Vietnam, coronavirus and Elise Stefanik

To the editor:

U.S. military deaths during Vietnam often exceeded 500 per month. A very difficult time. There was some great but also some terrible leadership, slow decision-making and many strategic mistakes. The challenges of war became evident.

Today, the coronavirus killed New Yorkers at a rate of 100 per day — not per month. It’s accelerating. That translates to 3,000 per month. Nationally, we hit a rate today of 6,000 per month.

Vietnam showed we can’t afford divisive leadership, inadequate supplies, poor strategy or spin. Yet we see just that. Politicians are playing with political economic models rather than focusing on front-line fighters: medical teams, civilians and now military.

Unlike Vietnam, soldiers and civilians pick the leaders they want to be involved in this virus war. President Trump, including his surrogate Elise Stefanik, have quite frankly failed to be the leadership needed in the situation. Beyond denying, then downplaying that the enemy exists, the level of actual federal support for those on this battlefield is appalling. Meanwhile they pander to the veteran community, touting, “We support vets.” Well, who doesn’t? Everyone does. It makes for politically safe PR. But the rubber meets the road when the battle begins. Politicians like Elise, renowned for invite-only chats and claiming 1,000 public meetings, are suddenly silent. During a crisis, they watch polls, seek media opportunities, blame and try to bill others, while claiming great personal success. Meanwhile, field commanders and medical teams scramble to survive. This isn’t a delegation of responsibility. It is a wholesale federal surrender of responsibility and political theater.

Time to change the politicians posing as “vet supporters” yet failing at leadership moments when bullets actually fly. Virus warriors want support, not political PR. Let’s do it right this time. We’re losing at a rate of 3,000 a month. Vote.

Brad Else



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