Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

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

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.

“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.”