News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 1, 2013

RONN MOTT: Reflecting on the costs of war

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Memorial Day, which we celebrated Monday, began during the Civil War when women decorated the graves of Union soldiers. Since that time it has become a national holiday set aside for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the country.  

In my lifetime, I have watched America bury soldiers, sailors and airmen from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Some of those young people who died in these conflicts might have found a cure for cancer, and even learned to come to some sort of agreement with other countries that have conflicting views. By the way, the aforementioned wars should include the little flare-ups where our men and women have gone to fight and die.  

There are many family members who are wondering on this Memorial Day if it was worth it. There has to be an argument made that, per chance, it wasn’t.

I think history has proven that World War II was, indeed, worth it. It got a little more iffy in the war on the Korean peninsula. It is amazing … the North Koreans were crazy then, and they still are. The Vietnam War did not change the land that was fought over with about 50,000 dead Americans. I suppose saving the oil was a worthwhile project for Desert Storm, but everything since then can be answered by question mark after question mark after question mark.

Can we really justify all the dead Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan?  

When it all gets said and done, eastern Iraq (where all of their oil wells are) will be a puppet state for Iran or perhaps be controlled or owned totally by the Iranians. The Kurds in the Iraq northeast will hold on to their small piece of freedom and Afghanistan will fall back into tribal anarchy, a state of affairs they all know so well. Syria, where we have no troops on the ground, may be the biggest mess of all.

The cost in resources and lives is simply too heavy a price to pay for what the results are going to be. I pray some day we are smart enough not to be having wars over things we truly cannot control. It would be wonderful on some Memorial Day if we had no new dead soldiers to remember.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print

and online editions on Saturday.