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Conscientious Objection

I am troubled by Arthur “Arky” Ciancutti ’65’s attitude toward those who have fought in wars (“First Do No Harm,” winter 2017). I am a Vietnam veteran myself, though I am in no way a hero. I did my duty and was lucky enough to come home intact. Others in my unit did not.

I agree with him that the Vietnam War was completely unjustified and unwinnable. But there are other wars that do not fit that characterization. Our Civil War was fought over the issue of whether all men and women are created equal or whether some should be masters and others slaves. World War II was fought against one regime that believed there should be a master race with all others subservient or exterminated. I doubt that those few who were rescued from Dachau would agree that that war was unjustified.

The older I get, the less I accept sweeping generalizations on complex topics.

—PETER COFFIN ’71, Berkeley, Calif.