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Friday, January 12, 2007

Another Vietnam

That's the perception of many when it comes to the Iraq conflict. What is meant by the phrase, "another Vietnam"?

The 2nd Indochina War (probably the best name for the conflict) took place from 1959 to 1975. America originally sent military advisors, but in 1965 started sending large numbers of American troops to attempt to defend South Vietnam from Communist North Vietnam. The attempt failed. America's leadership favored the philosophy of a "limited war". They restricted targets and denied the military leadership the option of prosecuting this war as they saw fit. As a result, the Vietnam Conflict became America's miserable failure. After 10 years of battle both in Indochina and at home and after losing the lives of more than 50,000 American soldiers, America retreated with her tail between her legs. The Communists of North Vietnam swallowed the Republic of South Vietnam. And America lost her first war.

So what is meant by "another Vietnam"? It may mean "an ill-conceived conflict". It may mean "a war that the military could win if its hands weren't tied by the government." It may mean "the foolish concept of a 'limited war'." I suppose these are all saying the same thing. What made Vietnam an "ill-conceived conflict"? The government decided to dictate military strategy. The government decided that 1) strategy was secondary to political correctness, and 2) the will of the people ultimately decides the military's approach and will. Why? Because the goal was too obscure. The original goal in the conflict in Vietnam was to save South Vietnam from Communism because of what was called "the domino theory". The belief was that if one country in Indochina fell to Communism, more of Asia would fall.

So, here we are again. Congress is aiming at derailing the funding for the war in Iraq. A growing number of Americans are calling for withdrawal. The original goal for going there and staying there is moot. Who cares if democracy gets a foothold in the Middle East? Who gives a plugged nickel about those day-to-day Iraqis and their problems? Saddam is dead. Bring home the troops. Forget about democracy, at least for other nations. Forget about Arabs. Let them kill each other for all we care. It's not our problem. We're Americans, and the only thing we really care about is Americans. No, check that. The only thing we really care about is ourselves. Let's spread that concept to the rest of the world and call it "caring".

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