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Our country needs a strong defense

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The "Thank you isn't enough for vets" editorial misses the mark in both understanding the veteran and his service and understanding the needs for a strong defense and warfighting capabilities.

Certanly there are veterans who suffer PTSD from their time in combat and a few who feel shame for their acts in war. However, the majority of the veterans remain proud of their service to their country and to their fellow veterans.

I dislike the remark that we "served against our will." I was drafted during the Vietnam War. We were called upon to fulfill the duty required of citizens in this great country. I served in both combat and non-combat roles and in a myriad of peacetime duties.

I consider all service honorable, both combat and non-combat support roles during war and the often monotonous non-wartime service that has kept us safe in time of peace. Veterans served as a team, we fought as a team and we remain a team today. I fear that those who hold to your editorial opinion will leave the next generation with the view that war and military service is an option that can be avoided by diplomacy.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The inherent evil nature of mankind will perpetually ensure the need for a strong military and for defense for our way of life.

Your view that our counter-terrorism and counter nuclear proliferation positions need to be re-evaluated smacks of Chamberlainism and appeasement. Yes, we need to carefully evaluate the strategic importance of all military and diplomatic initiatives and yes, we have fought some wars that were not well conceived.

War should be the last resort of any foreign policy. But it must always remain a vibrant and willing option. Defense of our country is the primary duty vested by our Constitution in our political leadership.

If we are unwilling to defend our way of life against extremists, totlitarianism and threats of mass destruction we will not long endure.

If history teaches us anything at all, it teaches us that warfare and defense preparedness will always be necessary.

Honor the veterans, yes. Take care of the veterans, yes. Dismiss or diminish the necessity of war and defense in maintaining peace and security, never.

John A. Clauer

Colonel, USMC (Retired)

Park Rapids

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