Time has come to put Vietnam in the pastOn the front page...

The Forum

November 13, 1992

Time has come to put Vietnam in the past

On the front page of the Nov. 5 Evening Sun, there was an article about John Wheeler and James Brazee, the president of Vietnam Veterans of America, and their concern about healing and unity with respect to the division in this country that is related to the controversy about the Vietnam War.

I agree with the need for healing and unity, but I do not believe that it can take place until people stop fueling this division, as did President Bush, Ross Perot, James Stockdale and others in the recent presidential campaign.

For example, President Bush portrayed President-elect Clinton as having demonstrated against America. Wrong!

Clinton and the hundreds of thousands of other protesters demonstrated against a leadership -- both civilian (Democratic and Republican) and military -- that had gone awry. This was a leadership that made bad decisions, compounded them with further bad decisions, and was not responsive to the normal controls over malfeasance and incompetence.

It was out of frustration with this leadership that demonstrators did things like burn draft cards and flags -- not out of hatred for this country. If this is not acknowledged, true healing cannot occur.

Ross Perot and James Stockdale also fueled this division by stating that the protesters lengthened the war and the stay of prisoners-of-war, like Admiral Stockdale, in Vietnam. Wrong!

It was the stubborn U.S. civilian and military leadership that lengthened the war unnecessarily. The protesters consistently wanted to end the war and believed that the best support for our fighting men and women was to get them out of there as quickly as possible.

True, the protesters gave the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong a propaganda tool. But that was it. The blame for lengthening the war should fall solely on the wrong-headed leadership. No one else is to blame, and this also should be acknowledged before true healing can occur.

With regard to the Vietnam veterans, they too should not be blamed for the war by those who opposed the war. We must not blame the individual for leadership that failed.

We are all at fault for not recognizing the needs of the veterans and for not helping them deal with the aftermath of the war . . .

Have we failed them? We certainly failed these veterans. This must be acknowledged as well.

We must not blame the protesters. Nor should we blame the veterans. Acknowledge that we had bad leadership and put that behind us. We can heal this division if we once and for all lay the blame where it should lie.

an Bridgewater

Westminster

Proud to vote

I am prompted to write because of a most heartwarming hour-long wait at the polls Nov. 3.

I spoke with a black gentleman who voted for Question 6 and a Korean woman who said she wished all people had access to small business loans -- she felt it would eliminate animosity toward immigrants. I also spoke with a young Jewish woman worried about crime in our area.

It occurred to me that if we could speak of such concerns to total strangers with openness and honesty in one hour, why can't we do it every day?

I think we all had a sense of camaraderie because whomever we chose to vote for, we had thought it out and felt we were contributing to the big picture.

I felt privileged to be a part of the process and particularly proud of the number of women who turned out to cast their vote.

Let us hope and pray that America gets back on track, and that her people always have the choice to change and the right to hope.

. Dione Wilson

Baltimore

Clinton's betrayal

Forty percent of the American people are about to get the kind of government they deserve. Many of them are also going to get a society and world they never bargained for.

They will have their change. When the truth of Clinton's deception dawns on them, I will enjoy their anguish.

Unjustly, my family must endure the shame and dire consequences of this choice for the next four years. I hold in utter contempt those who, by their vote, have fouled every man and woman who ever served this nation in uniform.

For the veterans of Vietnam, this is the second, and most wretched, betrayal of our lives. Our scorn is inexpressible for the dissemblers of the media, and for those who voted the friends of our enemies and tormentors into the White House.

Jeffrey C. Wright

Overlea

Admit it now

On Nov. 3, Bill Clinton won election as president of the United States. On Nov. 10, I read that 2,500 people in the Bush administration will soon be out of work.

Will George Bush now admit that this country is in a recession?

Amy Taylor

Baltimore

Multiculturalism in Baltimore County schools

Sharon Lin's letter in the Oct. 6 Evening Sun, "Dr. Berger's ill wind of change," is not only provocative, in retrospect, but also a bombshell, in relationship to new Baltimore County School Superintendent Stuart Berger.

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