I can’t help but think Vietnam and Richard Nixon are the real reasons we are in Iraq. Weapons of Mass Destruction, Al Qaeda and the “War on Terror” are beside the point.
After our withdrawal from Vietnam and the resignation of Nixon some brashly predicted that the Republican Party was on its way out. Democrats regained the White House and had full control of the Congress. The Supreme Court seemed liberal enough.
But Joseph Coors had other ideas and set up the Heritage Foundation. This non profit “Think Tank” promoted it agenda by sending out two Op Ed pieces a day to every major newspaper in the county. Today you can hardly hear a political debate on a talk show without a member of this group being present to muddy the waters on every important issue we face.
Of course this was only one group pushing hard to regain control of the White House for the far right wing and with the election of Ronald Reagan their power grew exponentially.
It is debated whether Reagan’s first act in office was to remove the solar panels installed by Green Peace from the roof of the White house, dismantle the Peace Academy or have a sit down with all the majors news editors in the country. But all three happened immediately. In the meeting with the editors Reagan officials implored the media not to be critical of them for a couple of years until they had their agenda rolling and saw the results. The media complied. Today that seems like a given. Back then that was appalling.
These Neo Cons have had an agenda for decades and Clinton getting elected twice set their schedule back. This explains a lot about why he was hounded from the beginning.
Vietnam sticks in the craw of the founders of this movement. They wanted to prove we could win a war like the one we didn’t in Southeast Asia. Perhaps they had a better idea than the people who came behind them. We may never know.
So here we are in Iraq thirty years later reliving one of our worst nightmares. Everything we have done there is either morally, tactically or strategically wrong.
To summarize we invaded based either on bad information or outright lies. Take your pick. Information coming out of the early days of the invasion was fabricated by the Defense Department from the orchestrated statue removal to the fake rescue of Jessica Lynch and of course in Afghanistan the cover up of “friendly fire” that killed Pat Tillman.
Beyond the lies distortion and propaganda we have the sweetheart deals with Kellogg Brown and Root. The hiring of mercenaries at outrageous salaries and the importation of desperately poor third world workers to work for peanuts goes all but unnoticed in the Corporate Press.
After destroying the Iraqi economy and firing every last member of the military we watched as Baghdad was looted. Three years later electricity is scarce; leaving your home at night is not an option and during the day is risky business.
Our troops who we are implored to support by keeping our mouths shut are being fed two meals a day and have to go begging food from Iraqi families. Their equipment is shoddy or absent. They have to be on patrol for up to twenty two hours a day and rely on “Go” pills to stay alert.
The press is calling Stephen Colbert “rude.”
The list goes on: Abu Ghraib, Iran clashing with the Kurds and Turkey applauding Iran from the sidelines as they beef up their troops on the border. Sy Hirsch’s revelations about the possible use of Nukes in Iran is more than disquieting.
In Vietnam we made a lot of mistakes. What we learned is hard to discern. Today in Iraq we are making new and improved mistakes. We have a more than compliant press. We have a suspect voting system. We have a President who thinks he talks to God and may in fact believe he is the Messiah. George Bush may believe in a lot of things but the United States Constitution is not one of them. With over 750 “signing statements” under his belt the Constitution is all but void.
If these are the repercussions of our misadventure in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and the resignation of Richard Nixon as I believe they are then I have no way of predicting what lies ahead. Like an animal in a trap we may not be able to get out of Iraq without gnawing our leg off.
Our entire approach is wrong because it appears the Administration’s entire strategy is based on getting revenge on the “dirty hippies,” the Democrats and proving that Vietnam was a winnable war. Policies based on this mentality are doomed to failure and the consequences far reaching and unpredictable.