Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Vietnam War

We used to have this joke back in college. We would refer to one of our friends as the "Vietnam War" because no matter how desperate the situation, he would just escalate and never give up, even when it was clear he had lost. (Yes, we were dorks.)

Apparently, this joke can now be applied to resident political-military historian and current US President George Bush. He is the Vietnam War. That was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt yesterday when he stated, more or less, that we lost Vietnam because we gave up. (!!) It takes a rare "mind" to actually think that the Vietnam war was winnable and you´d be hard pressed to find a credible scholarly article that makes that point. In fact, it´s much like saying, "I lost that chess match because I resigned" when the opponent had mate in 3. (I have a long history of dorkery.)

He also stated that our pullout caused the "killing fields" in Cambodia which is a very sad reflection of just how ignorant the leader of the free world really is. It was our bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War that directly contributed to the killing fields, among other factors, jackass.

At any rate, it looks very much like el Prez is going to continue pushing his military surge, conventional and scholarly logic be damned. That bodes ill for Iraq and the US, but well for the Dems in 08. If history is any guide, insurgencies aren´t won with military strength. The French learned that lesson in Algiers. I thought maybe we had learned it in Vietnam. Apparently not. Let´s just hope this is the final nail in the neo-con coffin that discredits them for all time.


I like what Obama said the other day. It was something like, we need a surge in humanitarian and political development in Iraq if we want to have any hope of creating a stable, peaceful country. Of course, at this point, I´m not even sure that would be enough. But it´s a start.

In other news, there´s a lot of criticism flying around about Al-Maliki the Iraqi Prime Min. The Dems are calling for a replacement and the Neo-Bushies are backing him. Neither side is telling the truth.

The truth is, Maliki is all we got. There ain´t no damn alternative. The Iraqi government is falling apart and we´ve basically got left holding the short stick. At this point, people much more educated about Iraqi politics need to be consulted because it´s obvious that none of the pols (bushies or dems) have the slightest clue of what to do. Frankly, I´m not convinced there is much of a solution.


There has been a lot of talk that leaving Iraq would create an even greater disaster. I wonder if that´s really true. I don´t have much more than idle speculation, but I would say that given the totally unmitigated disaster that is Iraq at the moment, how much worse could it get?

Seriously, when you have car bombs killing hundreds of people at one go, how much worse could it be? There´s already an on-going ethnic-religious conflict. And US forces aren´t doing much to stop it. Passify an area, move on to the next, and the previous area reignites. Repeat. Ad nasuem.

I also think that if the US pulled out it would completely remove the impetus for Al Queda and others to defend their actions as resistance to US imperialism. The main Egyptian paper, for example, just yesterday stated that the problems are all because of US occupation. This is a common theme in the Middle East.

Ultimately, I think we should pull out. It´s the only way to test the "occupation causes conflict" hypothesis so dominant in the Middle East, it´s critical to showing Middle Eastern governments and populations that the US is not intent on establishing a new colonial system, it´s the only way to elimate ever increasing US casualties, and it seems clear that staying has no hope of creating a lasting peace. We could announce a phased withdrawal combined with a massive foreign humanitarian assistance program which might garner some support from regional allies and minimize some of the potential for the conflict to spiral out of control.

But in the end, it´s done. The war is lost. We got our lunch handed to ourselves on a silver platter. We just haven´t realized it yet.



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