By Bill Franz
This is in response to guest opinion in Thursday’s edition.
I have great admiration for those who serve our country. Several members of my family served in WWII and Vietnam and I volunteered with Wounded Warriors. That being said, I find absurd, with all due respect, Stalin’s recitation of assassinations of his generals and dissident political leaders for their lack of performance and the paralleling with the current committee hearings. A committee meeting to uncover the facts and circumstances of illegal acts committed by an entire administration, not just a single individual, that threaten our democracy and the rule of law, against the actions of a sociopath committing atrocious acts to stay in power? Go on. Stalinism defined a regime of terror and totalitarian rule. The real parallel here is that of Stalin and Trump both wanting to stay in power and their belief that “the end justifies the means” to do so, although Trump’s means are less radical. But questionable, if not illegal, it means all the same.
Ignoring the fact that it was the Trump administration that brokered the Doha withdrawal agreement with the Taliban (February 2020) without the participation of the Afghan government, as well as the release of 5,000 Taliban soldiers by May 1 2021, is a practical forgetfulness. A deal with the Taliban? Oh good? If the Biden administration is to be criticized regarding the withdrawal, we should at least look at some of the facts such as Biden’s ability to extend the withdrawal date from May to August 2021 so that some kind of plan can be formulated since the Trump administration did not. I don’t have a detailed plan on how to withdraw, just force reduction numbers and dates. Even General Frank McKenzie and other top military officials have tied much of the fiasco of the Afghan government’s withdrawal and collapse to Trump’s deal with the Taliban.
No withdrawal of troops after a war is without incident. Eisenhower (Republican) of Korea 1953 had to leave troops in South Korea, and we still have nearly 30,000 troops there to this day. And there are still 68 Colorado POWs/MIAs listed by the Department of Defense.
Nixon and Ford (Republicans) began withdrawing their troops from Vietnam in 1973, but US servicemen were still killed in 1975. Charles McMahon and Darwin Judge would be the last two US servicemen to die in Vietnam, and that was in April 1975. And even after the signing of the World War II armistice with Germany on May 7, 1945, in Reims, France, Pfc. Charley Havlat, believed to be the last American serviceman killed in World War II, was ambushed and killed.
The footage of the last helicopters evacuating people from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon and the videos of helicopter thrusts from the flight decks of aircraft carriers certainly show us that an orderly withdrawal of troops and civilians after a war is not without incident. According to my research, helicopters were used because the runways at Saigon airport were under fire and fixed-wing aircraft could not be used. This was happening while American diplomats and personnel were still being evacuated. The real problem is overlooked in all of this. We entered or started wars that we could not win, Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. And the Democratic and Republican administrations share the blame.
And finally, regarding the absence of defense witnesses at committee hearings and committee members hand-picked by Pelosi: so far, it appears no defense witness has been willing to lend oath to tell the truth. Either they defy the subpoenas or they plead the Fifth. Hmm. And the five Republican members initially appointed by McCarthy to the January 6 committee (Banks, Davis, Jordan, Armstrong and Nehls) were selected solely to obstruct hearings, not to seek the truth. Any rational adult can see it. Banks, Jordan and Nehls voted against certifying the election, even though 60 court cases, Trump’s attorney general and numerous other high-level elected and appointed Republican state and federal employees have all concluded that the election was fair. Putting any of those five Republicans on the committee would have been like inviting the fox into the henhouse. And for clarity, this proverb describes a set of circumstances in which someone who should not be trusted has been chosen to oversee a situation; the choice involves someone directly unfit for the task or likely to exploit the opportunity. Common sense.
Dr. Bill Franz has been a 24-year Loveland resident, author, and retired associate professor.