Saturday, May 29, 2010

Born On the 4th Of July

On May 27th, Cpl. Jacob Leicht, USMC became the 1000th American to die in Afghanistan since the conflict began in October 2001. He was just a little over 1 month away from his 25th birthday, July 4, 2010, This was his 2nd tour in Afghanistan, his first tour lasting only a few weeks when the Humvee he was in hit an explosive device and spent 2 years recovering. This time, one month into his 2nd tour he stepped on a land mine that ended his life.

As we celebrate Memorial Day on Monday we are poised to remember Jacob and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those that have survived wars past. We will also reach a milestone on June 7th as we move into the 104th month of the Afghan war, surpassing Vietnam and the lengthiest war in United States History.

As a Marine Corps Veteran of the Vietnam conflict, I would be remiss if I did not comment on this milestone. To say that there are mixed opinions on the progression of this effort is an understatement, emotions run high on both sides; end it now or press on and eliminate the "terrorist" threat to our country, much like we attempted to "win" and eliminate the communist threat in Vietnam.

What we need to remember when we consider whether or not we should attempt to attain "victory" is that we have not won a conflict or whatever you want to call it since World War Two (unless you count Ronald Regan's little invasion of Grenada in 1983).

We did not "win" anything in George Herbert Walker Bush's war in 1991, we did not win the second Bush war (ongoing) even though he declared "Mission Accomplished" and we will not "win" a war in Afghanistan.

Some argue that our sons and daughters will have died in vain if we end this conflict without "winning". To me this only means that they are willing to sacrifice other sons and daughters until the futility of the conflict is finally recognized.

As we celebrate the life and death of those that have served this country on Monday, let us consider the lives that can be saved by removing all of our brave men and women from harms way before they become just another tick on the wall of some future memorial.

Thank you Jacob, for your service and your sacrifice, your efforts were not in vain, only the prosecution of another war that cannot be "won" will end in vain.

Monday, May 10, 2010