Comments offend

I am a newly-returned veteran of the Gulf War (6 months), and I took offense at Mr. Schneider’s comments in the Gulf War cover story dated Jan. 17 in the Northern Star.

The article states that he “doesn’t see anti-war students as being different from war supporters. Once (the draft) was done away, the anti-war movement faded,” said Schneider, who then became disillusioned with students’ fair-weathered commitment to anti-war. Those comments compared the support for the soldiers to the fair-weathered anti-war support of Vietnam. I disagree strongly with that. I saw hundreds of “to any service person” letters just being sent to my company. I saw that as a genuine show of support for our soldiers in the Gulf. I responded to several myself and am still in contact with many of them.

From your comments, you were involved in the Vietnam protests. Were you disappointed by the lack of support of your views for this war by students?

You said, “(Students) haven’t lived through wars like their parents remember.” Students saw friends, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers mobilized. It was the first massive mobilization since Vietnam. They faced the possibility of their loved ones coming back dead, dismembered or emotionally disturbed. How is that different?

“We assumed there was going to be real fighting.” Anytime an enemy has guns, bombs and missiles with chemical capability that is real fighting. The Iraqi soldiers who didn’t fight were put in POW camps and treated according to the Geneva Convention.

“It was a massacre.” What is the object of war? It’s to inflict as much damage to the enemy with minimal expenditure until conclusion. There were enemy soldiers in tanks and fighting positions which posed a threat to our armed forces.

The U.S. military launched aerial strikes to wipe out known military sites. Were our pilots too good? Should we only have used weapons which were available to Iraq? The Iraqi military proved itself an able adversary by their treatment of our POW’s and by lighting the oil fires when they had few strategic options left.

“There wasn’t real war.” Desert Storm wasn’t as long as WWI or WWII. It held the same emotions for family, friends and community during mobilization and for those who gave their lives or limbs. I can’t see any difference. Is the difference the body count? How much death and/or dismemberment does it take to qualify for a real war? Our soldiers were under the threat of death. Pilots had to endure anti-aircraft fire. The ground troops dealt with Scud attacks, which took 28 reservists’ lives in the barracks explosion. The Iraqi Air Force flew over our ships fully loaded with missiles. Is there a difference in fearing for your life in 1967 or 1991?

Desert Storm had protesters, like a real war. If it’s numbers you were looking for, they may have been less but they were there. I would have expected a little less bias and inflammatory wording coming from an instructor here at NIU.

James Clesceri

ODS Veteran


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