I am writing this letter with a definite point of view and bias. I was opposed to the war in Vietnam. However, because I believe that a resident has a duty to serve his country, I enlisted in 1968. I served a tour of duty in Vietnam with a line platoon of combat engineers. In addition, I had three nephews who served a total of six tours in the most recent Iraq War. One of them is now buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
I am white hot with anger when I hear individuals such as Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Sen. Lindsey Graham and former senator Rick Santorum, plus other like-minded individuals, indicate that they are opposed to the appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense because he is too reticent toward the use of military power by the United States. The majority of the individuals opposing Sen. Hagel's nomination never went into harm's way for this country and have never loaded one third to one half of their body weight on their backs and walked into combat.
These so-called neoconservatives don't have a particularly good track record. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cost us 6,587 dead and 50,114 wounded at a cost of $1.5 trillion. We never found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and the Taliban have not been fully eliminated in Afghanistan.
I strongly encourage Sens. McCaskill and Blunt to vote for Sen. Hagel's confirmation to the office of Secretary of Defense.
JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau