Sage advice….which will be ignored

Lieutenant General (US Army Retired) Hal Moore, who commanded a battalion at the Battle of the Ia Drang, the first major battle between the U.S. Army and North Vietnamese regulars in 1965, and was immortalized in the film We Were Soldiers and book We Were Soldiers Once…and Young told West Point Cadets in 2005:

“The war in Iraq, I said, is not worth the life of even one American soldier. As for Secretary Rumsfeld, I told them, I never thought I would live long enough to see someone chosen to preside over the Pentagon who made Vietnam-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara look good by comparison. The cadets sat in stunned silence; their professors were astonished. Some of these cadets would be leading young soldiers in combat in a matter of a few months. They deserved a straight answer.

The expensive lessons learned in Vietnam have been forgotten and a new generation of young American soldiers and Marines are paying the price today, following the orders of civilian political leaders as they are sworn to do. The soldiers and those who lead them will never fail to do their duty. They never have in our history. This is their burden. But there is another duty, another burden, that rests squarely on the shoulders of the American people. They should, by their vote, always choose a commander in chief who is wise, well read in history, thoughtful, and slow-exceedingly slow-to draw the sword and send young men and women out to fight and die for their country. We should not choose for so powerful an office someone who merely looks good on a television screen, speaks and thinks in sixty-second sound bites, and is adept at raising money for a campaign.

If we can’t get that part right then there will never be an end to the insanity that is war and the unending suffering that follows in war’s wake-and we must get it right if we are to survive and prosper as free Americans in this land a million Americans gave their lives to protect and defend.”

He was not invited back…….

I can’t remember where I saw and copied this from, so h/t to somebody. Apologies.

One thought on “Sage advice….which will be ignored

  1. I could not agree more with the general. I was in the Army 1964 -1970, including a year in Vietnam. Even the most gung-ho soldiers did 3 or 4 one-year tours. For most of us, one year was enough. We still had the draft then, and that is what made Americans aware we were at war. Everybody knew a soldier, or at least saw soldiers. McNamara caved in to the politicos in 1969, when we decided to quit and not to win. We started focusing on getting out and saving money, instead.

    I thought that was bad until Rumsfeld took over. He decided to reduce everything except strategic weapon systems, thinking we could do everything by remote control. The decisions to go to Iraq and Afghanistan and stay, have to be our worst possible commitments.

    Here is a good article on our map of the Middle East:

    Didn’t anybody read the histories of the Middle East invented by the victors of WW I? Churchill, France, and Russia divvied up the Ottoman Empire with borders that were based on military control, What they dubbed Iraq contained multiple feuding or warring ethnic and religious sects; basically Triraq – Kurds, Sunni, and Shiite tribes. Those divisions continue today, 100 years later. Afghanistan is hardly a country. No one has ever controlled the area within its borders. Warlords and tribes ruled whatever area they could defend, with vast “no-man-lands” in between. The US is not compatible with their cultures. We have multiple insurgencies we fight that have no central control.

    Meanwhile, our ground forces have been reduced to military special operations combat troops, who have had 7+ tours, civilian contractors raking in the money, augmented with drones and air support. We are limping around with the notion that democracy is the only best form of government in a culture that exalts lies, cheating, and corruption as well as family/tribe loyalties.

    Anyway, I am tired of this dead horse.


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