I didn’t watch the debate. Frankly, I’ve heard enough. This must be the 15th debate or something like that. The stuff is piling high. Even still, I do like watching the Morning Joe program and one sound bite of the debate I found very interesting. Here was John Huntsman standing at the podium expressing his opinion about one of our wars. I don’t know which one because I didn’t watch the debate nor did I hear the question. All I could hear was Mr. Huntsman saying that it’s one thing to listen to the Generals but it’s another to blindly follow their advice because we listened to the Generals in Vietnam and we all know where that got us.
I was shocked that he didn’t get more play for that one sound bite. Maybe our journalists were afraid to highlight the sound bite and talk about it. It’s unpopular to say you’re not for fighting wars. I suppose you’re not supporting our troops unless you believe that more war is a good thing. I’m on the opposite side of the fence. I believe we keep our troops safe by bringing them all home and fighting wars that are not nation building or fighting wars that aren’t for some nebulous cause such as bringing democracy to some part of the world that doesn’t know what democracy is.
My generation is the Vietnam war generation. I marched in protests as many others did. I realize it’s not popular anymore but we did believe that keeping our troops safe meant bringing them home from a war we had no business fighting (Vietnam). For the record, I was drafted and ready to go to Vietnam. The summer of my high school graduation was teh inauguration of the volunteer army and I was not called. By 1973 (I think) we were out of Vietnam.
I knew others that went and it wasn’t pretty. They are the forgotten soldiers and should be credited for fighting in such an unpopular war. Wars are not antiseptic. Soldiers are injured and hurt and it affects their families and friends. Some come back and are just fine.
One day I was watching an old Star Trek episode. Two planets were at war. To keep things nice and pretty there would be a lottery. If your number was chosen you were placed in a chamber and were killed. Captain Kirk put an end to the lottery and forced both planets to face their fears. Not surprising that the war that lasted centuries came to an end.
Are we any different? We send drones and volunteers to fight wars that can be managed in other ways. Why? Because Generals tell us we need to do this and our politicians don’t want to be blamed for being wrong. So we come full circle with John Huntsman. Does he have a point? Who runs these wars? Our Generals or our President and politicians that are supposed to speak for us. So far we have had two undeclared wars – Afghanistan and Libya. Are we losing control of our ability to declare war by listening to Generals and allowing our politicians to fight undeclared wars?