Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Attempt to Understand the Pressure Our Military Faces on a Daily Basis

We hear a lot about Military personnel under great mental stress, many committing suicide being unable to cope. Many are homeless, drifting without purpose. This isn’t a new condition but seems, in my opinion, to be getting worse. I am going to put forward my thoughts without the benefit of first hand knowledge. I am relying on literature I have read over the years in book, magazine or other means. The downward spiral, I contend, started in Korea. General Mac Arthur had completed the goal of defeating the North Koreans and should have been able to start the re-unification of both Koreas into one nation. When the Chinese poured over the border by the hundreds of thousands our soldiers were caught unawares and were severely beaten and forced to fall back. At the time we possessed over whelming superiority in air power. The General was not allowed to use it to punish the Chinese above the Yalu River. He could have cut off their supplies, destroyed their airfields and after recovery started pushing back. He was not interested in invading China. The airfields had Russian personnel. President Truman was fearful of Russia so our pilots had to fight off MIG fighter planes which shouldn’t even have existed. As a result some of our pilots were killed. On the ground the Chinese couldn’t be stopped until they had entered far enough South for our planes to sever their supply lines. Further, the useless loss of life continued into the Presidency of Eisenhower. Do you remember Pork Chop Hill? It was taken and abandoned and retaken a number of times while the negotiations dragged on. Our boys were dying for no purpose. Wouldn’t you be demoralized if that was your lot? This was followed by Vietnam, a war which in my opinion never should have been entered into by America. Our boys faced an impossible situation, never knowing for sure who was with us and who was against us. This war was worse than Korea. Lyndon Johnson would start his day in the war room picking out places to bomb and then go about his daily routine. From this time forward including today, the military officers on the ground have not been allowed to fight a war to win. They have been kept under tight control. Soldiers sent to take ground and then give it back. War has become a game. Allowing our men to fight and die without purpose, don’t you realize how demoralizing that would be? If Russians were known to be in a place on the bombing list, that place was left alone until they were gone. The SAM missiles were known to be unloading from Russian Cargo ships. We were not allowed to bomb the ships. Once they were set up many of our brave pilots were shot down, either dying or being made prisoners. The Middle East is another situation all together. I contend we never should have initiated war against Afghanistan, IRAQ, Syria nor Libya. Just look at the chaos we unleased by our actions. We could have bombed terrorist camps and punished the perpetrators of 9/11. We have spent two trillion dollars and thousands of deaths of our soldiers and the people of those countries. President Bush thought he could convince them to become Democracies without understanding the tribal nature of the Arab people and the religious beliefs that have pitted one sector the other to fight and kill those of different beliefs for thousands of years. The interesting thing I have learned is that Christians and Jews had been inhabitants of those countries living alongside Muslims. That is no longer true. They have all left or have been killed, as a direct result of our attacking those countries. In all of these actions our troops have been handicapped in fighting by the concern for civilian deaths. I have read that at the current time as many as 70% of our airplanes return to their bases without dropping bombs for that reason. Do you think that the Russians under Putin return without dropping their bombs, I don’t think so, do you? Similarly soldiers can be court martialed if they kill civilians, which causes them to hesitate before firing putting their lives at risk. Don’t you think, if you returned from fighting like this that your mind might be a little screwed up? I contend it does. In WWII this was not the case. We fought to win. The Generals on the front line were not directed by Washington except to win. Cities were bombed without mercy. Many thousands of civilians died. They lived in cities where war making factories existed. Had we not defeated Germany and Japan as quickly as we did, there was the possibility of the AXIS powers developing the Atomic Bomb before we did. They did have jet fighters shooting down our bombers. With more time they might have stopped our bombing altogether. A great man once said,” War is Hell”. Mac Arthur on the deck of the Missouri battleship said “Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always”. How wrong he was. He never considered a government that would drain its resources on a continuing basis and send troops into harm’s way without allowing them to fight to a quick completion. As I listen to the contenders for President, I have yet to hear anyone state the simple truth as I have above in this letter. Regardless of who wins, the carnage will continue, as to do otherwise you are considered weak on defense. Anyone so accused has no opportunity to be President. So our boys and now girls will continue to be used as pawns fighting and dying without any chance of ending a conflict honorably. Jack B. Walters November 13, 2015

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