Too many Americans think like these people:
- In another part of town, Donald Storm thought about the war as well, particularly the sacrifices that soldiers made securing a country that’s now in a new stage of chaos.
“I feel a great sense of loss, but it just didn’t occur now,” Storm said. “It occurred when we started telling people our plans” to leave.
Storm is speaking as the former top official of the Kentucky National Guard, a man with 37 years in the military who saw 14 of his citizen-soldiers die in Iraq and another in Afghanistan.
“It’s disappointing. It’s disappointing,” he said. “I don’t think anybody associated with the operations in Iraq thought we could just leave these folks and they would have the infrastructure or anything else to sustain without some kind of help in the long term.”
“You either win a war or you lose a war,” he added. “You don’t just walk away from it.”
- At the AMVETS Post 116 south of town, a wall is adorned with photos of fatigue-clad soldiers. One shows a young Joe Gross, perched atop an anti-aircraft gun named “Whispering Death.”
“They’re doing what they did in Vietnam,” he said. “We’ve got the might. But politics is what’s killing everything.”
- Among those veterans are young ones such as Adam Campbell, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan, eventually spending 280 days in a hospital bed recuperating and undergoing five surgeries.
“I honestly feel we pulled out of Iraq too soon,” he said. “It was something done to gain political favor. All the loss we had, all the guys who made tremendous sacrifices. And for what?”
- And they are older ones, such as Bill Jones, who helps lead a local chapter of Disabled American Veterans. Pulling out of Iraq “was the worst mistake we could have ever done,” he said.
“I thought it at the time, and I still do,” he said over coffee at a Waffle House. “If you go and you spill your blood over there, and you come back and then it was all for naught – why did you go to start with? It doesn’t make any sense. Why sacrifice our men and woman in uniform if you’re not going to try to win the war?”