Letters to the Editor -- Circleville Herald
30 August 2006
As we approach the November 7 elections in this time of war, several fundamental questions of right and wrong arise. Is it right to launch a pre-emptive strike-first war? Is strike-first war in keeping with American values? Why did we strike Iraq? What is the right and morally correct course now? Is it right to "stay the course" in a wrongful war? Is it "cutting and
running" to face the truth, however awful that truth may be?
The Vietnam War story of Hugh "Buck" Thompson, the heroic helicopter pilot who landed his craft and trained his guns on American troops, thus stopping the My Lai massacres on 16 March 1968 is one of the few inspiring stories to come out of that tragic war, his moral courage instructs us today. U.S. troops, stressed, frightened, made insensible by fighting an insurgent war followed orders to "kill everything" in My Lai village. A total of 504 Vietnamese civilians women, children were killed. Raised Baptist in Stone Mountain , Georgia, Hugh Thompson had a deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong that forced him to land, train his M-60 machine guns on U.S. troops and radio the alarm persistently.
Later this deep sense of justice, learned at the family dinner table, sustained him through decades of repeated personal attacks, threats, accusations of being unpatriotic, unsupportive of U.S. troops, even threatened with court martial. 30 years later, "Buck" Thompson was awarded the Soldier's Medal for upholding " the highest standards of personal courage and ethical conduct, reflecting distinct credit on him and the United States Army."
The truth often takes a while to come out 35 years later, 19
March 2003, stressed, frightened, insensible after 11 September 2001, we
followed , then re-elected ,leaders who promised revengeful satisfaction
and launched "Shock and Awe" on Iraq. As the truth eventually
works its way out, even George Bush, the promoter-in-chief of this war of
choice, is now forced to admit that Iraq had no connection to the 9/11
attacks. Rather than 504 Vietnamese, an estimated 100,000 Iraqis are dead.
2,634 of our own are dead, 20,000 wounded. Half of our wounded are so
badly off they required discharge from military service. $400 billion has
been wasted, the Mideast further destabilized and the world view of
the United States is at an all-time low.