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I was with you until this part, Terry. I guess you seriously believe that Vietnam Vets did us a favor? Weren't you alive in the 1960s? Somehow, I really doubt that "thank you" would ever be on my tip of the tongue. What kind of favor do you think we did in Vietnam? I could go into graphic detail, but I won't.

I am appalled. Truly appalled. The original poster simply pointed out that "thanking a Vet" would be a worthwhile way to mark Veterans Day. Why would we say "Thanks" to a vet?

In a word: Service. Service to this nation, upholding the ancient tradition of returning something to your society. Do all vets serve for altruistic reasons? Of course not. College money. Learning a marketable skill. To see the world. For adventure. For a physical challenge. To fly jets. To drive a tank. There are numerous reasons why people choose to serve. However, if you make a career out of the military as I did for 21 years - you do end up serving because you realize service to something larger than yourself, and to an ideal, is worthwhile. Altuistic? Yes. Corny? To some, probably.

When you serve, and I mean truly serve in the armed forces of the United States of America, you become an "instrument of national policy" in diplomatic-speak. The job of the common soldier, sailor, airman or marine is to execute those lawful orders issued: to accomplish the mission. The Mission is sacrosanct. Material, time, energy, money, and every imaginable asset can and is sacrificed to Accomplish The Mission. Even the most precious asset any nation has can be sacrificed: the blood, limbs and life of its young men and women.

The Mission is NOT set by the average GI. The Mission in its basic form is simple: The Mission of the Armed Forces is to win its' Nation's Wars (paraphrasing Gen Douglas Macarthur). As such, Wars are declared, taken upon, entered into, and controlled by the Nation's civilian leadership: The President, the Congress, etc. They set the goals, supply the nation's treasure in money, resources, and manpower and they establish what the Objective is. The average GI, ably led by his or her senior military leadership - from the 4-star General in the war room down to the Corporal in the foxhole - then sets about to "get the job done." The US military is known the world over for being extremely apolitical. We don't determine the Political Objective at all. We don't judge a War to be "just" or "unjust." We protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We fight according to the Will of The People, as expressed by the political leadership of this country.

Rare is the average GI who favors war. The best way to avoid a war is to be so much better than the other guy that he decides not to fight. This was pretty much the US philosophy during the Cold War, and it continues to be a basic tenant today. However, when the civilian leadership decides that "war is the only option," then the military is prepared to fight & win. Overwhelmingly. With the minimum amount of bloodshed needed to accomplish the Mission, as set forth by our leadership. is perfectly acceptable to be against a war. Objections to established policy is a central tenant of US political freedoms....those very freedoms we have gone to war to ensure. Millerpim or anyone else has every right in the world to protest a war, and to attempt by every legal means to get the US to change its approach or its prosecution of a war.

But it is another thing entirely to fail to separate objections to a War from support - and thanks -to the soldier in the field. You can oppose the war, but you owe it to the soldier to support his or her efforts to do what the nation (you, thru your elected leaders) has asked him or her to do. And, yes, perhaps you should say "Thanks" for their efforts.

Whether a soldier served in a "good" war like WWII, or a "bad" war like Viet Nam has no bearing on a faithful GI's service! They went and did a dirty, nasty job that no mortal human should ever be asked to do. They did what they had to do, they did what The Nation Required and they did it (in the vast majority) because they knew it was simply right to do what society asked of them. They didn't want to go, they didn't enjoy service in combat, and yet the amazing strength and fortitude of the US GI has been what has enabled us to accomplish The Mission John Q. Public asked us to do. They performed heroic deeds simply because "someone had to do it," or because "my buddies were counting on me."

Each and every Vet (and particularly combat Vets) most certainly deserves a "Thank You."

Protest the politics of Viet Nam or our policies regarding Iraq. That is your right.....earned again and again with the blood and sacrifice of millions of servicemen & women. Take your protests where they belong: to Washington.

But how dare you slam those who served? Your attitude towards Vets is despicable, shows zero understanding on the role of the serviceman in US history, is disrespectful to the thousands who served with honor and distinction, and your attitude shows a complete and utter disregard for how the US political system works.

In Disgust,

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