As some, for appropriate reasons, compare Afghanistan with Vietnam, we have to be careful where that comparison ends.

For instance, in "Undergoing a metamorphosis" (article, Aug. 7) reporter Russ Bynum cites [military veteran] Jason Hurd’s comment: "When you hold these strips ... you think about all the times you ironed it ... something the Army made you do. ... I’m not Army property anymore, and neither is it."

No one knows exactly what Hurd endured during his decade of military service; however, he was indeed a volunteer, on several occasions by the length of his time in service, and he took several oaths along the way. What we forget is twofold:

This is a volunteer Army, so we cannot cry foul like draftees might have in Vietnam (and in the TV comedy "M*A*S*H").In regard to oaths, when you think about it carefully, you realize that your oath only wields its meaning when you’re commanded to do something you do not want to do (as long as it is not a violation of law), like go to a war with which you may not personally agree. Really, there’s no point in taking an oath to do something you want to do, is there?So, congratulations to those finding peace in destroying their uniforms, but I think that, in that process, they are jousting at windmills.

Lt. Col. Ed LedfordKabul, Afghanistan

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