Political leaders fail our troops
To the editor:
On Memorial Day, I had terribly mixed emotions. Our freedoms and opportunities to prosper have been purchased by our soldiers at great personal cost: They endured moments of great stress and even terror, suffering, physical and mental wounds, loss of limbs, hearing and sight, and many gave their lives.
We owe our soldiers much more than we give them. We owe them political leaders who consider each soldier’s life as precious. We must avoid war unless absolutely necessary for national defense, consider our soldiers the most precious things on the battlefield and to be protected above all else, and that there are no restrictions to our soldiers’ ability to win.
Today’s volunteer military represents a small percentage of our population, so most of us are unaffected by the consequences of our leaders’ bad policies that cost our soldiers so dearly. Therefore, we haven’t been appropriately offended by, and haven’t demanded changes in, bad policies.
In my lifetime, the political leaders we elected and trusted to conduct our wars have limited our soldiers’ abilities to win -- and even sometimes to survive. From President Johnson’s “acceptable” 10-to-1 kill ratio and off-limits enemy supply routes in Vietnam to Bush and Obama’s limited objectives and restrictive rules of engagement, too many of our soldiers have been wounded and died unnecessarily.
Sadly, today we fail our soldiers and veterans even more than usual. Our soldiers returning from war are labeled potential “domestic terrorists” by President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security and efforts have been made to limit their constitutional rights.
And our VA (government-run) health care is even worse than usual. Many veterans needing health care are placed on secret lists so VA employees can claim bonuses for responsiveness. The Phoenix VA kept 1,700 veterans on secret lists and delayed their health care, as a result several dozen veterans died unnecessarily.