"...that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..." -- Abraham Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address
While the U.S. military in recent years has had a difficult time winning wars, it has had an easier time surrendering to political correctness and social experimentation. Arguments against gays in the military were rejected, and now there is a push to allow women in front-line combat positions, though many believe most women do not have the upper body strength to carry heavy loads on their backs or perform in ways that achieve the mission and protect their comrades.
Last week a new challenge emerged that could present an even greater threat to military effectiveness and unit cohesion. At a Pentagon news conference, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said that the capital of Anbar province in Iraq, Ramadi, is not central to the U.S. and Iraqi aims of defeating the forces of the Islamic State.
During the counterinsurgency campaign in Anbar province between April 2004 and September 2007, 1,335 Americans and nearly 9,000 Iraqis died in the battle for Fallujah and Ramadi. Perhaps Gen. Dempsey should have told them in advance that their sacrifice would not be worth it. Their lives might have been spared.
In 2004, the commander of the Marine garrison, Major General James Mattis, said, "If we don't hold the government center, if we don't hold the provincial capital, the rest of the province goes to h--l in a handbasket."
What kind of military is it when civilian and some military leaders brag about supposed social progress, but can't seem to find the will to win wars? What kind of country sends its young men and women into combat without a clear vision for victory and then, when they are killed or maimed, says, "never mind"?
In exchanging five Taliban terrorists for the accused deserter, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Obama administration officials justified their decision by invoking the American tradition of leaving no soldier behind.
With his remarks about Ramadi not mattering, Gen. Dempsey has reached a new low. He has left dead soldiers and their memory behind, abandoning them to their graves, effectively telling those who knew and loved them that their sacrifice was in vain.
His comments are disgraceful. He owes more than an apology. He should retire.