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'Fed Up With Weak Whimpers'

November 04, 1986

I don't know if Huggins was in the same country (Vietnam) and the same war (1967) as I was or not. We did have plenty of air support--they were always flying around up there--and the Airborne and the Marines were there in force. (Being just common soldiers, we didn't have the same high esteem for those glamour outfits that Huggins has.)

Ours was a tank company and in just the little over five months I lasted there we had 13 of our tanks knocked out, mostly by mines. Our annual casualties were running at 15% killed in action and more than 100% wounded in action. The only piece of ground you could honestly claim to hold was the one your tank was setting on. Then they might blow you away.

If there is one lesson everyone should have learned from Vietnam, yet it seems like very few have, it is that you have to win the minds of the people before you can "save" their country for them. We never accomplished that in Vietnam, nor do we have any chance of doing that in South or Central America. (Would you let Russia come in here and decide what group was going to run this country?)

We can look back over the decades and see the graves of past warriors scattered over the face of this world in futile attempts to impose our will on others. Sure, our soldiers will still line up and charge if ordered to do so by foolish leaders, and a country's people just don't seem to give a damn, one way or another.

DONALD E. LOVE

Palm Springs

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