U.S. has forgotten how to fight a war

Writer Cal Thomas said in his opinion of June 18, “While it’s true we can’t be the policemen of the world, we can be its prisoners in a world ruled by Islamic fundamentalists.”

Iraq? It’s deja vu all over again. America has lost its ability to fight an opponent.

In Korea in the early fifties, America fought not only the North Koreans but also fought the communist Chinese and Russians, and since American forces where below the 38th parallel in Korea only at the request of the Korean people, America fought to “defend” that nation and fought on the defensive.

In March of 1967, I had the privilege of serving in Seoul, “South Korea,” while temporarily separated from the U.S. Army and while assigned to the “United Nations Forces” there.

The Korean people of Seoul made no secret of the fact that they were still at war with their countrymen to the north and under a “truce agreement” with them. Those people did NOT want to recognize “North Korea” as an independent nation and the United Nations was in Seoul to “defend” it. After all, America withdrew its defenses in the south in 1953.

I was sent back to America at the beginning of April 1967, but it wasn’t long before I got orders to go back overseas to APO San Francisco 96238, Quinhon, Democratic Republic of South Vietnam.

I was scared stiff at the sight of those orders and the fear did NOT end when I arrived in country and saw just exactly what the Army was doing there.

We were “defending” the ARVN forces, and at no time did we go after the opposition. I saw black pajamas walk through the Vo-tahn Valley and recognized them as people whose sole job was to defeat and kill their opponents.

The VC and the NVA could openly carry their AK-47s and AK-50s and the American Army would just have to let them pass as long as they weren’t using those weapons against us.

On Feb. 2, 1968 I had to climb into a guard tower to “relieve” a dead soldier whose assignment was post number 2 of the Quinhon Airfield, but since he was dead he couldn’t do his duties any longer.

After climbing into the tower and reporting to the sergeant of the guard over the radio that I was on duty in the tower, moments later I started to hear the loud bang, ssskkk, bang, ssskkk of bullets passing my ears.

I reported to the S.O.G. over the radio that I was getting shot at. I have heard that sergeant’s reply, “Is he enemy?” a million times over in my mind since that day.

I could “defend” that tower but I could NOT go on the offense against anyone in the process. If where those shots were being fired from was while crossing the perimeter fence or within the perimeter I could not return fire.

On a football field the offensive team’s sole purpose is to put points on the scoreboard and the defensive team’s job is only to try and prevent those points. It is the offense that wins the game.

America “defended” Korea, America “defended” Vietnam and today America is “defending” Iraq while the offense puts the points on the board and will eventually win the game unless America sends in its offensive team.

But of course, you can’t win a peace prize while on the offense, can you, Mr. President?

John Romph
Fayetteville, Ga.