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Editor, The Beacon:

I have always enjoyed reading Al Everson’s articles in The Beacon over the years. His reporting is accurate, and his writing is direct and understandable.

I’m writing today to say how outstanding and well-researched Al’s Sept. 2-8, 2021, opinion piece “How many will we leave behind?” was.

It described little-known details of past events related to our military heroes abandoned in past wars and conflicts.

Fast-forward to today. Al described current circumstances in Afghanistan, where we have U.S. citizens and our Afghan allies abandoned and stranded.

Several of our top military experts have recently said, “Leave the military in place with defense capability, then remove those who need to exit, remove the bulk of military, tax-funded equipment, then remove the troops.”

If we had followed this logical advice, left our military and defense systems in place (airfields, etc.), removing our citizens and Afghan allies first, then our armaments (helicopters, vehicles, arms and ammunition, etc., worth $85-plus billions of taxpayer money), the current crisis would have been avoided. We would have removed those who are now abandoned in a safer and orderly environment. What is so complicated about this logical exit?

Now, under current circumstances, we have this citizen and allies abandonment problem, and we have equipped the enemy as the best-armed militant fighting force on Earth. It is also said that in our hasty retreat several hundred millions of American cash was abandoned (this has not been verified as yet).

Just months ago, they were killing innocent citizens (and still are) and fighting against our troops. Now we have equipped them with our tax-funded armaments. They will be hunting down and killing currently with American tax-funded military equipment, arms and ammunition.

Yes, this is a world-class “military and foreign-relations disaster,” but those suffering most are those left behind, as Al has pointed out within his “Between the Lines” article.

Sid Vihlen Jr.


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Margie Dykes
Raised in Miami Beach, Margie moved to DeLand after graduating from Florida State University. She has a master's degree in community mental-health counseling, and retired after 12 years in substance-abuse treatment. Having worked at the DeLand Sun News during the 1980s, Margie came to The Beacon in 2002 in search of a second career. She helps the reporters; compiles obituaries, the calendar of events and religion news; and deals with a mountain of emails each day. Margie is the proud Nana to two grandchildren, Sophia and Alex.


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