A reader writes:

The soldier's email about Walter Reed reminds me of this quote, which Bernard Fall used as an epigraph for "Hell In A Very Small Place", his classic history of Dien Bien Phu:

"When a nation re-awakens, its finest sons are prepared to give their lives for its liberation. When empires are threatened with collapse, they are prepared to sacrifice their non-commissioned officers."

That's Menachem Begin, in 1951.