In 2006 I served in Iraq, and had the chance to see the Iraqi military in a complete state of disarray. Of the many problems the Iraqi military faced, sectarian divisions were the worst. Members of different religious and ethnic groups within the Iraqi military openly attacked each other. Later on as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, I learned the Afghan army suffered from the same kind of sectarian divisions. Any fighting force that fights itself is finished as a professional military organization.
That’s why the U.S. military prohibits racial discrimination among personnel: Racism destroys unit cohesion, morale, and drains the ability of the armed forces to fight as a single team. If any admiral or general told four dark-skinned members of the military to go back to where they came from, that officer would be fired on the spot. And because the military doesn’t tolerate racism from commanders, it certainly should not tolerate racism from the commander-in-chief.
Unfortunately President Donald Trump chose to violate the military’s own rules of conduct. He is therefore unfit to command and should resign immediately. If he won’t resign, Congress or voters should remove him from office before this unfit president destroys the U.S. military from within.
Jason Belcher, Harold
What are they waiting for?
A Maryland man who was arrested on federal interstate threats charges after saying he wanted to exterminate Hispanics, wrote in a message on Facebook: “I thank God everyday President Donald John Trump is President and that he will launch a Racial War and Crusade” against people who aren’t white”, according to a USA Today report.
I hope Rep. Andy Barr, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul understand that another white, domestic, extremist terrorist, explicitly attributes his hate-filled mentality to the president of the United States. This is getting beyond dangerous. My elected officials must do something before any more deaths occur because of the racist, hateful rhetoric coming from this administration. Blood is already on their hands. How much more before they act?
Diane Cahill, Lexington
U.S. at stake in war
There has been talk of pulling out of Afghanistan, but there are reasons why we should not. It is not a question of this or that Afghan town or village. It is not restricted to the issue of freedom for our Afghan allies, whose fidelity and valor under the most severe stresses of battle we recognize. This has long ceased to be a fight for our Afghan allies and for their national survival alone. It has become and continues to be a fight for our own freedom, for our own survival in an unstable national existence. The sacrifices we have made and those which we may yet support are not offered vicariously for others, but in our own direct defense.
If terrorism is not stopped in Afghanistan, they will step by step close in on our own homeland and at some future time, however distant, engulf our own loved ones in misery and despair.
Guy Conley, Berea
War policies a failure
The cost of waging war, including those wounded, killed in action, and dollars spent, is mind-boggling. The writers of the Constitution stated that it was not to be a unilateral decision, but rather made jointly by the executive branch and Congress. The 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs) have been interpreted by three presidents to give the president the power to wage war without congressional approval.
It’s time for the Senate to withdraw these two bills and end unilateral decision-making.
The War Powers Act of 1973 clarifies the division of war powers between the president and Congress. The act requires the president to consult with Congress before committing troops to war; to notify Congress within 48 hours after introducing military forces into hostilities or into situations where hostilities are imminent, and to end foreign military actions after 60 days unless Congress specifically authorizes them.These are the type of restraints we need.
It is long past time for Congress to acknowledge that the failed U.S. war policies have contributed to more instability. A foreign policy that looks for warning signs, invests in peace building, and engages in debate prior to authorizing any military attack will make the world safer.
Steve Stone, Lexington