Join Us at the WallThe Vietnam Memorial stands in memory...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 15, 1993

Join Us at the Wall

The Vietnam Memorial stands in memory of the men and women who gave their lives in a useless conflict, one that still rips at the very fabric of our great nation.

The war has been over technically for some 20 years, but the fighting continues to this day among Americans -- between those who fought and those who were against our involvement.

Once again we have been drawn onto a serious crossroad in the history of America.

What crossroad?

About three weeks ago I read an article about two individuals who were sending 350,000 post cards to veterans plainly referring to President Bill Clinton, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, as a hypocrite.

What war did either of these two individuals serve in? I hope the president will come to the wall and show our fallen brothers and sister the respect that they deserve.

The monument was erected for all Americans to visit, not just those who were for or against the war. It's like our flag: Everyone can salute it, not just a certain few.

No matter what happened in the past, it is just that -- the past. The president should be just as welcome at this memorial as the lonely homeless American or handicapped indi vidual who could not serve his country.

Granted, it may have been a misguided war, for which no one should have had to fight and die. But this is the real world; it happened, people did fight and die because our country asked it of them.

After 20 years, what lesson have we as a nation learned? Have we become a nation of blind robots that stagger around in the gray mist of our minds waiting only for the end to come? How long are we going to allow this war to continue to divide our people and our nation?

The war was everyone's war and everyone's tragedy because 58,000 Americans had to give their lives. Let the fighting finally stop.

Bill Cole

Lou Varacalle

Baltimore

Always watchful for historical revisionist waxing-on about the Vietnam war, Mike Littwin's column "Time for Clinton to Play His Part in Our Long Tragedy," May 5) caught my eye.

Since I seldom read his usual drivel, I was reminded again why I should not.

Littwin argues that the flap over Clinton's planned appearance at the Vietnam Memorial on Memorial Day is nothing more than a bunch of fanatical veterans taking a mindless, divisive stand, and that Clinton should be "man" enough to ignore them and do his presidential duty by appearing.

Somehow, Littwin figures, Clinton's appearing can atone for his own sins and salve a nation still torn by recriminations.

His admonition that "it is his duty as president" has a hollow ring, since it was the incompetence of one former president and another former president's abuse of office that made the Vietnam war such a fiasco for the U.S.

When Littwin advises us that Clinton "should have said then (during the campaign) what everyone knows he believed to be true: "Like many of my generation, I thought it was a bad war, an I pursued all legal avenues in order not to go to Vietnam," his credibility is sorely tested. Clinton's hiding behind excuses and half-truths and his waffling show that the man understood the unworthiness of his youthful actions. Littwin's gratuitous "everyone knows" is pitiful.

We have residing in the White House a pathetic coward whose self-interest is so focused on number one that the only anguish he suffered in those years of the draft was how he could avoid serving without tarnishing his potential for a political career. Hardly the high-mindedness Littwin and other apologists attribute to Clinton.

North Vietnam's strategy in its war of aggression was to defeat the superior forces of the U.S. by manipulating world opinion, the press and, ultimately, U.S. public opinion.

North Vietnam's strategy of encouraging and exploiting the U.S. anti-war movement is well documented in published accounts.

That the Vietnam war lasted over 10 years and ended with the U.S. withdrawal and subjugation of the South Vietnamese people is testimony to the success of the North Vietnamese strategy.

Had a president done his duty and conducted the pursuit of U.Sinterests in Southeast Asia properly, many of the 58,000 killed would still be alive.

If Clinton has any sense of propriety, he would not disgrace anmemorial to the fallen heroes of previous wars. He would stay away.

He should hide with shame in the remembrance that by his actions he is as accountable for many of the names on the wall as were the North Vietnamese' bullets.

Phillip W. Worrall

Glyndon

Are Teachers Scapegoats?

Ten years after "A Nation At Risk" report was issued and a week after a series of editorials (May 2-May 9), letters and articles on education, my feelings haven't changed. We each have an obligation, as members of society, to ensure that the younger generation will be ready for an "Information Age."

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