This time 'hearts and minds' are American

Dear editor,

It's another Veterans Day and our troops continue to fight in a war that seems impossible to understand, let alone win.

The warriors endure countless days of deep personal tragedy while ideals and illusions can disintegrate as rapidly and violently as the human being beside you.

Lessons learned from Vietnam? None.

Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson's icy-veined point man, remarked long after the war's end that he had been terribly wrong.

During the war he would never be so candid.

He realized early on that Vietnam was a lost cause but he kept crucial information close to his chest, like a gambler trying to bluff his way through a bad hand, as America continued to send thousands to their doom.

Now, since that exercise of attrition has passed and America figured its responsibility ended when they handed over a foldedup flag, Americans should realize that our fighting men and women need to know that the country is behind them, especially since they are paying the ultimate price.

But that may be asking a lot. This war seems to be mostly background noise, distant events overshadowed by celebrity deaths and the antics of politicians.

Our found ing fat hers had guidelines for this great country of ours.

John Quincy Adams said:

"America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She might become the dictatress of the world but she would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit."

Nonetheless, troops are whirled across thousands of miles into an alien, unknown land, then whirled back and dropped into the "real world" and expected to become normal citizens.

It's a traumatic experience made even worse if the soldiers find themselves landed back in a country which, to their view, is unthinking and incapable and unwilling to understand who they are, where they have been and what they have done.

Yes, there are people in this country that are just that way. How ironic it would be if their unwillingness to stand up for our troops became their final unpardonable sin.

This time the hearts and minds that are there to win or lose belong to Americans.

Gregory T. Dodd 3108 South Texas 36 Milano, TX 76556

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2009-11-12 digital edition

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