History Does Repeat Itself
I’ve been writing a weekly blog since January of 2007. Dubya had announced “The Surge” in Iraq, and I was beside myself with fear and anger. I first started writing under an assumed name because I was afraid of financial repercussions. I soon realized that was cowardly, thanks to the brother of a man killed in Iraq, Clint Adamkavicius. Clint’s brother, Capt. Clayton L. Adamkavicius, died in Iraq on April 21, 2006.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the national abortion called the Iraq War, I’ve reprinted three columns from that first year of blogging. The lives of 4,487 Americans and untold trillions of dollars were wasted on a war we should have known better than to start.
BTW, in the last column, 1,500 More?, I was off by 658 dead people and five years…however, we unfortunately still have time to get more dead people.
As of this writing, two Presidents have gotten more than 2,000 Americans killed in Afghanistan, and that number will keep climbing because it’s bad politics to stop killing Muslims.
These blog entries were written on the dates indicated. They were moved from my previous blog (I can’t remember the name.) in 2008 to betweenbillsears.wordpress.com.
January 12, 2007 – History Lesson
Back in the spring of 1965, I was in fifth grade. Dad was a Navy Corpsman stationed in Kaneohe, Hawaii. One day Dad came home and gathered his four kids and my Mom together.
Dad said he was going to a place called Vietnam without us. The “good” government of South Vietnam was being attacked by the “bad” government of North Vietnam. Dad and his buddies had to go over there.
When I asked why, Dad said it was because Communists wanted to spread Communism. If we didn’t fight the Communists in Vietnam, we’d have to fight them in the streets of our cities. I got out a map and saw that Vietnam was very far from our cities.
Dad said Communists hated our freedom and wanted to enslave us. I looked up the population of North Vietnam and saw that there was no way they had enough people to enslave us. Dad said that the Russian and Chinese Communists had enough people to enslave us.
Dad was a career Navy man. He did what he was told to do and believed in the reasons he was given. Dad and his buddies went to Vietnam. Dad came back; some of his buddies did not.
Dad stayed in the Navy. In 1966, we got stationed in Bethesda, Maryland.
Over the next two years, President Lyndon Johnson would come on television now and again and tell us we had to stop those Communists from spreading Communism by sending more troops.
That’s when I started paying closer attention.
I knew we had been in Vietnam longer than it took us to beat Hitler AND Tojo. I thought very hard about why we couldn’t beat such a tiny country with so many troops.
In 1968, I concluded that the war was being run by morons. That was frightening for a 13-year-old boy. Our government was killing its own citizens because it was incompetent.
In the spring of 1968, I was in eighth grade. One day Dad came home and gathered his four kids and my Mom together. Those Communists were still pesky. Dad and some new buddies would have to go back to Vietnam.
I wanted to know why President Johnson was trying to kill my father, but a serviceman’s kid is supposed to be stoic; I kept my mouth shut. Dad ruined the President’s plan and came home alive a second time. More of his buddies died.
Hugging your Dad goodbye knowing you might never see him again is terrible. If you are lucky, the first time you do it is when your Dad is an old man going into surgery after a long, happy life. I did it twice before I was 14.
Last week, President Bush went on television and told us we had to stop Terrorists from spreading Terrorism. He wants to send more troops to Iraq. He spoke of bloody sacrifice.
Hey, you little Texas idiot; what are you sacrificing besides your political legacy?
It’s the Mommies and Daddies that will die! It’s the kids that will hug their parents goodbye not knowing if they will ever see them again…some kids for the third and fourth time!
Make no mistake; your reasons are no better than President Johnson’s reasons.
The Dixie Chicks were right.
August 24, 2007 – Good Morning Iraqnam
George W. Bush is worried that Iraq will become another Vietnam. Holy Moley!
This week, I bring you a quiz. Decide whether the following quotes were made about the war in Iraq or the war in Vietnam. The era and the author will be revealed at the end…don’t cheat!
- “We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.”
- “It has been said that the United States was deceived into entering and expanding the __________ War by its own overoptimistic propaganda. The record suggests, however, that the policy-makers stayed…not so much because of overly optimistic hopes of winning…as because of overly pessimistic assessments of the consequences of losing.”
- “We seem bent upon saving the __________…, even if we have to kill them and demolish their country to do it….I do not intend to remain silent in the face of what I regard as a policy of madness which, sooner or later, will envelop my son and American youth by the millions for years to come.”
- “This war in __________ is, I believe, a war for civilization. Certainly it is not a war of our seeking. It is a war thrust upon us and we cannot yield to tyranny.”
- “The war against __________ is only the ghastliest manifestation of what I’d call imperial provincialism, which afflicts America’s whole culture–aware only of its own history, insensible to everything which isn’t part of the local atmosphere.”
- “If the Americans do not want to support us anymore, let them go, get out! Let them forget their humanitarian promises!”
- “It is always a strain when people are being killed. I don’t think anybody has held this job who hasn’t felt personally responsible for those being killed.”
- “I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling rejected by the American people. I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the war.”
- “I hear the headlines on the radio, see them on TV and read them in the paper. When I hear from the men out there, I sometimes don’t believe they are talking about the same situation.”
- “If, when the chips are down, the world’s most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.”
OK. It was a trick quiz; all the quotes were made about the war in Vietnam. The words were spoken or written by;
1) Ronald Reagan 2) Jonathan Schell, The Real War 3) George McGovern 4) Francis Cardinal Spellman 5) Stephen Vizinczey 6) Nguyen Van Thieu 7, 8, 9) Lyndon Baines Johnson 10) Richard M. Nixon
Dubya might finally be on to something.
July 27, 2007 – 1,500 More?
According to Robert Dallek in his new book, Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger knew in 1971 that the Vietnam War could not be won by military action. They knew that the South Vietnamese Army was a joke. They knew that they could never mobilize enough American troops to seal the Laotian and Cambodian borders to cut off enemy supplies and reinforcements. They knew the jig was up.
That was 1971. It would be four years before that last helicopter lifted off of the U. S. Embassy roof in Saigon. Dallek goes on to point out that 23,000 more Americans died from the time Nixon knew it was hopeless to the time the war finally ended. The total United States Vietnam death toll was more than 55,000 women and men.
I know I was an English major, but my crude math skills tell me that 41% of those killed in the Vietnam War were killed after the President knew the war could never be won.
Dallek says that Nixon kept up the fight to give America a chance to save face. He wanted it to look like America negotiated its way out of the war with honor.
Bush and Cheney have to know the Iraq War is a hopeless cluster fuck. (I’m not sure they do, but we’ll say they know.) They know that the Iraq Army will never stand up. They know we just don’t have enough guys in uniform to seal the borders and keep the Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish factions off of each other’s backs. They know it’s over.
What if the death toll so far (3,645 as of 7/27/07) is only 59% of the eventual death toll? That would mean another 1,500 troops would die by the time the last helicopter lifts off of the roof of our embassy in Baghdad.
We are losing about 100 a month in Iraq. At that rate, we need only stay in country until Election Day of 2008 to lose an additional 1,500 souls.
Those additional 1,500 humans are Dead Men and Women Walking right now.
Somewhere there is a woman wondering what married life will really be like. She doesn’t know it’s a moot point because she will be marrying the Grim Reaper before November 4, 2008.
Somewhere there is a guy thinking about taking his Grandson fishing when his tour is up. He will never put another line in the water because he will be dead by November 4, 2008.
Frankly, I see only one way to save these people’s lives.
As long as there is a dime to spend on bullets, Bush and Cheney will hide in the White House and scream, “Lock and Load.” Bush and Cheney are not coming to their senses any time before they leave office. Republicans and Democrats in Washington should quit fighting over who is more outraged by the other’s behavior and cut the funds for this war.