#172 - Support the Troops
Maybe everyone was on August vacation, or maybe things have gotten so bad that it barely matters anymore, but when seven active-duty infantrymen and noncommissioned officers air their opinion in public that the Iraq War is a lost quagmire ("The War as We Saw It", New York Times Op-Ed page, 19 August 2007), something important is happening.
The President may be trying to compare Iraq to Vietnam in bizarre and distorted ways, but when the troops themselves start to call off the war, you know it's Vietnam Redux. For those in Iraq, the Tigris-Euphrates Delta is beginning to resemble the Mekong Delta: unless the U.S. military employs "the widespread use of lethal and brutal force" (which is another way of saying "burn the village to save it"), there is no way to win.
What the soldiers restrain themselves from saying, or possibly do not believe or do not want to admit or do not see as their business (though they should), is that the military failure in Iraq has everything to do with the fact that the war was a rotten, unjust proposition from the start.
So the phantom of Vietnam is appearing again. And just as a good number of American fighters in that war grew to oppose it, perhaps this Op-Ed piece marks the stirrings of another revolt of the fighters in tanks against the neoliberals and neoconservatives in think tanks.
29 August 2007