Letters to the Editor

July 24, 2014

Iraqi training issue isn't anything new

I would like to respond a recent Sound-Off comment, "Training didn't take."

The caller asked: Are the Iraqi troops who abandoned their posts as Islamic fighters took over more area the same Iraqi troops that the U.S. spent millions of dollars training, providing uniforms, paying a salary and providing weapons? I hate to say, but the answer is "yes." However, such a thing is nothing new.

In World War II, Italian troops sometimes gave up without a fight. In Vietnam, South Vietnamese troops during the Lam Son incursion into Laos in 1971 (two years after the Vietnamization program had begun) ran off and left behind good American equipment that had been supplied to them. In 1975, when the South Vietnamese retreated from Hue they left behind nearly a billion dollars worth of equipment. As the North Vietnamese advanced on Saigon, South Vietnamese officers were running away and deserting their units; soldiers were discarding their uniforms and melting into the local population.

It was once said: "The biggest gap in the world is the gap between the justice of a cause and the motives of the people pushing it." As for proper or sufficient motives to push a cause, the Italians did not have it, the South Vietnamese did not have it and now the Iraqis seem no better.

Frank B. Austin

O'Fallon

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