“We have reached an important point where the end (of the Vietnam War) begins to come into view.” – General William C. Westmoreland speaking to the National Press Club November 21, 1967.
“We stand together for a new and better future for Afghanistan — a future free from terror, war, and want.”- President George W. Bush and Chairman Hamid Karzai, January 28, 2002
“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” – President George W. Bush, May 1, 2003
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor J. Galvin, a married father of two, died Monday from injuries he received in a helicopter crash in Iraq on on his ninth, yes ninth, combat deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Galvin, 34, was an MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter pilot assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky – the same unit that reportedly flew Navy SEALs into Pakistan for the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden according to Task & Purpose, a news site for veterans.
Since joining the Army in 2003, Galvin had deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, three times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and four times as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, according to a news release from his unit.
“God Bless the Fallen and their Families,” said one online commenter.
“17 years and counting, and nothing to show for all this blood, money, disabilities and loss,” said another.
And the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are just part of America’s never-ending wars.
Only a few years after the United States and its allies had won WWII, the U.S. began supporting the French with military assistance in their war against the Viet Minh in Vietnam. On May 1, 1950, President Truman approved the allocation of $10 million to the Department of Defense to cover the early shipment of urgently needed military assistance items to Indochina, thus taking the first crucial decision regarding U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.
According to the infamous Pentagon Papers, the rationale of the decision was provided by the U.S. view that the Soviet-controlled expansion of communism both in Asia and in Europe required, in the interests of U.S. national security, a counter in Indochina.
In March of 1965, the first U.S. ground combat unit deployed to Vietnam landed at Danang. One of those Marines, Lieutenant Philip J. Caputo, later wrote a classic Vietnam War memoir, A Rumor of War.
U.S. military actions seem to have persisted every year thereafter.
As of Oct. 2017, the US military was conducting counterterror activities in 76 countries, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University.
Why is America perpetually at war?
Perhaps, with no military draft to spur civilian concern, we’ve begun to accept war as part of the natural condition.
As West Point graduate and historian Andrew J. Bacevich, who lost a son in Vietnam, put it, “Once, the avoidance of war figured as a national priority. On those occasions when war proved unavoidable, the idea was to end the conflict as expeditiously as possible on favorable terms. These precepts no longer apply. With war transformed into a perpetual endeavor, expectations have changed. In Washington, war has become tolerable, an enterprise to be managed rather than terminated as quickly as possible.”
Never-ending war as a “tolerable” condition. How bleak.