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Costly Wars and Conflicts – A Combat Veteran’s Perspective The Book “Senseless Wars and Conflicts,” Revisited

Costly Wars and Conflicts – A Combat Veteran’s Perspective
The Book “Senseless Wars and Conflicts,” Revisited

David D. Emmons

What I wrote in the book “Senseless Wars and Conflicts” are my Vietnam memoirs in the first half of this book, and the second half is my perspective (opinion) of what are senseless wars and conflicts. I included a few facts, but I did not want this book to be loaded with statistics to bore the reader. I gave just enough statistics to show the losses we took in the souls of brave soldiers and the tax money we lost. In another approach to this book (revisited), I want to discuss the diplomatic side of each of these conflicts, why I must take in the enormous scope of why conflicts are started, and the long-range goals of those nations involved in the development of diplomacy.
Wars are terrible to witness, and soldiers go through very mind-numbing events that they never recover from. If it is your country where the fighting occurs, it seems like Armageddon, or you feel you are in hell. Your cities are bombed to the ground, and you lose loved ones. It looks like the end of the world. Can you imagine how the people in war zones feel seeing people die and their homes demolished by bombings? But wars happen for a reason.

The reasons are not what we might think they are to us soldiers or victims of wars. Diplomatic representatives see and hear the reality of why wars begin. We are given enough information, like; “we need to defend ourselves from our enemy,” as conveyed by our Country’s leadership.
I saw the carnage in Vietnam in 1969 as a US soldier, where the Viet Cong killed innocent people, and our bombings accidentally killed civilians. Still, we did not target civilians—only the enemy. The Russian army targets infrastructure in Ukraine because they are taking tremendous losses on the battlefield fighting the Ukraine military. When they are losing, the Russian army started bombing civilian targets, schools, and hospitals, making lives miserable for innocent civilians. These bombing campaigns were to break their will to continue the war. The USA is not directly involved in this Russian Vs. Ukraine war. The United States, amongst other European Countries, is supplying war equipment and humanitarian supplies to aid Ukraine.

The reason for supporting Ukraine is that Russia is a communist State and a threat to the west. Communism does not fit into the plans of a peaceful world in the “New World Order.”
Civilian casualties Happen in all wars, for example, in Germany in the 1940s. The Allies bombed Berlin to the ground, killing civilians, which diplomats considered collateral damage. While in Vietnam, I spoke to Vietnamese people and saw how they had to live in a tumultuous environment. They did not care what government took control of their country. Of course, the US did not want communist North Vietnam to take over South Vietnam. The domino effect was the fear that the West and democratic governments were concerned about because they feared other countries would fall under communist control.
I always wondered why we were fighting an unnecessary conflict in Vietnam while serving in the Army and why we were there.

I was referred to a book (Henry Kissinger’s DIPLOMACY), and I read a lot of the book to find out why Vietnam and other wars had to be fought. It would seem there is a much more significant reason why we fight battles to obtain containment of the enemy to push towards world peace eventually. Having success in the containment of any rogue government would always be very painful with losses. The efforts of obtaining a “balance of power” between nations would have to be achieved first with commerce between all the countries for freedom and survival.
As Henry Kissinger said in his book Diplomacy, “diplomacy shapes our world”. Diplomacy offers insights into how international relations play out behind closed doors. I remember Mr. Kissinger, a brilliant statesman, and negotiator as a Secretary of State under President Nixon. He was in office during my year in Vietnam, and his diplomacy was the driving force behind trying to end the Vietnam War in an honorable way to create the so-called “balance of power” and convictions of prominent political leaders. As I was fighting in the trenches with my fellow soldiers in Vietnam, the politicians and diplomats made the decisions that would end the fighting. My fellow soldiers and I did not understand that we were part of the making of the future of this planet by fighting this war. We knew this would not be the last war or conflict that our country would fight in the name of freedom. We just felt we performed our duty for our country, but little did we know it was for the world in the never-ending search for total peace. Would that emotion inside me cleanse the feelings of anger and disillusion at the time? No! Not during those years in Vietnam, as I stated in my book “Senseless Wars and Conflicts,” I had bitter feelings for that war.

Now I see things differently as I mature and see the real purpose of fighting for peace.
Since Vietnam, we have had several special operations in Panama, Grenada, Libya, Angola, and western Africa, and some not mentioned that we don’t know about. In 1983, it was a civil war in Grenada, and we helped oust the dictator and replace him with a democratic leader. Panama was also a small invasion to capture Manuel Noriega and arrest him for drug smuggling. Our diplomats saw those incursions differently than we, the public, did. They were eliminating dictators spawning an “imbalance of power” in their countries and destabilizing them. Governments must decide what role they want to play on the international stage. It can move forward only when a nation has a clear, focused agenda.
The USA’s history is one of the missionary beginnings in the 1600s to isolationist throughout its history until 1917 during America’s involvement in the First World War. Our country’s military and people were led more by faith than experience during the beginning of international involvement. America was the beacon crusader after WWI, and it envisioned a normal Global international order based on democracy, free commerce, and international law. The US and European nations created the “League of Nations,” “The United Nations,” and the NATO agreement in the following years.

This was the beginning of world peace. They thought the “New World Order” would be adopted worldwide and peace would be implemented in all Nations. The NWO is not new, as people or even ex-soldiers like me would have understood the world-changing event long ago if we had just studied diplomacy. Being a soldier limits one’s knowledge to only fighting a war and leaving diplomacy to the diplomats. As a soldier, my job was to fight for freedom, not dictate policy like a diplomat. I did not see the whole picture of the future of a free world and being a part of sustaining our fight for freedom.
In Kissinger’s book, he speaks about two overlying points. First, world leaders are most effective when they balance their domestic needs and what benefits the international community. While in Vietnam, I was totally under the impression that North Vietnam wanted to unite South Vietnam for occupation reasons. And to be more powerful in the eyes of the international community. Of course, to gain the resources the South has for commerce. Secondly, the most successful world leaders generally follow realpolitik, a pragmatic approach to politics—a realistic direction based on practical rather than theoretical consideration. In Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh took this approach to rejoin the South with North Vietnam to give the people reunification of their country, making it one Vietnam. For practical purposes that seemed to be his primary goal, but the spreading of communism was also his driving force for unification. The allies’ loss of South Vietnam set back the democratic movement putting in place a communist regime. This, in turn, caused us soldiers that fought that war to feel like losers.

The diplomats had to do some talking to make it an honorable pullout. The communist governments supported North Vietnam; the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; the United States and other anti-communist allies supported South Vietnam. The war was widely considered to be a Cold War-era proxy war. Indirectly fighting China through military battles in South Vietnam.
In other conflicts like Korea, the US and its allies helped the South Korean government, which was anti-communist, to help the South Korean government to defend itself against the North Korean government, a communist country. The reason the US and other anti-communist allies fight back against the communist countries is to stop the spread of anti-democratic forms of government. Communists take away the rights and freedoms of the people they control. They are making it difficult for the New World Order peace agenda. Imposing these ideas of freedom, liberty, and opportunities on communist governments, which they are not ready for in their ideology and societal structures, makes for political disruption worldwide. There have been disastrous outcomes from military interventions in countries that the US has invaded to push the democratic ideology of freedom – like North Vietnam and North Korea.
Personal opinions often shape how leaders analyze specific situations. Kissinger mentions the dangers of letting personal beliefs get in the way of sound political decision-making. In my book “Senseless Wars,” I let the emotional anger over the fighting in Vietnam consume me. We soldiers did not understand the war’s politics and diplomacy. Now it is clear that it is much larger than one country and one war. It is the world we must examine to win freedom for all of society. Looking at it from a worldview gives me solace that what I did was right, and the losses were inevitable on both sides of the fighting. After considering historical political crises in detail, we can turn to the future and how our current leaders can shape the world. And I hope they decide more for a peaceful world order amongst all nations.
The other wars I mentioned in my book, “Senseless Wars’ were Afghanistan and Iraq. Looking closely at these conflicts, I see America taking a defensive role in the fighting and getting a coalition of European countries to help fight the wars.

Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq in 1991, invaded Kuwait to take control of their oil fields. What started as a boundary disagreement between Iraq and Kuwait ended with Saddam Hussein ordering his army to attack and take possession of Kuwait’s oil. After considerable diplomatic efforts by the US and European diplomats, they hit a standstill in negotiations. Hussein would not leave Kuwait and its oil riches. Henry Kissinger, a man with immense intelligence for negotiating, could not move the deadlock. President Bush of the US ordered the American military to prepare to push Iraq back out of Kuwait. All the allies knew this was a massive infringement upon a sovereign nation and that they should seek a solution tantamount to world peace and order. Diplomacy failed, so a military solution was imposed upon Iraq, and within several weeks, Saddam Hussein’s military was defeated by the allies’ coalition. If a free world is to exist, a country invading another country to enrich itself is against the world peace initiative or New World Order. Iraq was way beyond the balance of its domestic needs, and actions did not benefit the international community.
Afghanistan was a little different war. Usama Bin Laden, leader of the Afghanistan Al-Qaeda terrorists, organized a large army to wage war through terrorist attacks worldwide. He helped mastermind the 9/11 September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York.

Several thousand people were killed in that attack. President George Bush (Junior) announced to the American people that these terrorists would pay for what they had done. Within weeks the American Airforce started its bombing campaigns in Afghanistan, hitting targets with Al-Qaeda terrorist camps. There are few diplomatic measures to take when a sovereign nation has been attacked first. It is then a matter of self-defense because freedom was attacked that day on 9/11. This war in Afghanistan would continue from October 7, 2001 – August 30, 2021. The longest war the US and its allies have ever fought. The money spent on this war was in the trillions of dollars, and the lives lost were over twenty-five hundred. This war was a must to fight because of the terrorist threat around the world. Terrorists are trying to unbalance the international community by fear tactics to put in place their ideology, eventually. Free and democratic countries could not allow this terrorist ideology to obliterate world peace.
In both wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, the stakes were very high for diplomats trying to use diplomacy with a group of terrorists that don’t negotiate peace. Diplomacy turned more into an intelligence-gathering effort by the allies to find and destroy terrorist targets before they struck vulnerable free people around the globe. These intelligence agencies work night and day to keep up with terrorist movements. Since President Biden’s early withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, Afghanistan has become a hotbed of terrorism, with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban running the country. In the pullout of American and allied troops, President Biden left billions of dollars of military equipment for the terrorists to use or sell. This was not good diplomacy in this pullout situation. We must be concerned about a resurgence of the terrorist threat to the world in Afghanistan – meaning, nothing is accomplished in diplomacy or the military.

Diplomats reflect on the lessons nations learned – or failed to have an understanding of their conflicts and the diplomacy used in wars they have fought. These bad or good decisions made by leaders during conflicts will still affect policy and diplomacy today. Nevertheless, nations must strive for peace to achieve a balance of power and embrace “Worldwide Peace.”
I noticed that the soldiers in these latter wars are prouder of their service performed today. The Vietnam war stirred emotions from the civilians protesting and ex-soldiers demonstrating against the war. The news media and the Democratic party at that time were also disengaging in the war effort and playing politics with the other party (Republicans – Nixon). These anti-war movements did nothing for our country and our allies’ unity and peace objectives. This can be called the diplomacy of the people putting pressure on ending the war in Vietnam. This war has affected our diplomacy and negotiating powers in conflicts because of the trust factor of the people in our governments and setting world peace agendas back a few steps. As Kissinger said, the world is becoming increasingly less focused on national governance and more focused on supranationalism; we can draw comparisons with the centuries-old dilemma of certain authorities wielding excessive political control over large territories.
This is a subject that I have been delaying in this article because it is now a big question today. “The Cold War” between the Western powers and the communist powers like; Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Terrorism in the Middle East has always been a problem for all free nations and some communist nations, but it can be contained if countries join forces to help eliminate the problem. The cold war started after World War Two with the fall of Germany and Japan.

The Soviet Union, at the end of WWII, took possession of Eastern Germany as their gain from the war. That was when the Soviet Union wanted to separate from the Western countries and resolve to be a communist dictatorship. Being allies during WWII, the Soviet Union and the Western allies quickly failed in diplomacy that would maintain their friendly nation status. With the advent of the nuclear bomb, both the US and Soviet Union started on a path to military competition and military build-up since the fear that they were polarized opposites in political and world views. Hence, the beginning of the “Cold War,” commonly referred to as a period of geopolitical tension between the US and Soviet Union (Russia) and their perspective allies. Most say the Cold War started with the Truman Doctrine on March 12, 1947, to the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991. “Cold War” meant there was no actual kinetic fighting but threats and massive spying directed at each other. Paranoia in how their perspectives of trust for each other played out. As Henry Kissinger said, universality (shared by all) is opposed to equilibrium (opposing forces and influences are balanced) by enemy states.
The” Cold War” also presented the problem of The Dilemma of Victors, the splitting up of Germany and shared control by the Western powers of West Germany (US) and the Soviet Union controlling East Germany when the Berlin wall was built in 1961 and stood until 1989 increasing tensions of the Cold War. After a massive war with the destruction of the enemy’s infrastructure, the victor usually must pay for reconstruction (all allies included) to either take possession of the territory or rebuild civilians in a humanitarian way. This is also what Kissinger was alluding to with “The Dilemma of the Victors.” It also must be said that you cannot change a person or culture, which is a dilemma. No country defeated on the battlefield has ever really changed its ideology and culture – why should they? In wars, both sides take enormous losses in human souls’ loss and expenditures in money. In studying diplomacy after my book, it seems to give more meaning to the world peace initiative NOW.

Sacrifices must be made to have unity and peace on the planet. The past is the past; we must look more to the future. We should focus more on the enlightenment of the universe, including the political sphere operated according to rational principles which balance each other (Kissinger).
Are we in a new “cold war?” It is said that US politics have become contradictory because of the political parties having very divided differences in governing. And that Europe is only interested in its interests, which is dangerous because Europe did help shape the very global political system that is now in danger of falling apart without its intervention. With China increasing military status and financial strength, it has become a threat to the free world with its communist intimidation of smaller countries like Taiwan. The US, allies, and the Chinese government exchange threats and financial reprisals.

China is now flexing its muscles to be a world leader surpassing the US. With Russia, North Korea, and Iran joining the axis (all communist nations) and increasing war-like rhetoric, it would seem, yes, we are in another cold war. Although Kissinger promotes US dominance on the international stage, he argues that if the US does not maintain its military and financial strength, it could fall behind China.
With Russia and the Ukrainian countries fighting a war at present, it has been destabilizing the world economy and the threat of a wider war – WWIII. Nobody knows all the reasons for this Ukraine war.
Still, we can only theorize that Russia wants Ukraine’s natural resources and a travel path to the sea for shipping and military usage. It can also be deduced that the European countries and the US are fighting a proxy war with Russia. Using the Ukrainian country as a place to help destroy the Russian Empire by supplying the Ukrainian military with money and weapons to stop Putin in his tracks, making his country insignificant as a world threat and, in a sense, eliminating Russia as a wall to stop the world peace movement. For these reasons alone, Russia is part of the return of the cold war.

The problems for the US and the Western allies, where they turn to next to express détente with all these discontents like the communist countries. Peace with all countries is still elusive, but we cannot give up trying to establish a more peaceful world.
In today’s political climate, country leaders are fighting the covid epidemic, high inflation, energy shortages, crime and disorder in the streets, and the threats of war looming with Russia and the Chinese taking over in the South Pacific region. There is a fear that these countries and North Korea will threaten the free world. As in most wars, it is to the men of action, not the men of words, to whom the people turn – governors, not legislators or members of Congress, who are acting, as states outbid one another for critical policies to help get the economy and security of their nation in a stabilized style of governance.

We must struggle to heal the world of its financial and security problems with all freedom-loving countries involved.
Henry Kissinger calls for a New World Order to help heal a dangerous world. We are starting with how we trust China after the virus pandemic. Yet, the ingredients Kissinger considers essential for establishing the New World Order appear to be in short supply today. Sustaining public trust is crucial to international peace and stability. When it’s over, will we be the same America?

The text represents the point of view of the author.

Brief Biography
Graduated High School Illinois – Honor Roll – IQ 138
Lewis & Clark College Illinois – Associate Degree
Broadcast Center St. Louis Mo. – TV & Radio Broadcasting School
Lindenwood College – Communications St. Charles Mo.
U.S. Army 1968 to 1971 – Top Secret Clearance Nuclear Weapons Training. Combat Platoon Sergeant in Vietnam 1969-70
Worked as an Electrician while going to school part-time.
Played music with a Family band (Brothers) for 45 years as a Drummer and Guitar player.
Worked for two small businesses as a manager.
Worked in FM/AM Radio Stations voicing Ads (Commercials). Voice-over work for training films.
Owned my own Restaurant and Night Club.
Worked as Team Leader at an Oil Refinery.
Worked with Red Cross as Shelter and Disaster Manager. I also worked with AmeriCorps assisting the elderly.
Retired. But still playing music, Hosting Radio/Video Shows, and writing books. Three books so far in one year – this year, 2022.

David D. Emmons

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