My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die

As we slowly decide what to do with the increasing civil war in Iraq I’m reminded of John Kerry’s April 23, 1971 Senate Foreign Relations Committee speech where he asked the now famous question: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?” It was an open omission that we had lost the war in Vietnam and a called for an immediate solution. At the time that speech angered and garnered approval from both sides. Those who refused to admit that the war in Vietnam was lost were upset, and those who saw the situation as lost were glad that Kerry said what they did not have the voice to say.

Now, as the war in Iraq winds down to an unfortunate conclusion a similar situation is building. Both sides now clearly admit that the war did not go as planned, has gotten out of hand, and is unwinable – although no public official of any rank will come out and say such. So again we head back to history to look at the Vietnam War for hints as to what will come next. To do so all we have to do is to look back at my November 30 blog post from 2005. It is posted below, unaltered, for both posterity and point:

Vietnamization is the term for President Richard Nixon’s policy in the early 1970s to turn the job of defending South Vietnam back to the South Vietnamese government. The policy was part of a broader plan to reduce and eventually withdraw American troops from the Vietnam War. America did pull out of the war in 1973, but South Vietnam survived on its own only until 1975 at which time it collapsed and was taken over by North Vietnam.

Iraqization is the future term for President George W. Bush policy in 2006 to turn the job of rebuilding Iraq over to an unprepared Iraqi country. The policy will be part of a broader plan to reduce and eventually withdraw Americans troops from the War on Terror in Iraq. Iraq will quickly crumble due to its lack of sustainable economy, underdeveloped government and the War on Terror in Iraq will cause Iraq to become a heavy source for future terrorist cells and recruitment.

This was blatantly obviously a year ago to me – a political outsider who only had access to the mass market news sources and a decent education. The only thing that was not easy to predict was what they would call this new Iraqization. So here we all sit, waiting with bated breath, waiting for what we now know will be called “phased redeployment” and thinking of that parallels of Vietnam once again. Again we the people do not have a good solution and spend our days arguing over what can and should be done in our lost war. And again, I think that a version of John Kerry’s 1971 speech is not called for. Except this time, confused, angry, and looking to find a politically acceptable term, let us change his saying to fit the time. So now I ask you, how do you ask a man to be that last one to die for a phased redeployment?

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