Wed Jul 25, 2012, 03:41 PM
Vietnameravet (620 posts)
hello everyone! Pro Jo story
Just coming here to find some sane people and introduce myself..
I wrote this editorial and it was published in the Providence Journal...I hope its not too long but I think it is the best way I have of introducing myself.. Please let me know what you think..good or bad..
Thoughts on Iraq
As the US involvement in Iraq ends, my mind goes back thirty-nine years to when I returned home after having served four years in the United States Air Force at Clark AFB in the Philippine Islands where the wounded from Vietnam were often brought.
It was the month of the Nixon “Christmas bombing campaign," and I listened to all the controversy on WJAR talk radio. Many callers were insisting the war was all about freedom for the South Vietnamese.
Years prior I believed that too. Back then those that objected to the war were “anti-American,” “soft on communism” and they certainly did not “support our troops." The pro-war crowd was in full battle gear, but it never dawned on them the hypocrisy of supporting a war while at the same time taking college deferment after deferment to avoid serving. I know. I was one of them. I am not the least bit proud of my actions, and my only excuse is my youthful thoughtlessness. I subscribed to the widespread belief that patriotism consisted merely of supporting wars other people fought without my giving too much consideration as to the soundness of the reasons.
When I graduated and my college deferments ended, it was my turn to go. Then and only then, did I really think very hard about what Vietnam was all about. Suddenly, it was not some flag-waving, debating point but a real life-and-death reality.
It was years later when it was revealed that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, used as justification for our full-scale participation in this civil war, was a pure fabrication based on little more than wild conjecture and misrepresented facts. And it also became clear that this was not about democracy but one dictatorship fighting another.
Thirty years later history has repeated itself. Like Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Iraqi war and the WMD scare were based on either a shamelessly lax analysis of the facts or a willful campaign of fear and half-truths started by those looking for an excuse for a war. Take your pick. Either way it was not our finest moment.
And, not surprisingly, much of this eagerness for war, both then and now, came from those who were never in the military, never mind combat. Some believed in the cause and, to their credit, joined and fought. Many more, however, sat safely on the sidelines often in comfortable radio or TV studios hauling in fortunes both small and large as they drummed up support for a war they knew would never be called on to personally fight. Even today they still object to anyone trying to raise their taxes a nickel to pay for all this. As for those missing WMDs, they simply fantasize about them really being discovered and insist the “true” facts are hidden from the public by the Bush hating “lame-stream liberal media” for reasons unknown.
Johnson resigned because of the war, but times have changed. Amazingly, the team which led us into the Iraqi war and was shown to be wrong on every count was elected for a second term over a combat wounded Vietnam vet who was, and who continues to be, the victim of repeated lies and smears by the very people who profess so much love and support for the troops.
So yet another war has ended. And what did we gain?
Today, you can buy Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's hamburgers in Vietnam. They pose no threat to us. The new government in Iraq, however, now has close ties to Iran something they did not have before.
We spent billions over there building roads and bridges and schools and so on. We might ask if those funds could have been better spent right here in the US on a crash program to gain our energy independence, or building roads and bridges and schools for us or responding to the economic challenge from China. But no. Strangely, it seems that such government programs, while acceptable in Iraq, are “unaffordable” or “socialism” if done over here, especially if proposed by President Obama. It turns out when some speak of not engaging in “nation building” they really only mean here in the United States.
And stranger still, as if caught in a time warp, some seriously consider the ones that got us into this most recent unfunded war, and helped wrecked the economy, in so doing, the very kind of people whose words and advice we ought to listen to and heed once again next November.
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hello everyone! Pro Jo story (Original post)
Response to Vietnameravet (Original post)
Mon Jul 30, 2012, 04:24 PM
CaliforniaPeggy (103,954 posts)
8. Welcome to DU!
I will join the chorus of welcoming voices to tell you how very much I appreciate your well-written prose. You have obviously thought about this a lot, and to very good effect.
I think you will make a very good, thoughtful member.
I'm really glad you found us!