I was moved by the article about the siege of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War (“Marines mark 45 years since Khe Sanh siege,” Jan. 21). I wasn’t there. No one should have been there.

Former Marine Bill Witt’s statement about giving up the base — “That was a slap in the face. It was an exercise in futility. … The loss of all those guys was a waste of humanity” — made a special impression on me.

Isn’t that what happens in all wars? Men are killed or gravely wounded on both sides. Valuable resources are wasted. The environment is destroyed, often irrevocably. Relationships are broken by unnatural separation?

After a bit of time passes and everyone has finally had enough of the carnage, “peace” is declared, the war ends and whoever is left standing (or in a litter) goes home, leaving behind trillions of dollars worth of hardware, weaponry and poisoned land.

In a year or two, everything pretty much goes back to where it was before the war started. Talk about a waste of humanity. Nothing of real value is gained other than both sides declare they are the real victor. Nothing but ego food.

Don’t even go the preserving-freedom route. More freedom has come from libraries than any gun, bomb or missile.

A few days later, another Marine wrote that the “hippies” had it right in their declaration of peace, only no one listened. Those “hippies” are senior citizens today. Their message hasn’t changed. They are even more right than ever. And, still, no one listens.

If we want our grandchildren and their grandchildren to inherit a livable planet and want to stop wasting humanity, we should join these old hippies and add to their voice so that those in power might finally listen.

Peter P. Sirois, Madison

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