Vietnam War Deja Vu

The events unfolding in Afghanistan take Vietnam War veterans back to 1975, when that country fell quickly, in just 55-days. The fall of this country, in which we invested so much blood and gold over the past 20-years, has fallen even faster. 11-days!

One Vietnam veteran I emailed said it had reignited his PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). We can only imagine what it has done to veterans who served there, some with multiple tours of duty, and who sacrificed so very much. Their families also made sacrifices in their absence, while they were deployed. Over 2,400 made the ultimate sacrifice, which affected thousands more.

Even before these latest events, PTSD and suicides were running rampant among our military veterans, and it’s both shocking and sad to read those sorts of updates in publications like VFW Magazine. The war isn’t over for many after they leave the war zone, it stays with them for life.

Scars remain where wars are fought, on both civilian populations and the landscapes. You need look no further than the Vietnam War Agent Orange legacy. I’ve always felt that one of Mark Twain’s most powerful pieces is THE WAR PRAYER (PDF), since it reveals so much.

To those veterans who might be reading this, thank you for your service and sacrifice, and thank you to those families who also sacrificed so very much.

“Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance.”
Bob

Statistics (approximate) for the United States’ longest war in Afghanistan (source)

  • U.S. military killed in Afghanistan through April 2021: 2,442
  • U.S. contractors: 3,846
  • Afghan national military and police: 66,000 – 69,000
  • Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144
  • Afghan civilians: 47,245
  • Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191
  • Humanitarian aid workers: 444
  • Journalists and media workers: 72
  • The Costs of War Project also estimates that 241,000 people have died as a direct result of this war. These figures do not include deaths caused by disease, loss of access to food, water, infrastructure, and/or other indirect consequences of the war.
  • Since invading Afghanistan in 2001, the United States has spent $2.26 trillion on the war, which includes operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Estimated interest costs by 2050: Up to $6.5 trillion. (source)

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