To the editor:
With Veterans Day less than two weeks behind us, I hope I'm not the only one to feel sheer outrage at Cal Thomas' statement (Journal-World, Nov. 22) that the Vietnam War had "no lasting negative effects on the United States other than 58,000 dead Americans."
No lasting negative effects? The tragic loss of a son, father or brother lasts a lifetime and can have repercussions over several generations. Vietnam resulted in hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans, not to mention those who carry the war in their heads every day. What about the effects of that war on them and their families. What about the lasting effects of the political and social turmoil at home on Americans? Our family, friends and neighbors, including immigrants to the U.S. from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, struggle with the legacy of Vietnam every day.
No lasting negative effects? Ask any Vietnam veteran if they believe that.
Even if Thomas' remark had been intended as sarcasm (which it wasn't), it would have been an insult to every thinking American. Conservatives like Thomas who deny the horrendous legacy of Vietnam guarantee that Iraq will be another epic catastrophe. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of additional human lives will be destroyed, but in their minds there will be "no lasting negative effects." Denying the reality of war ensures we will never have peace.
John W. Hoopes,