To the editor:

In 1970, I was a part of the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. We were the primary unit involved in the Cambodian Incursion. It was an offensive directed against the supply routes to the Viet Cong from North Vietnam.

Upon completion of the operation. the 25th Infantry Division stood down and was returned to Hawaii. It was the beginning of the withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam. It was 1973 when the withdrawal was completed with the implementation of the Paris Peace Accords.

President Trump has abruptly withdrawn troops stationed in northern Syria. They were there to help stop the resurgence of Islamic State. He said he was bringing the troops home. He was fulfilling a campaign promise.

While I vigorously support the concept of bringing our troops home, I remember that when the 25th stood down in 1970 the "colors" went back to Hawaii but most of the troops, including me, were reassigned in country.

This morning, I have read that the Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed that one thousand of the troops being brought home from Syria are being repositioned in western Iraq. Their mission will be to “help stop the resurgence of Islamic State.” Home is 7,000 miles away.

Believe what you will, but these troops are not coming home. Last week, Secretary Esper announced that 2,000-3,000 additional troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia. There are reports that 14,000 Americans have been deployed to the region since May. The Defense Department has said that  “they are there to defend our interests and to help Saudi defend itself.”

What are our interests? Really? Somehow I thought they were “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Peter O’Brien

Fryeburg, Maine

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