In the wake of the Ukraine situation, we should probably reflect on our record of involvement in other countries business prior to inserting this country into another foreign military excursion. I imagine that many of the readers are of an age that saw their fathers serve in WW2. I am, and like most of my generation we grew up thinking that our Govt was always right, and when it came to war, we were the righteous saviors that we had been when our fathers and uncles fought. All the kids I grew up with and hung around with graduated from HS in 65 or 66. This was just prior to the drug culture permeating our society and our three priorities (in no particular order) were girls, cars, and beer. At the time that we graduated, Vietnam was in full swing and you either joined the military, were drafted, left the country, or went to college. Most of my friends joined and the rest were drafted. I was the exception. I wasn’t against the war at that time, but I had a chance to go to college, and as the first in my family to even have that opportunity, that’s what I did. When my friends came back, they were very different and not the carefree young men that were only concerned with girls, cars, and beer. Most were emotionally scarred by what they had seen and done, and many carried that throughout their lives. I imagine many local veterans can intimately relate to this. There was no reason for us to be there other than some politicians, military leaders, and contractors wanted us there. Vietnam was not a threat to us despite what we were told and after they eventually won, there were no further repercussions for our involvement other than the 58,000 dead American’s and a generation traumatized by what they had seen. Democrats put us there, Republicans kept us there, and the Generals told us we were winning. They lied while American’s died, and the contractors got rich.
  After 9/11 we invaded Afghanistan, and that’s what I believe we should have done. What I don’t think we should have done is stay for 20 years. We should have enacted swift and brutal retaliation and then left with the caveat that if anything else occurred we’d be back with devastating consequences. Instead, we stayed and tried to impose a western style democracy on a people that were unfamiliar and uncomfortable with that style of Govt. We had no business occupying that country, and like the Vietnamese, they fought to get us out. Republicans put us there, Democrats kept us there, and for 20 years the Generals told us “they were making progress” They lied while Americans died, and the contractors got rich. Are you beginning to see a pattern?
  In 2003 we invaded Iraq. We were told that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and that he was an imminent threat to the peace and stability of the world. He was a brutal dictator and a real danger to a couple of his smaller oil rich neighbors, but he was also a counterbalance to Iran. He hated Iran and the leadership of the ayatollahs. He feared their theological power, plus they were Shiite’s vs his adherence to the Sunni sectarian branch of Islam. They fought a vicious war from 1980 until 1988 with an estimated 500,000 dead and 2 million casualties. When we deposed him, we found no WMD’s and ceded middle eastern power to Iran. We also created a power vacuum that led to the rise of ISIS. Iraq was a threat to a few, but Iran was and is a regional threat to much wider geographical area and has global aspirations. Republicans and Democrats put us there, and you know the rest of the story.
  The Ukranian saga is a compelling one, and most of the world is cheering for them. It pits a courageous group of former Soviets who have had a taste of self-determination vs the Russian leader Putin. Putin is a vicious and brutal dictator, but he is not the only one. Russia is one of 52 country’s that are ruled by dictatorial and authoritarian regimes. Of those 52, 27 are in the Asia/Middle east region, 22 are in Africa, and 3 are in Latin America. A number of those countries have populations desperate to overthrow or change their repressive governments, but to my knowledge we are not overtly supporting them. Maybe our interest in Ukraine stems from the fact that they look and sound more like us than those in other regions, or maybe it’s the availability of the video evidence that has garnered our attention. It could be that we’ve just always disliked Russia and view them as a bully, although many people in the world view us as the same. It’s also ironic that Russia invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979 and attempted to wipe out the Mujahedeen, later known as the Taliban. We covertly supplied the Mujahedeen with lethal aid to use against Russia and after 10 years Russia left defeated. 11 years after their exit we were naive enough to believe that we could do it better. Whatever the reason for our concern over Ukraine, it’s intense and it’s real. We’ve been told that there will be no American boots on the ground, but I do get a sense that many of our politicians both left and right, as well as our generals are itching to escalate our involvement into that situation. We don’t have to drop bombs for Russia to consider our actions “Acts of War” There are thousands of American citizens living and working in Russia that would make convenient hostages should we push them too far, so I hope we think carefully and unemotionally prior to making any decisions that could be construed as combative. We don’t have a great record in the last 60 years of being able to accurately assess the value vs the cost of those types of interventions, and I see no evidence that suggests to me that our current political class has become more astute and capable. As always, it’s just my opinion.
Jimmy Wike, Mesquite, Nevada

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