Democrats waffle. Although out of power, they're in thrall to K Street as much as the next guy and they're all worried about seeming moderate in the next election - or the one after that. Only the unassailable or the bereaved truly speak. The bobble-head national press repeats far much too conventional wisdom; the cue cards says "President Defends War" and they repeat it, then turn to their all-star panel, which deciphers the approval ratings and their repurcussions in November.
But we've been there before.
There is a small but relatively vocal cadre of Vietnam veterans who argue that the U.S. expenditure in Southeast Asia in blood and treasure paid long-term dividends, that in the long run, the war was worth it. Look at where Vietnam is today, they urge, in the mistaken belief that our 50,000 dead to stem the flow of communism led to the eventual abandonment of Marxist economic control and the opening of capital markets like its neighbors in China. Property values are growing, a consumer economy is developing, and tourism is taking off. But this has nothing to do with America's intervention 50 years ago, it has nothing to do with Cold War policies of containment and armament, it has nothing to do with the war.
It has everything to do with peace, with markets and trade, and with local/national aspiration. John Murtha is right. Drawn down the troops, insert an Arab peace-keeping force in what cities you can, and let the Iraqis decide their future - whether it's short-term civil war, eventual partition, or some form of unity.
The best thing we did for Vietnam over the long haul was to leave. It's time to leave Iraq. If we're very, very lucky, Iraq can be modern Vietnam in, oh, three or four decades. By that time, I'm guessing, George Bush will be dead and the mission may finally be accomplished.
NOTE: I didn't quote any blogs directly in this post, but was inspired at least partly by these posts, among others, so go read 'em:
- Lance's Peace With Honor
- Gilliard here and here
- Wolcott's Hell on the Installment Plan
- Juan Cole's Top Ten Catastrophes of the Third Year of American Iraq
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
This is just about right. I still like my earlier impeachment version as supplementary. But Tom has good stuff here. (via Lance Mannion, also worth reading).