Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deja vu all over again: If you have not already done so I suggest viewing PBS Bill Moyers Journal and the LBJ tapes as LBJ agonizingly wrestles with the decision whether or not to send more troops to Vietnam. The similarities of Vietnam to Afghanistan are staggering complete with other powers losing in that murderous terrain long before we arrived on the scene. The generals and the Pentagon thinkers do their thinking, the grunts do the dirty work and come back in coffins. Usually it is NOT the policy makers whose sons end up horrifically disabled or dead.

It is, in my opinion, a question of CHANGING once and for all the national psyche from a nation which, in its geographical isolation, loves war and loves winning war to a country that will declare war and wage war ONLY when absolutely existentially necessary. Our country from afar sees war like a football game but does not want to see the blood and guts hanging out of its soldiers during war or experience what it means to lose a war and what it does to the national will.

Our country is falling apart at home. We simply cannot afford more war. We have no money and no more national will to fight it. Our soldiers we do have are whipped serving sometimes four and five tours of duty which is bone crushing. We do not even have enough troops if we were, God forbid, threatened anywhere else including at home. If President Obama will not pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and send NO more I believe we are among the doomed. We will be in a state of perpetual endless war forever. We can never sustain that.

The man who should have been president, John Kerry, was 100% correct. Terrorism should be fought as a police action with intelligence and particular strikes with special forces at the right time and right place but NOT with thousands or hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground 7000 miles away in an alien place with no end in sight. The Iraq War was nothing short of devastating to our military at best and illegal at worst. Yet again, the American people fail to learn history, fail to understand the polices that emanate from the leaders it elects who never have to bear the burden physically or monetarily.

We won OUR own revolution because the British could not keep up a force across the sea fighting a group who knew the terrain and had the WILL behind their existential cause. It matters whether a fighting force has conviction or not. A draft would mean drafting men (and now women too) in a country which would never countenance that. It will NEVER be done, over time, successfully with simply a volunteer army ... EVER.

I only wish Bill Moyers could have convinced LBJ, within whose administration he worked, of the folly that was Vietnam and now I hope someone shows this segment to President Obama so history does not eerily repeat itself all over again!