LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Yes, combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is necessary

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A recent letter ("Is combat in Iraq and Afghanistan necessary?") discussed exit strategies, "don't ask, don't tell" and military suicide rates.

Our only "exit strategy" in wartime should be victory. Clausewitz stated the objective: "to render (the enemy) politically helpless or militarily impotent." Goals to achieve that objective must be clear but having an "exit strategy" ignores a truism by another Prussian general (Moltke) that "No plan survives contact with the enemy."

Civil rights in our society must be assured regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

However, the commandant of the Marine Corps, the American Legion and the VFW are correct regarding retention of DADT. Our military's fighting proficiency -- especially while conducting combat operations on two fronts -- would be threatened if forced to accept a social-engineering experiment that could negatively impact unit cohesiveness.

Richard H. Black, former Marine combat pilot and chief of the U.S. Army criminal law division, described frequent and serious incidents regarding abusive homosexual activity in the military. He believes DADT is an essential element of military discipline that must be retained.

Military service is never easy and I salute gays of both sexes who serve honorably and bravely, recognizing they must carry an additional but necessary responsibility to keep their sexual orientation covert.

A National Review editorial stated, "DADT wasn't meant to exclude gays from serving, but to allow them to do so with a quiet dignity in keeping with the overriding need for discipline and good order in the ranks. It shouldn't be controversial to note that sexual attraction is a powerful and potentially disruptive force unwelcome in a combat environment."

There's a reason men and women don't sleep and shower together in the military. A reasonable solution may be to add "don't investigate" to DADT.

Sadly, military suicide rates have grown in recent years but while tragic, closely parallel civilian rates.

Yes, combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep fanatic Islamism from power is necessary, along with education, humanitarian assistance and diplomacy. I recall criticism for neglecting Afghanistan after we helped eject the Soviets in the 1980s and yet some want us to repeat that error after having removed the maniacal Taliban-controlled government.

A fundamental incompatibility exists between Islamist ideology and the natural rights articulated during the enlightenment and included in our Constitution. Militant Islamism declared global war to establish a sharia-based caliphate. Google "The Fallacy of Grievance-based Terrorism" to understand this reality.

Steve Singleton
Walla Walla

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