Monday, May 26, 2008

Vietnam Rhetoric

Aslan says to Lucy in the film, Prince Caspian, “Nothing happens the same way twice.”

Indeed, but many things bear striking similarities - like the rhetoric of "victory just around the corner" and "no troop pullout until the Iraqi government is stabilized" and the rhetoric surrounding America's entanglement in Southeast Asia.

After 600 billion and more than 4,500 deaths, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to drain our treasury and deplete our armed forces.

Our soldiers are likely the best in the world, but no army can sustain this kind of occupation. If we're looking for an additional parallel, how about the Soviet Union in Afghanistan? That debacle contributed to the end of the Soviet Union.

As I write these words, I'm watching CNN report on our heroes - indeed, they're heroes, but our greatest tribute to them, beyond the medals, will be bringing them home, and once home, to support their families, provide first-class medical care for the wounded, and life-time care for the disabled.

Iraq and the Middle East has to solve its own ills as did Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Perhaps the boundaries drawn so arrogantly by the Allies after WW 1 and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire will be adjusted, but let it be the people and nations themselves who make those adjustments and work out the logistics.

If we pull out, will there be civil war? Perhaps, but such is the price to pay for nearly a century of Western meddling for one reason - to claim the oil. I suspect, though, that whatever the crisis might be as a result of our withdrawal, it will be small compared to the chaos we've created and continue to fuel with our presence.

Aslan may be right, but it's also been said, "Those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past."