Stretches by mainstream media (MSM), such as likening the war in Iraq to one in Vietnam, rely on false premises. Only cranky “liberals,” plus a handful of confused conservatives, argue a quagmire faces the US-led coalition in Iraq.
First off, they’re too late. “Operation Iraqi Freedom” is all but over. Democracy won. A wobbly one, certainly; it will take time to bloom. Iraq is free from tyranny, but not yet from short-term terrorism, as daily headlines remind us.
Casualties still occur. Sadly, more will die. Fanatical killers do not submit easily. Mop-up operations are nasty. Just like after World War II. Roving bands of Nazi “werewolves” were hunted to ground after V-E Day. Mostly ex-Gestapo, they gunned down fellow Germans, whom they called “collaborators,” built bombs from leftover ordnance, and murdered allied forces trying to restore order. Sound familiar?
A fledgling democracy is coalescing in Iraq, perhaps not fast enough for American impatience or MSM’s antiwar, anti-Bush hand-wringing. Best news of all, though, and rather unreported, it’s a seminal victory in a war on terrorism. Not good enough, evidently, for the tightly-wound Bush-loathing class, including elite media and the academe, and other anti-war-at-any-time Utopian thinkers.
My geezer’s mind drifts back in time . . . .
. . . to the Sixties, my era, to “my” war. “Peaceniks” and “refusniks” rally. They “call for” peace as if it can be summoned on their demands. Some unfurl communist Viet Cong (VC) flags. Jane Fonda and Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry, et al., trash our nation’s heroic efforts in Vietnam. Kerry libels our military as Ghengis Kahn-like, loping off ears. Students block West Coast ammo trains. Self-centered youth chant in streets, and from deans’ offices, “Hell No, We Won’t Go.”
(I went. Other collegians chased deferments, like PhDs. A few fled unabashedly to Canada. Young, patriotic, naively premodern, what did I know? I genuinely believed then, as now, donning my country’s uniform was a right and honorable thing to do. Call me duty-bound. Okay, so I was not elated to get orders for that “PCS” move to Southeast Asia from my cozy base in North Carolina.)
Another ‘Nam vet, editorialist Jim Boyd, a malicious Bush critic (once he compared his policies, actually, to Adolph Hitler’s), is a quagmire theorist. In his column in the hard-left liberal Minneapolis [MN] Star Tribune , on the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, Boyd tries mightily to make a case for quagmire. (“Vietnam’s past poses hard questions about Iraq’s future,” on May 1, 2005.)
Boyd ponders how “…like Vietnam the situation in Iraq has become.” Earth to Boyd: We won the war in Iraq. Before that, in Afghanistan. Terrorists are being hunted down. Good and decent Iraqis support hunting down the evil-doers. New Iraq’s police forces take deadly hits. Democracy is taking root, a far cry from “our” war, Vietnam, by any rational standard. Clear-headedness is clearly not Boyd’s forte.
“Anyone’s guess,” he huffs, “whether Iraq will turn out like Vietnam.” His only concession to reality? Iraq lacks “…a Hanoi.” “Insurgents” step up their deadly attacks, he says, by “improvising.” Just like our resourceful enemy “Charlie,” the VC, a long time ago.
Only in Iraq, it’s a case of “Now for Something Entirely Different,” with apologies to fellow Monty Python fans. Quagmire hypothesizes, possibly ideologically-driven, fail utterly to point out this plain fact: A multi-national coalition in Iraq does not—repeat, NOT—do battle with an armed-to-the-teeth, Soviet-supplied NVA (North Vietnam Army). Just with a bunch of bloodthirsty anarchist thugs.
Moreover, Vietnam was a state-to-state war, fought in jungles, not deserts, for reasons of the Soviet-USA Cold War, not a war on terrorism. Apples are not oranges.
Our enemy in RVN (Republic of Vietnam) murdered hamlet chiefs, teachers, authority figures. Terrorists in Iraq slaughter randomly, any Iraqi standing—kids, folks at funerals, at the markets. Does this mayhem mean it’s time to flee? Turn tail and run? And let the “AIF”—Anti-Iraq Forces, to the coalition—win a Big One for despotism? Same as the VC/NVA did for communism?
Thirty years ago, South Vietnamese scrambled to our Marine helicopters atop our embassy in Saigon. Hundreds of thousands more later fled, in rickety boats, and barefoot through jungles, seeking freedom. Tragically, indelibly to our national psyche, more than 50,000 American GIs died serving in Vietnam, trying to deliver a democracy. Despite all battles won, including an MSM-misreported Tet Offensive, we lost the war. Not a good year for democracy—1975.
Someday, just maybe, suggests the delusional one, Boyd, “Baghdad falls…just as [sic] Saigon did.” Come again? Syria invades it? Iran does? Saddam is freed, re-grabs power? Choppers lift Free Iraqis off Baghdad rooftop? Nah.
Contrary to gloomy prognosticators of doom, it’s not going to happen. Bad guys are on the run. (No rest for the wicked?) Iraqis voted for freedom, purple-fingers marking their freshly-minted democracy. While a great deal remains to be done, what’s NOT to like from results of “Operation Iraqi Freedom”? Freedom itself, for mere others? Success for another newfound democracy? Less risk of another 9/11? Maybe, for a change, a pro-USA perspective finally in America’s elite media?