Updated: Does Sacrifices of Our Troops Mean Anything?

by lewwaters

We all hear and say it, “thank you for your service” to Veterans and active duty Military. I’m sure most actually mean it when said, but do people actually understand what sacrifices our Troops have made over the years?

If so, why are those sacrifices so easily cast aside as if they hold no meaning?

What do I mean?

Think about it. Shortly after the Allies complete victory in World War Two, we saw the battles flare up again in Korea where Communist Forces of the North decided to conquer the South and impose total Communism in the country. American Troops sacrificed close to 34,000 dead with thousand coming back scared with wounds both physical and mental.

The Vietnam War saw us sacrifice over 58,000 lives with thousands more maimed for life.

The first Gulf War, Desert Storm saw almost 150 deaths of American Troops, but again, thousands left with lifelong issues, both physical and mental.

Then comes the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq after the horrific attacks witnessed on September 11, 2001 and still ongoing with again over 7,000 Troops paying the ultimate sacrifice and thousands more suffering from debilitating wounds and mental issues.

Needless to say, our Service Members have paid a high cost for us to remain free.

So why is it so easy to cast their sacrifices aside?

By that I mean take a look at the ending of the above conflicts, even today’s ongoing conflict against Terrorists.

We left Korea under a cease fire agreement that although the heavy fighting ended in 1953, animosities continued over the years. America put that war aside and got on with their lives, the Korean War becoming known also as “the Forgotten War” as accolades were paid to WWII battles and Troops.

Along comes Vietnam and the subsequent escalation into a full blown war, complete with battles, firefights and body counts reported nightly on American television. We left it under the “Paris Peace Accords” in 1973 with promises of if the North Vietnamese Communists violated the accords, we would return to ensure the South Vietnamese remained free.

We reneged on that promise as the North did violate the accords multiples times, concluding in all out invasion in 1975 as the American Congress and citizens turned a blind eye to the plight of the Vietnamese people and we saw on television Communist tanks break down the gates of the Presidential Palace while American Diplomatic staff tried desperately to escape from rooftops on helicopters, untold numbers of sympathetic South Vietnamese left to their own devices, trapped under the Communist Forces.

Few in America gave a damn.

Fast forward to Desert Storm and again, we committed Troops to repel Iraqi Saddam Hussein’s Troops after they invaded neighboring Kuwait. As we know, they were ejected and the conflict ended again with a Cease Fire agreement.

Throughout the 1990’s, under the B.J. Clinton administration, Saddam Hussein repeatedly violated the terms the Cease Fire and was met with a couple Cruise Missile reprisals and political rhetoric stated in television speeches by Clinton.

Saddam continued supporting terror unhindered and seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Then came September 11, 2001 and the most horrific terrorist attack in history as highjacked aircraft were flowed into the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and another forcibly crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, taken over by passengers, destination unknown, but believed by many to be the White House or Congress.

Many called for President Bush to immediately retaliate, some believing Saddam Hussein’s involvement that ultimately proved untrue in this particular instance. Bush held them back with his famous comment, “When I take action, I’m not gonna fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.”

And it was decisive as after the Afghani Taliban refused to oust Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden from their midst, our Troops were sent in.

Shortly after as Afghanistan looked to be coming under control, the decision was made to implement the Clinton era policy of deposing Saddam Hussein and ridding his support of terrorists and providing safe haven for some.

Even though a policy signed by President Clinton in 1998, it was opposed by many Democrats who continued their opposition even after our Troops were sent in and largely successful after many bloody battles and sacrifices. With Saddam deposed and eventually executed by hanging, Iraq appeared on the road to better lives for most citizens and late 2007 began seeing a drawdown of American Troops, President Obama ordering a complete withdrawal of our Troops by 2011.

Obama, having ignored calls of withdrawing too soon, ended up having to send our Troops back to Iraq in 2014 as a renewed Jihadist enemy, now labeled ISIS began taking territory and establishing a very harsh ‘caliphate’ in Northern Iraq and beyond.

Afghanistan too saw a resurgence of Jihadist even though Osama bin Laden was killed. The Taliban began reasserting themselves in the region and reclaiming Afghani territory.

Now, we read of President Trump making overtures to the Taliban and setting up secret negotiations, now cancelled after a Taliban attack in Afghanistan killed several, including a US Soldier.

Whatever happened to our policy of not negotiating with terror groups?

While I do not support endless war, whatever happened to fighting for Victory over ‘how do we get out of it?’

Soldiers from the Korean War were forgotten. Soldiers from the Vietnam War were despised and demoralized seeing their hard fought sacrifices for naught as we handed the freedoms of the South Vietnamese to the brutality of Communists on a silver platter.

In Iraq, we crowed victory, Obama claiming, “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” only to see renewed fighting and our Troops reengaging enemies in the Middle East.

I’m sure Trump would love to run for reelection in 2020 as the President that got us out of Afghanistan. But at what cost?

How many experiences do we need to see these negotiations and withdrawals make a mockery of the sacrifices made by our Troops as our enemies wait a short spell and renew their attacks, believing with good cause, we will capitulate and ignore their hostilities?

I’ve said before, I was still in the Army when Saigon fell in 1975. I had spent 19 months in Vietnam and knew we had promised to return if there were violations of the Peace Accords. The evening of April 30, 1975 saw me and rest of my company sitting on our gear in the company area in Ft. Bragg, N.C. just waiting on the orders to load up and deploy back to Vietnam.

The orders never came and were sent home where I too watched TV broadcast of the embarrassing actions of American escaping from roof tops and helicopters being pushed over the side of their aircraft carrier to make room.

I could only think, “Why was I ever sent there? Why did over 58,000 of my brothers sacrifice their lives only to see us hand it over to our sworn enemy?”

We did everything asked of us then. Troops today have done everything they have been asked to do as well.

Will there sacrifices be cast aside as easily as was ours, only to see the enemy they fought be given back power to enslave people again while Americans ignore it all and go shopping?

What good is it to say “Thank you for your service” if you are not willing to support the high price of the sacrifices made?

Why hold Memorial Day parades if those sacrifices are thrown away and cast aside as if nothing?

And to our elected officials I can only say if you are unwilling to support our Troops, whether you voted to deploy them or not, don’t send us into Harm’s Way.

Don’t seek photo ops with us to gain votes for reelection after you dishonor our sacrifices by voting to capitulate to an enemy.

If you cannot support our Troops being victorious over always wanting an exit strategy first, don’t send us.

Our sacrifices must have value too, just as our fathers and grandfathers sacrifices in the previous wars did.

Update Oct 10, 2019: Sad to add to the list of abandoned allies, the Kurds in Syria as Turkey now attacks them after President Trump called for American Troops to be pulled back. This habit we Americans seem to have developed over the decades towards allies and supporting their quest for freedom and Liberty reminds me of a letter written by Cambodia’s Prince Sirik Matak, declining to accept our offer of withdrawing him from the country as the Khmer Rouge swarmed over Cambodia in 1975;

Dear Excellency and friend,

I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion.

As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it. You leave us and it is my wish that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we are all born and must die one day. I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans. (Emphasis added)

Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments. Sirik Matak.


Within two weeks, Prince Matak and his family were all executed by the Khmer Rouge and the country was plunged into what became known as “the Killing Fields.”

It is my guess that we will find few allies ready to assist us in future battles as they see our long history of walking away and leaving them to face mutual enemies on their own.

16 Comments to “Updated: Does Sacrifices of Our Troops Mean Anything?”

  1. Every US military action since Korea (1950+) has been a farce. There is no honor.

  2. Thank you for writing this. It made me think. And I will remember what you’ve said.

  3. Herschel, Every action we have been engaged in has had noble origins in the beginning. Each one has ended as you claim, given spineless politicians and and a citizenry that does not value the sacrifices being made. Shopping at the mall seems to be preferable than protecting freedom

  4. Lew — Agreed. Also, I’m not sure how to phrase this but I just had to go through an exercise where I “unfollowed” a bunch of your posts from 2014 or so onwards. This was completely due to your hosting platform….

  5. Herschel, I don’t have an answer of you having to unfollow posts. Perhaps because I let my old domain, lewwaters.com” lapse as I was going to shut the blog down, then reconsidered and chose a different domain. I did see where some porn site bought my old domain so older posts end up going there. The new domain, “clark-county-conservative.com” and the much older one, lewwaters.wordpress.com aren’t affected.

  6. I cannot express my sorrow when I hear political hacks carry on about the financial cost of freedom. What is freedom worth? What are the lives of our soldiers worth? How about their families that are altered forever by their sacrifices, just what is that worth?
    Freedom is EVERYTHING… just ask those who have none. We barely have the remnants of it now with our ever aggressive branches of government constantly passing more regulations and laws.
    Thank you for your CONTINUED service Lew. Your voice is a critical one to the community as they need reminded frequently that they are forgetting the value of American freedoms.

  7. I don’t understand what we could do differently in Afghanistan to change the outcome and justify our continued presence in the country. The mission changed after we got there. It changed from ousting the Taliban to building a nation – and now we’ve been stuck there since. Is it wrong to try to change that? Obviously what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked and isn’t going to work. Killing Taliban and their fellow combatants either with Obama’s drones or Bush’s troops hasn’t done anything other than breed new combatants. It’s insane to keep doing the same thing over and over. I don’t think withdrawing the troops demeans the sacrifice of anybody. It does mean that more American service men and women won’t be killed by some suicide bomber or in a “green-on-green” attack.

  8. As happened in Vietnam, if Afghanistan is just handed back to the Taliban, along with Billions in reparations I imagine, why did we go in the first place? It does dishonor their sacrifice to work out n agreement to let the very ones we fought to oust back in.

    As for what can be done different, untie the Troops hands and let them fight to win, as was done in WWII.

    Can you imagine Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin seeking to negotiate an end to hostilities with Hitler and Tojo, allowing them hold power?

    To me, if the effort isn’t to win, don’t commit the Troops.

    And, while tucking tail and running away again will see less deaths of our Troops, how many deaths of American citizens from Terrorist attacks will it take for us to get serious with the extremists? Never forget all of the attacks that led up to 9/11.

  9. I understand your point about letting the troops fight to win. My best friend is a Vietnam veteran. He often mentions that as the reason why we lost Vietnam…too many politicians and rear-area generals making the decisions. But realistically do you ever think that will happen?

  10. It seems we no longer have an objective of winning when we deploy Troops into combat as we did in WWII.

    Maybe the country will when they are killing people in our country on a mass scale as they do in other countries.

  11. Ike warned about the Military-Industrial Complex, and here we are. MIC is making a TON of money from our perpetual wars. I don’t see this ending unless Gabbard wins (which will never happen).

  12. Herschel, you really ought to read the entire speech. He said much more in it.

    Like: “We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.”

    “Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle — with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.”

    “A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.”

    “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.”

    “Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment.


  13. And in the same speech he says:

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, and every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

    You and I — my fellow citizens — need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation’s great goals.

    Let’s also recall Truman’s leadership in rooting out military fraud in:

    The Truman Committee, formally known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, was a United States Congressional investigative body, headed by Senator Harry S. Truman.[1] The bipartisan special committee was formed in March 1941 to find and correct problems in US war production with waste, inefficiency, and war profiteering. The Truman Committee proved to be one of the most successful investigative efforts ever mounted by the US government: an initial budget of $15,000 was expanded over three years to $360,000 to save an estimated $10–15 billion in military spending and thousands of lives of US servicemen.

  14. Herschel, you do realize the Truman Committee you mention was WWII and formed months prior to our involvement in the war, don’t you? And once America declared war on Japan and Germany, the Roosevelt Administration and some within Congress tried to have his committee shut down. instead, the findings of the committee resulted in the formation of the War Production Board.

    Unlike today and during Vietnam, nobody then called for shutting down the production of the tools and equipment needed by the Troops. No, they demanded the best possible for our dollars and took steps to ensure it.

    Regardless, no one calls for corporate America to be given a free hand to do as they please with Military contracts. Oversight is a must and a balance must be reached. Something most that quote the Eisenhower so-called Military Industrial Speech (actually his farewell address to the nation when his second term was over)

    As then Senator Truman said when his committee was formed, “When people create delays for profit, when they sell poor products for defense use, when they cheat on price and quality, they aren’t any different from a draft dodger and the public at large feels just the same way about it.”

    And this was before the massive Arms Industry Eisenhower said we have been compelled to create and maintain, but under a strict watch.

    That strict watch also must include government officials responsible for oversight, which often falls by the wayside as we have seen for so long by government oversight of the Veterans Administration, all of whom received a pass for failing to ensure we receive the bet possible care.

  15. Lew, I do. Do you realize Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler 3 YEARS prior to US involvement? I’m not sure what your point is. My point was that the Military Industrial Complex has existed for a long time. Bernard Baruch during WW1 is a great example.

    Your allegation that “No, they demanded the best possible for our dollars and took steps to ensure it.” is open to question as well.

    We can examine the F-35 and littoral ships (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littoral_combat_ship#Operational_issues) and see there are MIC issues. The destruction of SR-71 parts & tooling is another example of the rampant corruption. There isn’t a great deal of competition when it comes to building submarines.

    I don’t understand your point here. You keep harping about Eisenhower — “so-called” — do you think he was in fact NOT warning about MIC?

  16. Herschel, I use “co-called” because many try to rename his farewell message as Military Complex Speech, as if that was all he spoke in the speech.

    I’ll also refer you back to my words of balance is needed along with strict oversight. We could also include Patty Murray forcing an expensive boat on the Navy they didn’t want along with many issues with the VA while she chaired the Senate Veterans Oversight Committee and sat on it as a member after Chair.

    But again, many I have spoken to over the years reference the MIC speech as a means to outright oppose Military Spending, even when we have Troops in harm’s way. It didn’t endear me to hear while I was in Vietnam, reports of Congress discussing cutting off funding while we were still in the fight.

Leave a Reply. Comments are moderated. Spam & off topic comments will not be approved at Blog Author's discretion. THIS IS NOT A FREE SPEECH ZONE!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: