I am tremendously conflicted on Memorial Day.
Of course I honor the ultimate sacrifice made by our brave men and women in the service of our armed services. They and their families have paid the ultimate price–their lives. Of the many who return from combat maimed and wounded, I offer my deepest admiration for their bravery and the difficult path that lies ahead of them.
My own deceased father was a purple heart recipient of WWII. And here is where my ambivalence kicks in.
I feel dreadfully sorry to voice the opinion that many families may have lost their loved ones in vain. Likewise the maimed and injured have suffered tremendously because they followed their commanders into wars that made no sense.
World War II may have been the last "good" war. It was different. There was a maniacal tyrannt clearly bent on world domination and genocide. We were attacked by his Japanese allies at Pearl Harbor.
What about Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan? Is it unpatriotic to question our military leaders decisions? I believe that history has shown just the opposite.
Perhaps the answer to war is to have a universal mandatory military draft. Israel and other countries depend on it. If we re-instituded the draft I would doubt very much that either the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan would have lasted as long as they did. Where are those weapons of mass destruction anyway? And wouldn't targeted drone strikes have made more sense for retaliation after 9/11 ?
And perhaps we need to have open and public debate before we committ ground troops to harm's way. And perhaps we need to understand the culture and history of those countries in which we place our troops.
A patient of mine, a retired Army colonel, was present in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was brought to justice. He met with tribal leaders who thanked him for ridding the country of such an abominable human being then requested the Americans to leave. Such a simple act would have been better understood and appreciated than the attempt at nation building we began.
Place American feet on foreign soil and you set us up for ultimate failure. We had better be sure of the outcome before we do it again and again. What is the benefit? Does it outweigh the risk and suffering that results?
Once again I regret implying what I have already done by this posting. I can only hope that America does not do it again.