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Why Do I Dwell on Vietnam When the War is In Iraq?

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posted on Jun, 16 2006 @ 02:23 PM
“Let me say this about that.” To recall Mr. Nixon.

Yes, it is true, the US is out of Vietnam. It is also true that Vietnam is not out of the US. If you have a doubt, just reflect for one moment on the 2004 election and the Swift Boats. Anyone who thinks the US is “over” Vietnam has a short memory. The Democrats lost the 2004 election by 120,000 votes cast in Ohio. Perhaps as few as 61,000 of those Ohio voters were persuaded by the scurrilous ads sponsored by the unregulated Section 527 Bush-ites. If true, then the election was won or lost in Ohio. By the narrowest of margins out of more than 103 million votes cast nationwide.

It is obvious (to me) the same divisions that cost the Dems the 1968 election - after Chicago’s Mayor Daley debacle - are still lurking just under the very thin skin of hurting memories. I have no sure prescription of a cure to offer other than waiting until the parties deeply engaged in the struggle best exemplified by “1968" have died. OTOH, if this division lingers like the bad memories of the Old "Stars and Bars" South still lingoer over Gen. Sherman, we may be forced to deal with Vietnam even into the next century! With two distinct and irreconcilable views of the war and those who fought in it. You could call it the Red view and the Blue view.

The worst case scenario is that Vietnam will play yet another significant role - though unlikely to be as decisive as in 2004 - in the 2008 election. I say this because the oft questioned National Guard service of the sitting president will not again be in issue nor will the heroism or lack thereof of the Democratic nominee running against him be subjected to even less authenticated criticism. Missing records versus how many wounds will not be argued again decades after the fact.

Yet, while retired Navy Captain now Senator John McCain, a carrier pilot whose bad luck made him a POW in the Vietnam War, is touted as a probable GOP candidate so also Army 4 star General Wesley Clark may end up as the Democratic nominee. Like 2004's Sen. Kerry, Gen. Clark was wounded in Vietnam and received the Silver Star. Like former Pres. Clinton, Gen. Clark is a Rhodes Scholar. The issue is whether he, Clark, unlike another Army 4 star Gen. Colin Powell, has the “fire in his gut” to be president. Unless a person works 24/7 for 365 for 4 years, he or she cannot be our president. Hmm? I surely hope this does not mean the chosen person is “worn out” before Inauguration Day?

There is no good purpose to be served by re-hashing the origins of the Vietnam War or how America got there or why America lost the war. War is a lot like God and religion; it is born with you. Rational argument has not much to do with what you believe about it. This has been re-demonstrated in Iraq. Half the population remember WMDs were said to be there, the other half recalls that it was said, WMDs may be there. We can’t agree on what was said barely 3 or 4 years ago and we were all alive and well. So how could we possibly come to an agreement over the fundamental issues of what took place some 40-50 years ago?

I do hope the Internal Revenue Code’s Section 527 is eliminated. However weak and ineffectual the other sections of the IR Code have been in giving us “clean” elections, the worst sins were committed by renegade groups hiding behind Section 527. There is on-going electioneering many people claim is violative of the spirit if not the letter of the 501(c)(3) groups. Non-profits. Mostly churches. Whether we can get any meaningful electoral reform before the 2008 election is problematical. Neither side wants to give up a perceived advantage. There is only one thing both sides agree on. Third parties are to be kept out by joint efforts of the 2 major parties. So much for democracy.

Conclusion. Will the Vietnam War again play a role in 2008? I would suggest we use 1954 as a criteria. I choose 1954 because anyone born after that year is unlikely to have served in Vietnam. I’d say anyone born before 1954 will be forever “fixed” by the event whether or not he or she served on the ground. If the candidate is older than 54 years, the likely answer is “yes,” but if the candidate is younger than 54, then I’d say “no.” This in what we call the Vietnam War and which the Vietnamese call the “10,000 Days War of Liberation.

[edit on 6/16/2006 by donwhite]

posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 03:25 PM
Bad politics are nothing more than they appear to be. True Machiavellian minds are few and far between. Many of our modern leaders have been willing to do things at home and abroad which have a limited radius of success. thye seem content to take the pain when it comes to the 'fallout.'

Vietnam was my father's war. As such, I am familiar with its battles, and its outcomes. It's fair to say that the two share certain similarities, but they are not wholly the same. Iraq's insurgency bears little resemblance to the orgainzaed resistence of the NVA. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodian infamy would find more in common with today's insurgents in downtown Baghdad.

The thing that most Americans are going to "remember" is that both wars were overshadowed by bad politics. At a time when forward thinking was called for, future historians will give many pages to the dissection of this period's leaders and theri poorly made decisions. The bottom line is that the American people will remember these conflicts as being mis-managed by people who asked for and then abused large amounts of trust and good will. that's the real similarity between Vietnam and Iraq.

Today's leaders have lost sight of what's really in our national interest. They lack the flexibility and creativity of the classical Statesman when it comes to getting these things. To be electable, and then to achieve high office, means owing more than they can pay off in a mere two Presidential terms. the people who back the candidates know this, and they are forced to go for increasingly bigger "payoffs" to justify their expenses.

Consider this. The next President of the United will spend 200 million dollars to get a job that pays 200 thousand dollars a year. the people who piny up that money will number less than 50,000. That's everyone from the guy who makes a five dollar contribution over the internet to the mogul who shells out ten thousand dollars a plate to each cold rubber chicken with the candidate. The top ten percent of these donors are going to expect to get something for their time and effort. that means legislation, or contracts. This was true for George Washington, and it really is true for the current president.

Our country has not been lead by very many Statesmen. the fact of the matter is that if we put our minds to it, we could count all the truely great minds using just one hand. A majority of those who have sought the highest office in our land were and still are willing to do anything to get the job. Their dilema is how to make he pay off and get down to the business of government, and building their legacy. 21st Century Presidents are going to be defined by this trade-off. Some will pay off their benefactors with legislation, others will pay off with contracts.

Throughout recorded history, the biggest pay offs have always come in times of war. the temptation to jump in to a fight that you really do think you can win has seduced more than a few U.S. Presidents. Until recently, many of those fights were very one-sided, and the Americans did win. It's a telling fact that today's Presidents require bigger and bigger wars to make this payoff. The temptation to give in to the allure of such bad politics is made that much worse when these stop to realize that they won't have to suffer anything worse that low popularity poll numbers if they do these things.

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