Has anyone “died in vain” in service of this country? In the 1960s about U.S. military actions in Vietnam & more recently about Iraq & Afghanistan some have claimed that if the USA withdraws, the people who died there “died in vain.”
I never have heard that phrase applied to deaths of Vietnamese (or Laotians or Cambodians) or Iraqis or Afghanis (or any U.S. allies’ personnel). The blunt statement is that if we - the USA - stop killing, U.S. military personnel will have “died in vain.”
The adjective “vain,” in this context, is defined as “without real value or importance; hollow, idle, or worthless; without force or efficacy; producing no good result; unavailing, futile, or useless...” The American College Dictionary, 1962 ed., p. 1341.
Implicit is a premise that anything less than military victory makes U.S. military casualties expended for nothing of value or real importance. The losses will have been hollow, idle, or worthless. In other words: we cannot simply have peace.
U.S. involvement in Vietnam was billed as a fight for freedom and democracy. However, both North and South were dictatorial, with the South - maybe by a bit - more corrupt. Elections were farces.
The Pentagon Papers made clear there was no chance for military victory by U.S. or South Vietnam forces. Over sixty thousand Americans died and well over that number of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, other Southeast Asians and people who fought as allies of the USA.
To some, early on, the futility of U.S. military efforts was obvious, but a constant tag-line was that anyone who was anti-war was somehow un-American.
Right-wingers cite U.S. opposition to the U.S. military action in Vietnam as a low point in our history. That view is absurd, because when the American people drew a line, said hell no, and the military conflict slowly stopped, we began to show greatness.
U.S. forces struck in Afghanistan because terrorists from 9/11 (most of whom were Saudi nationals) had trained at bases there. History rhymes. ...
In 1920, an Afghani warlord congratulated the British Viceroy on the Brits’ rapid conquest of Afghanistan then asked, “Now - how are you going to get out?” U.S. military forces still are in Afghanistan and, as reports recently have revealed, without any real strategy.
U.S. forces invaded Iraq. Iraq was not involved in the 9/11 attacks. At one time we had good relations with Iraq’s dictator. We even provided to him military support (the Iran-Iraq War). We overthrew him to get oil and still have military forces there.
It appears that the U.S. military learned, from Vietnam, to diminish media coverage. However, as Lincoln said (and I’m fond to quote): “Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe.”
Other GOP candidates for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District favor a bloated military. As issue positions, Kent Abernathy says he wants to “honor our veterans” and “support our military.” Beth Henderson wants to “rebuild our military.”
We spend more money on weaponry and personnel than the next seven biggest spenders. The United States military budget accounts for thirty-seven percent (37%) of the World’s total military expenditures. How do we “rebuild” - nuke everyone & build from the ashes?
As to veterans, our best course is to stop creating veterans, and fund programs for job training and housing from funds available from slashing the astronomical budget for the military.
Some military personnel have done eight or nine tours in Iraq or Afghanistan. We have no strategic reason for our military to be there.
We need to cut in half our military budget. Defense spending accounts for fifteen percent of all Federal spending and about one half of discretionary spending. Cuts in defense expenditures will make us more secure. People do not like bullies who kill indiscriminately
The claim that people will have died in vain justifies a choke-hold on U.S. policy: (1) It secures our addiction to warfare and the killing many people - us and the people we attack; (2) holds hostage to failed policies; and ...
(3) means more people will die for no valid reason - unless you count corporate profits as a valid reason for undeclared wars. Just remember: a lot of shareholders these days are not American (and probably are here legally and in really cool suites in really expensive hotels most people cannot afford).