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Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Vietnam casualties


How many dead would have been enough?

Among things asserted in the letter, “Our failure to learn from the past”: 1) “The lesson we learned in Vietnam was that when politicians run the war they try not to lose, rather than trying to win, but you take casualties and in the end you lose.” 2) “Wars are won when you kill enough of the bad guys to make them stop, not through negotiation.”
Gen. Giap, who led the North Vietnamese forces, viewed human life as being of no value and was prepared to send hundreds of thousands of his men to die for the cause. Unencumbered by democracy, he was free to pursue his goals without regard to the will of the people. Thus, it seems probable that we would have needed to continue our efforts for quite some time before we could “kill enough of the bad guys to make them stop.”
As a Vietnam veteran, I would pose the following questions to the writer: Had the decision been his to make without any political restraints, how many more of us would he have been willing to sacrifice in pursuit of uncertain victory? How many more children, killed or running aflame in terror from their napalmed villages, would he deem acceptable? With all due respect, offering callous and overly simplistic solutions to this complex issue is an affront to any responsible discussion of the topic.
Dan Postema
Everett
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.