Letter - Warrior class keeps nation free


In reply to Bruce McCutcheon, once more. Let me again answer his comments one by one.

According to Bruce, my comments are “saber rattling from the warrior class.”

Actually I take that as a compliment.

The warrior class is the one that keeps this nation free. We protect the country, the people, the Constitution and especially the First Amendment. And we don’t ask much for doing that, just a little respect.

Bruce says that in the 238 years of our existence as a country, we have been in war for all but 21 of those years. When were the 21 years? And, so what?

“We don’t do war very well.” Really?

Ask the British in the 1780s, the Germans and Japanese in the 1940s, the North Koreans and Chinese in the 1950s, and the Russians in the Cold War from the 1940s to the 1990s.

I thought we did pretty well in all those. Actually, we did very well in Vietnam in the 1960s considering our hands were tied behind our backs. And then our politicians sold us out after 58,000-plus lives were lost.

And just to delve a little further into war, remember it is the politicians who send our young men and women into combat.

The warrior class does not. And, the warrior class is the one that despises war the most, as we are the ones who have to go and fight it.

But this is the comment I liked best in Bruce’s letter: “It’s no wonder we have never had a strong leader that came from the warrior class!” OK. How about George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy? How about George Patton, Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, James Gavin, Matthew Ridgway, Bull Halsey and Chesty Puller?

Of course, the American people are not in favor of military involvement in the world. That’s a no-brainer. Who in their right mind would favor military involvement in other countries?

The point is not whether the people favor it, the point is whether it is necessary to protect our interests or those of our allies.

Or it is to destroy a dictatorial regime with world domination in mind such as Nazi Germany, fascist Italy or Imperial Japan. Or to stop Communist North Korea from conquering its southern neighbor.

Al Conetto

Walla Walla


chicoli 7 months ago

Al, all those great Presidents and Generals you cited told the truth to the American people, and to the warriors they sent to war. It is sad that the warriors sent to the Iraq war were told a bunch of lies. Therein the great tragedy of that war causing the death of more than 5,000 of our heroes and more than a million innocent Iraqi civilians. Needless to mention the creation of more than 2 million veterans. After such a debacle, is there the will for war in the mind of the American people? Certainly not!


PearlY 7 months ago

paco, you need to study your history. ALL of those great Presidents and Generals LIED repeatedly throughout the wars they fought. Franklin Roosevelt even had an entire administrative agency devoted to propaganda and censorship. Ironically, the warriors sent to Iraq probably had more, and more accurate, information about the conflict they were going into than any other American warriors in the history of the country.

If they were told "a bunch of lies" please list three for me. Most likely the only one you can name is "Saddam had weapons of mass destruction". And that happened to be the truth. Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction at one time, and there was no concrete evidence in March 2003 that he had completely disposed of them. ALL political leaders at that time were under the belief that he still had them, including the Clintons, Gore, Kerry, etc. If that belief was mistaken, nevertheless, a mistake is not a lie.


NewInWW 7 months ago

Even for you, this is utter foolishness: "Ironically, the warriors sent to Iraq probably had more, and more accurate, information about the conflict they were going into than any other American warriors in the history of the country."

If you think the reasons for declaring war on with Iraq (WMD) were more accurately set out for the troops sent there, than the reasons for declaring war on Japan when we entered World War II, I suggest you need to do a bit more reading. Try Googling "Pearl Harbor."

As for the Clintons, Gore, Kerry, etc. being under the belief that Saddam had WMD; the administration, which had access to the intelligence reports and analysis, to a man (and woman) stood behind the story, which has since been pretty much discredited.

The problem, if there is one with Democrats, is that they assume those in power will act honorably in a crisis.


PearlY 6 months, 4 weeks ago

So you think Hirohito just woke up one morning and decided it would be interesting to bomb Pearl Harbor? It's remotely possible there was a back story there, don't you think? And the chances that the average soldier, sailor or marine accurately knew the preceding causes to WWII are far less than that an Iraq war soldier knew the preceding causes to the 2003 invasion.


NewInWW 6 months, 4 weeks ago

You will engage in any sophistry to avoid saying, "maybe I overstated my case."

The WMD that were the alleged cause of the Iraq war were a fiction at best, and a deliberate lie at worst. The actual cause(s) of that war are still not known and are primarily the stuff of speculation.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was demonstrable, horrible fact. If you think servicemen and women in WWII weren't aware of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I think you're gravely mistaken.

Of course there's the geopolitical back story, there always is. But to rouse a people to go to war - for immediate, proximate cause of war - Pearl Harbor was about as clear as it could be. I don't recall from my history books that FDR had to do a lot of "selling" to get his declaration of war on Japan.

Your "Ironically, the warriors sent to Iraq probably had more, and more accurate, information about the conflict they were going into than any other American warriors in the history of the country" is the utterly incorrect, purple prose you so love, and nothing more.

And now you're going to want to trace all of history from the German surrender in Paris to "explain" why you're right. Or didn't I go back far enough - perhaps the exploitation of Asia by the British East India Company, or the fall of Rome?


PearlY 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Paco hasn't taken me up on my request that he name three lies. Maybe you will. Please make it an explicit declarative sentence. For instance: Bush said "X" and at the time he said it, he knew "X" to be false, as demonstrated by "Y".


chicoli 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Pearl, I know about 40, but let's start with 3:

  1. War would be easy
  2. The "rescue" of Jessica Lynch.
  3. The aluminum tubes.

What the heck, here are 3 more:

  1. Iraq and al-Qida were working together.
  2. Saddam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
  3. Iraq could deploy wmd"s in 45 minutes.
  4. The "dodgy dossier"

Oops, I said six. Any way, there you have them!

If you need more let me know!


PearlY 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Paco, I was looking for a direct quote that you contend was a lie (not a mistake, but a lie), not your reinterpretation of things he may or may not have said.

I don't remember him ever saying "the war will be easy" and he certainly said the opposite many times, or that Iraq and Al-Qaeda "are working together" (although he did say they had on-going contacts, which was true), or that Iraq could deploy WMDs in 45 minutes (although I believe Blair did say something like that based on British intelligence), or that Saddam was responsible for the 9/11 attacks (in fact, I know Cheney was repeatedly asked that question and always answered it that there was no evidence to indicate that).

The other three items are not even statements. What exactly did he say about Jessica Lynch, aluminum tubes or dossiers that was a lie? The "dodgy dossier" was British intelligence, not US; the aluminum tubes were capable of use for nuclear weapon development, although the DOE concluded they probably were not acquired for that purpose, while still concluding that Saddam was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons development program).

But thanks for trying.


dogman12 7 months ago

I prefer to think the warrior class keeps the country economically dominant. Our military has been used to serve the cause of capitalism more than that of democracy (freedom) since the mid-50s. Capitalism and democracy have different and often opposing objectives. Eisenhower was right to warn us about the rise of the military industrial complex.

The minds that choose where U.S. warriors will be deployed for economic purposes are completely satisfied to allow the individual servicepeople to go on believing they are fighting from the moral high ground.

Let me be clear, I do not condemn any individual serviceperson for this belief, nor do I minimize the very real sacrifices made. I recognize that there are enemies of both capitalism and democracy. Democracy should be defended, capitalism should be reformed.

I would prefer if the real objectives of any deployment were clearly discussed, and the people could approve or disapprove. If we are going to invade to secure our supply of oil, fine, let's discuss the pros and cons of that. But let's not "free-wash" the issue.


PearlY 7 months ago

Could someone please explain to me how invading a country can "secure our supply of oil"? Oil is a commodity. If Iraq didn't want to sell us their oil, they'd still have to sell it to somebody - say Country A. That would free up the oil that Country A would have bought from someone else, say Country B, allowing us to buy our oil from Country B. Voila! Our oil is secured!

No matter how resentful some country is of us, it's not likely to stop them selling to us (witness Venezuela, whose leaders have hated our guts for the last decade or more, still exports most of its oil to the US; we were Saddam's biggest buyer too). The only way we could be pinched in our supply of oil is by an organized cartel controlling prices - and OPEC has proven incapable of getting its members, much less its non-members, to abide by its quotas. If we ever need to invade a country to "secure our oil supply", we'd better start with Canada.

The "war for oil" claim is possibly the greatest display of economic ignorance since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 (which I think coincides with the last time Democrats showed any economic sense). The fact that large numbers of people proudly spout it makes me wonder what the point is in spending a quarter of a million dollars "educating" someone through college, when we end up with people so abysmally ignorant.


dogman12 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It's not so much about whether a commodity can be purchased on the open market, as it is about who profits, the use of production to influence prices, and whether a regime's friends are our friends.

The Cheney Energy Task Force was examining maps of Iraq's oil assets in March 2001, two years before the United States led an invasion to oust Saddam Hussein. The task force had maps which showed Iraq's oil fields, its major refineries and pipelines, a list of companies from countries that were interested in doing business with Saddam's regime, ranging from Algeria to Vietnam, details of oil and gas projects in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which included information on the cost and status of projects in those countries.

Bush's Cabinet agreed in April 2001 that 'Iraq remains a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East' and because this is an unacceptable risk to the US 'military intervention' is necessary."

Conflict arose as the oil industry-favored plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq's oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq's oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

Pearl, you seem to have a naïve belief that production and distribution of oil happens in a non-political and free market. Classic head in the sand thinking, pun intended.


PearlY 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Dogman, if you're going to plagiarize someone, try someone more credible than Greg Palast.


stvsngltn 6 months, 3 weeks ago

While assuring that Saddam's Iraq didn't disturb the oil markets may have been one of many reasons for the invasion, just about every Intelligence agency thought he had stockpiles ... but even if not, he was actively engaged in the attempt to develop nuclear weapons -- and in fact had weaponized chemicals ... and had used them. When I flew into Kuwait from Riyadh during the ongoing ground war, I was issued a full set of MOPP-4 (chemical suit, boots, etc.) because it was believed that Iraq very well may use them (fortunately the SCUD that landed near me apparently didn't. You know, over 500 tons of yellowcake was removed from Iraq in 2008. I still believe that a considerable amount of WMD materials may have been taken from Iraq to Syria in those large convoys just prior to the Iraq War invasion. But be that as it may, the world is a better place now that Saddam Hussein and his regime were removed in 2003.


stvsngltn 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The part about Kuwait was during the Gulf War (Desert Storm) not Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately Saddam Hussein wasn't removed then, as should have happened.


Igor 6 months, 4 weeks ago


Thank you Al, for your service. I presume you’re a Nam Vet too. I served as a 1LT USAR Cu Chi 1969. Rockets and mortars at Cu Chi, where I was stationed, were a regular occurrence. I lost many good friends.

I wouldn’t leave base without a fully armed squad in a ¾ ton and an M-60. Snipers and mines were everywhere. I find the assertion that “we don’t do war very well” not only offensive to me personally, but also an affront to my fallen comrades. Hurtful and outrageous. I take Bruce’s assertion as a personal affront.

Our troops never lost a fight on the field of battle in the Nam and we had won the war before I rotated back to the states. The Cambodian Incursion was staged from my base at Cu Chi and our other base at Tay Ninh.

After we’d killed ‘em all and burned their stuff the war was over. I could drive anywhere in III Corps with impunity. We did not lose that war, Bruce, we just bugged out, thanks to yer liberal Democrats pals and their weak kneed Republican allies.

Just like my li’l gook brothers, I felt betrayed. We had promised to support our allies, but we left them to twist in the wind. The darkest moment in our history. The pics of the tank crashing through the gates of the Presidential Palace almost broke my heart and still bring a tear to my eye.

A few years ago I met up with a “brave man of conscience” that fled to Canada. He and I nearly came to blows. What about the people we left behind thanks to the Democrats? I know 'cause 8 years ago I went back to the Nam to seek out some of my li’l gook friends. Most had been murdered by Ho! Every time I hear some Democrat talk about all the lives we saved by buggin’ out of Vietnam I just want to throttle him.

Pol Pot murdered about 2 million of his countrymen ‘cause they wouldn’t knuckle under to his Marxist way. When the North rolled over the South they murdered about a million (I know some with whom I served that were greased), and there were almost a million that died at sea.

Help me, Bruce, understand how our military is bad for our planet. I’m proud of my service and I absolutely loathe those like you and your Marxist pals that continually run down our military and those of us that served. Without us, your life would be a hell of a lot different. What did you do in the war, Bruce?

Help me, Mr. McCutchen, understand why war is bad when I answer my summons and go off to kill bad folks that would destroy us, but folks like you sit here at home tellin’ us were bad people for all our killin’. I just don’t git it Bruce.

I’d like to meet you sometime, Bruce, if you got the guts to look me in the eye. I’ll meet you, Bruce, any place you designate, if you got the nerve, which I doubt. If we agree to meet, I think I’ll bring ol’ Al along. He don’t like you much either.

Those that served and died are my brothers. Those that fled to Canada are scum! The Vietnam War was a noble cause.



namvet60 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Igor - Happy Memorial Day and a big shout out for the Heroes of America - Our Military Brothers and Sisters! My flag is flying.


Igor 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Mine too. I was a bit over the top with my rant last night. I should learn to hold my tongue. I'll never understand those that dislike those of us that served. People forget that most of us didn't have any choice in the matter, i.e., that we were conscripted. Still I continue to believe that the war was a noble cause and I have no regrets. Anyway, I apologize for getting so worked up and for the use of the word "gook." I didn't mean it as a racial slur and was referring to my buddies, some of whom perished in "reeducation" camps. They were good fighters for the most part but we left them "high and dry." You can't fight a war without ammo, spare parts, etc. Our betrayal of our allies was just sickening and I will never get over it. When I went back to visit the place I met a guy whose father had served in the ARVN army as a company grade officer. He told me that his father nearly died in a concentration camp after the war but was luckier than most. That is, he told me that the North simply shot all field grade officers and all the higher ranking NCOs. His dad was spared because he was only a lowly lieutenant. In my humble opinion we do war very well if we're allowed to fight as we were trained and not hamstrung by our corrupt politicians. Sending troops to Vietnam may have been a mistake but leaving with our tail between our legs and abandoning our allies was a huge mistake that we'll never live down. As I said, the darkest moment in the history of our Country. But don't get me started. And sorry to anyone I offended.


namvet60 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Hey no need to apologize - Like my Daddy told me "Never say Whoa in a mudhole".

If you offended anyone it would be some that have the vision that everything comes from bowing and kissing the rings of foreign officials. Then look at the shape of our foreign policy picture and it makes you cringe. Now it has come to light that on the President's trip to Afghanistan the top CIA official was outed and now running and hiding to save his life. This has become one humongous mess.


stvsngltn 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Offended? I for one found your "rant" to be right into the x-ring, Igor. A belated Memorial Day salute to you (and all veterans here) for your service. Especially combat service. I'd volunteered and gone to Danang from Okinawa to be NCIOC of a small 4-man detachment early in the war (1963) before it turned into a meat grinder ... turned out I was shelled, rocketed and bombed more as a civilian later on (Beirut to Desert Storm). Anyway, you are so correct -- our military did NOT repeat NOT lose the Vietnam War. I have a book recommendation for anyone who thinks otherwise: "Unheralded Victory" The Defeat of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, 1961-1973, by Mark Woodruff, a Marine who served in Vietnam December 1967-December 1968, became a psychologist at Pepperdine and then a psychologist with the Royal Australian Navy. Worth a read. Anyway, like you I get very irritated by anyone who claims to "support the troops" yet insults them at the same time by claiming (falsely) that the war they were/are fighting is wrong or unjust. The Vietnam War -- as tragic as were the losses -- was a necessary war .... despite the outcome after 1975.


PearlY 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I'd always rather have intemperate truth than its opposite. Thank you for your service. And, as one of the useful idiots who was then safely protesting the war back on campus, please accept my deepest apologies. I was young and ignorant, but still I should have known better.


stvsngltn 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You are a true Pearl, PearlY (of wisdom and gem). Weren't we all once both young and ignorant (about one thing or another)? Glad you're here and adding quality to the conversations.


namvet60 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I totally agree with Mr Singleton for PearlY posting the positive and factual comments. It is a great read.


NewInWW 6 months, 3 weeks ago

While some of the anti-war protests in the '60s improperly targeted those serving; it amazes me how many people equate supporting the troops with supporting the politicians and the policies that have led us into war.

Perhaps, some day, we'll be capable of more sophisticated thinking.

In the meantime, I see no issue with decrying a war, while still supporting the troops fighting that war. They are simply two different things.


PearlY 6 months, 3 weeks ago

As others have pointed out here and elsewhere, the Vietnam War was not lost militarily, it was lost politically. The protests not only aided that political loss, they demanded it based on fabricated and fanciful claims about the essential "goodness" of the enemy. That political loss made of the military victory, with its attendant casualties, a huge betrayal of those who served. I understand you "see no issue" with that, but I was doing it, and I certainly do. My involvement in the Vietnam anti-war protests is one of the most embarrassing memories of my life. You go ahead and bask in your sophistication. I'll just wallow in my remorse.


NewInWW 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Wallow away.

Two things - the argument that, but for the national tide of resistance to the Vietnam war, it could have been won, is a bit like talking about what would have happened if a bad officiating call in a game hadn't been made. We simply don't know what would have happened.

We might have been able, at the cost of "only" thousands of additional lives and billions of dollars to have left a moderately stable government in the south, only to see it overrun once we left. We might have had to stay for decades propping up what was widely regarded as a corrupt government. We might have been able to carpet bomb Hanoi and destroy any desire they had to continue (although the French didn't hold back much and they also left defeated) but also tarnish our national image even more than the defeat did. The Monday morning quarterbacking is just that, speculation about an unknown and unknowable alternate reality.

Second, the "don't let their sacrifice be in vain" argument implicit in your comments about "betrayal" is ridiculous. If a war we should not be in is started by some politician, the "don't let their sacrifice be in vain" argument simply means that once our servicemen have died on the battle field we can't question the wisdom of the foreign policy that got us into the war. That's simply a capitulation of our duty as citizens to make sure that any further loss of life by our servicemen is for a proper national purpose.

We got out of Vietnam because no politician could convince the American people that there was a valid national interest to be served in Vietnam - at least one that was worth any further loss of life.


chicoli 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Moreover, the "domino effect" suggesting other countries would fall to communism after Vietnam never happened. Vietnam is still communist but independent from their long time oppressor, China. Vietnam has been our friend for quite some time. The magnanimity of the Vietnamese people has been exemplary. Vietnam is now a member of the World Trade Organization and since 2007, simply admirable!

I must agree with Igor in that the Vietnam war was a terrible mistake!


namvet60 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If the VA can't let the veterans die fast enough we always have this Administration to help with the process.


As bad as he has messed up the last 6 years let's hope this isn't his only accomplishment.


Igor 6 months, 3 weeks ago


Thanks man! I can't thank you enough for your comment. When I was in college my fellow students decided to organize a march to protest the war. Everything that I knew about the war at that point convinced me that it was, as JFK said, a just and good war.

My fellow students decided to organize a march to protest. They had several hundred participants. I tried to organize a counter march. I spent lots of time trying to organize but on the day in question only about 5 guys showed up. Not enough to march.

But they all joined the Army or the USMC and are still good friends today. When I graduated from college 1967 I joined the Army. For this I was derided and ridiculed by many of my fellow classmates and friends on the left.

And I still am. Many in my class found a way to beat the draft. Some fled to Canada or found some other way to avoid service.

I have no problem with COs whose religion precludes them from killing. In my case, I’ve never had any objection to killing bad people. As a devout Christian and a staunch proponent of the death penalty, I think it’s a good practice.

After a year in the Nam I was convinced that I’d made the right decision, was proud of my service and was glad to see that we’d finally been able to let the ARVN fight their own war.

But what happened after that still makes me sick. I still feel badly for how our County betrayed the po’ buggers and left them to twist in the wind. Also for my friends that had died over there (some before my eyes).

In the eyes of the left, their sacrafices counted for nothing. Take care PealY. I enjoy your thoughtful, well, reasoned comments.


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