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens have given their lives while living up to that creed. Fighting for one’s country is a duty [and an] honor. It’s too bad Congress can’t govern following these same principles.”


About the Writer: Thomas Segel is a former Marine, war correspondent, and faculty member of the Marine Corps Academy. He has written four books, has served as information director for a Texas state agency, and resides with his wife in Harlingen, Texas. Thomas receives e-mail at Tomsegel@joimail.com.