Foreign Policy

U.S. Soldiers Deserve More than Tributes on Veterans Day

| by Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

On Veterans Day, Americans will recognize the courage and valor of those who
have served in the military. But our soldiers deserve more than tributes.

“What we owe these men who fight so bravely for their and our freedom,” writes Alex
Epstein
, a fellow with the Ayn Rand Center, “is to send them to war only when that freedom
is truly threatened, and to make every
effort to protect their lives during war--by providing them with the most
advantageous weapons, training, strategy, and tactics possible.

“Shamefully, America has repeatedly failed to meet this obligation. It has
repeatedly placed soldiers in harm’s way when no threat to America
existed--e.g., to quell tribal conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. And
the current war in Iraq--which could have had a valid purpose as a first step
in ousting the terrorist-sponsoring, anti-American regimes of the Middle
East--is responsible for thousands of unnecessary American deaths in pursuit of
the sacrificial goal of ‘civilizing’ Iraq by enabling Iraqis to select any
government they wish, no matter how anti-American.

“In addition to being sent on ill-conceived, ‘humanitarian’ missions, our
soldiers have been compromised with crippling rules of engagement that place
the lives of civilians in enemy territory above their own. In Afghanistan we
refused to bomb many top leaders out of their hideouts for fear of civilian
casualties; these men continue to kill American soldiers.

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“To send soldiers into war without a clear self-defense purpose, and without
providing them every possible protection, is a betrayal of their valor and a
violation of their rights.

“This Veterans Day, we must call for a stop to the sacrifice of our soldiers
and condemn all those who demand it. It is only by doing so that we can truly
honor not only our dead, but also our living: American soldiers who have the
courage to defend their freedom and ours.”