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One disgruntled vet doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. military upholds world order

One disgruntled vet doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. military upholds world order
U.S. Army soldiers man a checkpoint in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. (Wakil Koshar / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Army veteran Danny Sjursen dismisses our military as a “war machine” that is “carrying water for empire” in “Orwellian forever wars.” Ironically, it was just this sort of jaundiced view and doubt to the point of paranoia that brought us the troubles we face today.

It was reasonable to hunt Osama bin Laden and his enablers, but it was delusional to ask our military to transform Afghanistan into a democratic partner. It made sense to pressure Saddam Hussein into verifiable disarmament, but it was a paranoid mind-set that led us to destroy his regime, opening a Pandora’s box.

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Still, there are nations that wish us ill. Appeasing them will not keep them away forever. Only a jaundiced eye can ignore the duty we have to meet their threat.

America is the strength that upholds the fairest and most prosperous international system the world has ever known. The idea that we have a right and a duty to do some good in the world is what makes our alliances strong and people flock to this country.

Ben Lowsen, Alexandria, Va.

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To the editor: I extend a heartfelt thanks to Sjursen for his op-ed article. Like him, I struggle with my time as a cog in the U.S. killing machine known as the Department of Defense.

I often think of the flag-draped coffins coming off cargo planes at my base. They would wait until late at night to offload them, while most of the base was sound asleep.

I wish I could tell Sjursen that it will all be OK one day, but I don’t know if that is possible. Instead I will just tell him this: Welcome home.

Christopher Hughes, Portland, Ore.

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