Letters to the Editor

'Win or retreat'

"I doubt if this nation ever before has found itself in a battle for her very existence where any public official or group of officials automatically foreclosed the possibility of victory ... the opposite of victory is defeat -- not coexistence or compromise. For the first time in our history that glorious word victory seems to be slipping out of our national vocabulary."

That was written in 1962 by then Sen. Barry Goldwater, in his book, "Why Not Victory?" This brief quote starkly reveals the state of American will and determination prior to the Vietnam War. Even before that war began and long before the widespread protests that ended it, the seeds of defeat were deeply planted and obviously flourishing.

Compared with many of today's leaders, the defeatists of that era were slackers. Now, even after repeated direct attacks beginning with the embassy hostage crisis of 1980 and culminating in the tragedy of 9/11, too many leaders apparently believe we can reason, cajole and appease our way to lasting peace.

The disdain shown by these leaders for warning after warning through nearly three decades of ever-building violence now demands a singular decision -- to win or retreat.

G.V. Ricketts