LETTER: It's too late to avoid Vietnam-style mistakes

I agree with letter-writer Jay Wagner that we do not need to repeat the mistakes we made in Vietnam. ("We don't need to repeat mistakes of Vietnam," June 22, Page 6A) I do not share the same conviction that we should not withdraw from Afghanistan.

Before I write another complete sentence, I must acknowledge that volumes could be written on this subject by people far more versed, but it is a little late for us not to repeat the mistakes of Vietnam -- at least some of them. To Wagner's point, sure, America left Vietnam before being able to declare victory, but we had made so many mistakes before the withdrawal that the withdrawal itself became almost a postlude.

It could be argued that the same could be said today. We must now, in 2011, come to grips with the fact that we cannot continue to fund massive ground wars as we did in World War II or Vietnam, and our withdrawal from the current theatres are as much about this as anything.

I take issue with Wagner's point that if we withdraw early "those who died there will have died in vain." Every man and women who serves our armed forces demonstrates what the Bible calls "no greater love" -- to give his or her life for another. That is no waste, regardless of how the political or military outcome results. While I agree that political leadership can waste time, money, and perhaps more to Wagner's point, cost lives needlessly, those lives of our brave men and women who serve in the armed forces are never wasted. And God knows each one by name.

As we approach the July 4th holiday, may we pray and give thanks for the families of those brave men and women who have given and continue to give their lives for our freedom. And let us pray that our leaders will have the wisdom to use our military resources -- especially the lives of our soldiers -- wisely. May God continue to keep His hand of blessing on the United States of America.

-- Mike Puckett