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» The Un-Vietnam War:

The Un-Vietnam War

Posted by on September 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm.
The Following Blog Was Submitted By One Of HT’s Frequent Commenters:

The Un-Vietnam War
As President Obama formerly declared an end to combat operations in Iraq, I
would like to take a moment to reflect upon the significance of Operation Iraqi
Freedom, and expand upon why I believe this war will go down in history as the
“Un-Vietnam War.”  On the surface, a great number of similarities can be found
between our involvement in East Asia nearly four decades ago and American
intervention in the Middle East this decade.  One can find such similarities in
common references to the conflicts as quagmires, or in their obscure
justifications which left Americans forced to observe their tax dollars and
fellow citizens expended for a cause that Washington D.C. assured them placed
freedom and good against an evil force that sought to dominate the world.  All
the while leaders in both eras positioned the conflict as the one that could
mean the difference in stopping a domino effect.  Further commonalities are
found in the nature of the warfare which pitted US troops against an enemy that
lurked in deep corners, found harbor in the homes of many civilians, and engaged
in guerilla tactics all of which left numerous serviceman physically and
psychologically maimed.  Finally, one would not have to look too closely to
recognize that in both conflicts, American Presidents engaged in the art of
truth-bending, Johnson with his Gulf of Tonkin stories, and Bush with his faulty
WMD intelligence.  I have no doubt that I have not exhausted all similarities. 
 
But, closer scrutiny of the two conflicts demonstrates vast, and very
disappointing, differences between the two conflicts.  For just as Vietnam awoke
Americans from their apathetic slumber to a recognition that war was a bitterly
ugly undertaking that must only be approved through formal declarations against
aggressive nation-states that posed a real threat to American security, Iraq has
inculcated the American psyche with a notion that the modern threats of the 21st
Century demand endless conflict and that no amount of money, lives, or morality
is too precious to spend in defense of American interests abroad.   
 
Vietnam showed the power of the American people to bring an Administration to
its knees when its empty, misleading, and inept rhetoric brought shame upon our
great land.  In fact, Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice President to the beloved martyr
Kennedy and author of the Great Society, chose to forego the embarrassment of an
election which would bring rebuke from the American public for his failed
handling of what an ever-increasing amount of Doves (those opposed to the war)
justly recognized  as a pointless conflict.  Even America’s most beloved
personality, anchorman Walter Cronkite, bravely broke with the Administration in
recognizing that Vietnam’s costs were too great to bear.  Americans lined the
streets in protest, college students posed strikes and demonstrations throughout
the land, and a massacre at Kent State awoke Americans to the importance of the
Bill of Rights, the sacred nature of our inherent freedoms, and the need to view
governmental policies through a lens of skepticism.    Americans grew angry over
the massacre at My Lai and young men bravely burned their draft cards in the
streets or fled to Canada when their conscience outweighed blind patriotism. 
Stories of John McCain’s torture at
the Hanoi Hilton exposed the barbarity of our enemy, and a recognition that
America must hold steady to her dedication to Human Rights. 
 
Conversely, the conflict of the last decade brought re-election to a blatatantly
dishonest Administration, a reward for errors in judgement and a “mandate” to
continue America’s presence in a war based upon false premises.  Another of
America’s most beloved citizens, Colin Powell, propagated a series of lies
(perhaps unknowingly) to the international community, only to quietly resign
when his principled objections fell on deaf ears in a narrow minded
administration.   America’s streets witnessed few protests, American colleges
carried on even as their halls lacked the presence of many of America’s finest
young men and women.   For much of the conflict, it became a dominant belief
that questioning the war, its motives, or the Administration was unpatriotic and
foolish in a “post-9/11 world.”  Americans now found themselves the torturers,
the denier of human rights, and as Governor Jesse Ventura states, Guantanamo Bay
became the Hanoi Hilton of its time.   Tasers, invasive airport screenings, and
the complete dismantling of the U.S. Constitution have become commonplace in
this new century, as Americans distract themselves with newer gadgets and
gizmos, bigger homes, and pop culture news.   No longer do images of war and the
sacrifices born by our national heroes fill the airwaves, as Joran VanderSloot,
Kim Kardashian, and golf-sex scandals now  dominate the headlines. 
 
It is true, I did not live through the Vietnam era.  My only understanding of it
comes from the stories I have heard and read, and the photographs, video clips,
and primary sources which lead me to this understanding. 
 
But I was alive for this conflict, and as a student of history, and a lover of
God and country, I have witnessed the past decade with a heavy heart and a
profound disappointment in my fellow countrymen.  Alleged patriots now only line
the streets to protest healthcare for the underprivileged or to support a
Washington D.C. rally that celebrates shameless policies of intolerance and
hatred and an abandonment of truth and integrity.  I fear that what Vietnam did
for instilling fear into our elected representatives that Americans would no
longer silently observe as American dollars and lives were wasted in a foreign
land,  Operation Iraqi Freedom has so easily undone. 
 
These events will most assuredly lead historians to recognize that Operation
Iraqi Freedom is the “Un-Vietnam” War.

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