Cover Story: Veterans speak out on two wars

By Jeff Atkinson - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - President Obama talking with his national security team discussing options for winning the war in Afghanistan, a war some say we're losing. 
It's also a war that's being compared to Vietnam. 
There are a lot of similarities.  The commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan has asked historians if there's anything we learned in Vietnam that can be applied to Afghanistan. 
At a Veterans Day rally we ask what Vietnam vets think about the two wars.

"Need to remember that the American military is at war. Americans are at the mall," said one vet.

It was that attitude of indifference and an abundance of protest that caused America to pull out of Vietnam, the country's longest and most crippling war, the only one the U.S. ever lost.

And now with the war in Afghanistan costing more lives and dragging on eight years with no forseeable end in sight and President Obama weighing a decision whether to send in another 40 thousand troops comparisons of the two wars can't help but be made in the press and on the street.


At the memorial service near the Square put on by the Carolinas Freedom Foundation veterans, some of Vietnam veterans have not forgotten.  We asked if there is any lessons that we can apply to Afghanistan one truth rings out.
"If you don't want to win.. don't get in the thing to start with."
General Stanley McChrystal commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan is drawing on lessons learned in Iraq the strategy of bringing in more troopers the surge turned the tide in that country.
And that approach seems to meet the approval of many of these veterans.


Not all agree with that, however.
One veteran said, "Why are we there continuing this war against a country that doesn't care about who we are and we're not going to win this. And why should we waste more American lives on something that the public is losing confidence in?"
But others ask how can we leave now? It was to stop the terrorists that we went into Afghanistan.

Veteran Quincy Collins said, "There are people out there who don't want you and I to even exist. They want to do away with our way of life. When are we going to stop pussy footing around and admit who they are?"

Many now say the U.S. could have won the Vietnam war if the money was never cut off. Others say not to use Vietnam to justify sending more troops in.

Military commanders in Afghanistan are asking for 40,000 more troops.  President Obama is said to be considering four options, though the White House isn't offering details.


The war is costing the U.S. $40 billion a year and countless numbers of lives.