In 1969 I was in combat in Vietnam. Five years later, back in the United States, I would hear of familiar cities falling to the Communists. By 1975 the 10-20 years of American involvement and death in Vietnam were proven to have been for naught. Today, I hear of ISIS defeating our current puppet government and the Iraqi military. I wonder if our recent group of combat veterans hold the same feelings of disenchantment, gullibility and betrayal that I had in 1975. Does the American public regret our latest military adventure?
Iraqi names such as Fallujah, Anbar Province and Mosul have once again been in the headlines much as Saigon and Cam Rahn Bay were in the mid-70s. Prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraq was a secure country that practiced religious tolerance for all under the despotic rule of a dictator. Many Iraqis suffered horribly at the hands of their government prior to our involvement, but many multiples of that number have suffered as a result of our invasion and its aftermath.
In 1964 our president lied regarding the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in order to garner support for more military involvement in Vietnam. That Democratic president’s war was ended in 1973 by a Republican president. In 2003 a Republican president lied regarding his reasons for invading Iraq. It was more than 10 years before a Democratic president ended this war. Trying the same thing over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. When we repeatedly resort to warfare to achieve our goals and repeatedly fail to do so, are we insane to try yet again?
Let’s remember these lessons before we cheer on our next invasion. Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes just as other nations, like Israel, continue to emulate them.