Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

IRAQ – Déjà vu

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It sickens my heart as a Vietnam War combat veteran to watch Iraq fall apart like South Vietnam did. We may not have to watch American helicopters evacuating the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist army takes over the city, but again we are watching the disintegration of a government and the loss of territory U.S. warriors fought and died for. Were their sacrifices in vain as some now say they were?  (Read the full column at EWRoss.com)

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37 Responses

  1. Fred says:

    Maybe we need to investigate history a bit. Ho Chi Mihn came to us for aid first. The Vietnamese did not like china,they didn’t want the ussr,but we shunned them and they went to the highest bidder. France had had enough,and there was oil in them thar offshore locations..get the picture. In Iraq,VP Cheney did his best to bypass the truth,and talked good ole Georgie boy to go into Iraq. All was so ripe for the taking…cheap oil,again oil,and we go in like a quick trip to Wisconsin,and pop out with the spoils. It was the first such conflict that we went in to without taxpayer support. We are all paying for that now,and remember the reference to our grand children’s debt? Well here it is,and yes,don’t forget the blood spilled..it was all those boys who gave up their lives on a lie.

  2. EWRoss says:

    What you say about Ho is true, but by the early 1960s what happened int he 1950s was OBE. And Cheney is the root of all evil is invective not fact.

  3. Peter Dai says:

    It’s been said more than ten years ago that the next world war would be between the Christians and the Islam. we are moving closer to that point.

  4. Bill Jordan says:

    Guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, Ed…
    I maintain that the 2003 invasion of Iraq will go down in history as the greatest geopolitical mistake of the 20th century for the following reasons:

    It upset a delicate balance of Mideast power: Iraq contained Iran

    It proved to other nation states–friends, enemies and neutrals–that we act without thinking the long term consequences through–American hubris at its worst. In Afghanistan the entire world understood what–and why–we were doing it, even the Taliban. In Iraq II only the Brits bit, and the Labor party destroyed Britain’s government, further emboldening their sizable Muslim population.

    It violated one of the principles of war in the worst way–the principle of mass. You don’t jerk your forces out, especially on the eve of the center of mass operation of the war–Tora Bora. Think Barbarossa and the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941…about the same in terms of stretching your forces to non-effectiveness.

    As much as I liked and respected George Bush and revile the slimy creature currently occupying the White House….

    Bush screwed the pooch…not him exactly, his neocon advisors who really were pretty good when we worked for them, but drank the Kool-Aid somewhere along the line. As far as WMD goes, the people who KNEW, the professional intell analysts, knew they weren’t there, but that didn’t matter to the decision-makers that WANTED THEM THERE, especially Rummy, who hung the only sane and visionary man in government out to dry–Colin Powell; I would’ve abandoned the Republican party after that hosing myself.

    Now the current occupant of the White House is going to screw the pooch even further unless he realizes that are advantages to be gained by using some adroit diplomatic strategy and military credible threat (ie, real soft power, not Hilarys ‘Arab Spring[ soft power that seems to have come a tremendous cropper, capped by Benghazi) to isolate a tripartite Iraq into what it probably should’ve been when the British set it up–Kurdistan, IISIstan and FIROP, the Former Iraq Republic…Balkanization worked in 1995, maybe it will again, And maybe NATO will realize that their southern backdoor is about to be unlocked if they don’t start treating Turkey more like a military signatory and ally than a source for cheap labor.

    Good column, and enjoyed it as always.

    Bill Jordan

  5. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Especially after being soiled with brave American blood. Shameful.

    By Martin Jennings

  6. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    I had the very absolute response. Then I remembered the reason America retreated just like Obama is doing now. These are the same gang of anti-war protesters of the 60’s that are now running and ruining America. So, why are U surprised? Retreat is the name of the game, winning is not part of the narrative. America is turning into socialist South America.

    By Len Walla

  7. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    securing an asset with lives then letting it go is very troubling indeed !

    By Paul Daly

  8. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Ed,

    It was bad enough that we had Hanoi John (Kerry) and Hanoi Jane (Fonda) cheerleading for communism – today we have Teheran Barrack Hussein and Hanoi John doing everything they can to build pathways for the total and absolute destruction of this great nation and everything it stood for. Unfortunately, they are supported by Quislings on both sides of the aisle in this effort.

    By George Whitaker

  9. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Ed,
    Not being a veteran I am certain your perceptive is more appreciated than my own. But I don’t see how the recent events should surprise anyone. This was a book that was written back to front from the moment we committed.
    The real tragedy is the men and women on both sides that paid a price most of us are not willing to pay, for what in effect is a more unstable region than the one we walked into.
    What’s the old saying? “let the politicians sons be the first to go to war and see how many wars we choose to fight”.
    It’s a big hot mess now.
    And I’m sure I’m not alone in thanking you for your service Ed.

    By Dave Lawson

  10. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Agreed Ed. Top leadership is still not paying attention to history. How many times wil we have to repeat the cycle before we elect those who understand and act in accord with history.

    By Tim Axell

  11. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Ed, I share your concern and feel sad to see ISIS making gains on grounds we spilled so much blood to bring freedom to every Iraqi. At the same time, as Dave stated, what we see in Iraq today was quite visible to many soon Saddam was deposed, Let me help you what I saw and what many friends could see in early day.

    Ambassador Bremer’s dismantlement of Saddam’s army send all those well trained officers home to look for new opportunities. No one talk about where all these ISIS members are coming from as no one ever spoke to them. I can tell you that fundamentalist and elite officer forms ISIS with the help of Al Qaeda, few religious groups and some rich believers in that cause. Sunnis ruled Iraq for very long but now USA helped Shia to dominate Iraqi politics, That was never accepted by those who had the taste of ruling and now we are at a cross road and what ever we do will only come and hurt as. I wish we stay out now as its Pandora;s box that will only spill evil in the region and on civilized society. Lets save our blood and let Iraqi solve their own political issues. . .

    By Amin Bashir

  12. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    POLITICS AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE IS WHAT I THINK AND YES VERY SAD GAME!

    By Robert J Britton

  13. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    First , Mr. Ross, I wish to thank you for your service in Viet Nam.

    I spent most of 2011 there in Hanoi, and I can assure you that your service and the ultimate sacrifice made by those who gave their lives was not in vain. The Vietnamese people have what they wanted – a self-determined Vietnamese government. It may not be what our choice would have been, but our choice would not have left them better off than they are now.

    And now, the Vietnamese people and government respect us, consider us to be their friend, and look to us to intervene for them against an aggressive China. Unfortunately, I am not certain that the Obama foreign policy will help them.

    In Iraq, we have failed to win the peace. After WWII, we worked with Germany and Japan to develop representative, responsible governments. In fact, the Japanese constitution is the one that Douglas MacArthur handed them. In Iraq, we failed to assure that the government would represent all of the sects/people of Iraq, and we did not keep a force in place to assure that the government would transition to a fully representative government. Consequently, we created what we knew would happen after Desert Storm if we removed Saddam Hussein – a sectarian civil war.

    I rarely agree with President Obama. However, in the present case, I agree that, unless the Iraqi government takes positive steps toward inclusion in government of all factions in Iraq, we should not provide assistance of any sort. As Prime Minister Netanyahu has said, “when your enemies are fighting one another, don’t strengthen either one of them. Weaken both.”

    Unfortunately, if Iraq resorts to a outright civil war, the U.S. will have lost valuable blood and treasure, which is most regrettable. We can replace the treasure, but the brave men and women are gone forever. Hopefully from that, our government will learn that, before entering another crusade to democratize the world, be certain that the people of that nation are willing to make an equal sacrifice to obtain the freedom that we are selling.

    Maybe our government should focus more on development of our petroleum resources including the Keystone pipeline and less on a military alliance intended to protect Saudi Arabia and its oil.

    By Phil Bolles

  14. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Unfortunately this was already written on the wall when the dictator in Iraq was up rooted from the core and a vacuum of power hungry with a vengeance were put to lead a country, it unfortunately is not an end, even if outside intervention will be put in, it is sad that value of human lives getting lost is no more than the numbers they fall in

    By A.M.HANSIA HANSIA

  15. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    In Vietnam we were viewed as the “Ugly Americans”…the French were there 12 years…did we learn anything? No we were stupid enough to stay there 12 years…Now we are paying the price of being stupid twice…you cannot bomb people to try to convince them to come around to your way of thinking…the Star Trek Prime Directive is the best policy…We cannot be the world’s police man. Other countries need to grow, evolve, have their civil wars just as we revolted, and fought our civil war…The rules in hockey are clear…THE THIRD MAN IN A FIGHT IS THE THROWN OUT OF THE GAME!

    By John Michael Saraceno

  16. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    This would not have happened if we had not left. This is another Obama failure. I served there and worked with the Iraqi government. I had Iraqi government employees begging me to convince President Obama to stay, as if he would actually listen to me. We were the balancing “force” and we were influencing all to “play nice” which helped to keep Shia, Sunni, and Kurds in the government. When we left, this balance disappeared…and this caused the rebellion.

    Again…..this is a massive OBAMA/CLINTON foreign policy failure, just one of many, but maybe the worst.

    We will be back, in force, in combat before Obama leaves office.

    By Stan VanderWerf

  17. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    I’m confident the presidential polling process will determine the “right thing” for the president to do. The “right thing” for America or Iraq will not even be considered.

    By Peter Ross

  18. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    I believe that it is inappropriate for America to be involved in this struggle at all. The Sunni’s and Shiite’s are opposed to one another in ways that reach to the foundations of their religious beliefs and this is a war that has been waged at some level for more than 1500 years. Neither Americans nor any other world power can swoop down and solve the problems of this region with politics, sanctions or military force. It is arrogant of our government to believe otherwise. The best solution is to disengage and let these people settle their own disputes. After 1500 years I doubt that is possible in our life times.

    By Michael Gamble

  19. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    The Vietnam War was a terrible event for the US in many different ways, and remember we lost 58,000 in Vietnam with another 140,000+ wounded.

    But when you view all issues, it is not easy to compare Vietnam with Iraq. First off American war dead was an order of magnitude lower in Iraq. In Iraq, we have a series of nasty neighbors like Iran and Syria and Iraq is a strategic crossroads. Vietnam was not. In Vietnam, we had huge military blunders like LBJ approving the bombing lists, and body count taking a more important role than pursuing a strategic victory. Our actions in Iraq were more like our behavior in WWII. We conquered, then gave the country back, and at least initially stayed there to ensure the peace. We should have stayed there, and for 50 years like we did in Germany and Japan.

    By Stan VanderWerf

  20. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Anyone with a brain larger than an ant would have been able to predict this outcome in Iraq. A man made country with three distinct ethnic groups it can only exist under the control of a dictator, we have seen this in the former Yugoslavia under Tito and numerous other examples over the years.

    The Arabs do not understand the principles of democracy and when push comes to shove society divides into religious or clan groups.

    Matters are made worse in Iraq by the fact that Saudi Arabia is funding the Sunni’s and Iran to Shiite, the only stable area is current the North under the Kurds. If the country does fragment we have yet to see how the Turks will react should the Kurds try to establish an independant state incorporating Kurdish territory on the Turkish border.

    When will the West ever learn?

    By Philip Child

  21. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    American activities over the last two administrations have destabilized the region. But, when we decided on regime change in Iraq, we should committed ourselves for the duration of the process. That process should have been leaving enough forces in place to make sure a new stable government was in place in Iraq. Iraq is in worse shape now than when ruled by the Bathists. A stable Iraq would have acted as a buffer between Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and Iran. It would have also helped to stabilize the region in dealing with Israel.

    Now, because of mis-steps by the Obama administration the Middle East and North Africa is a mess.
    To quote Reverend Wright, one day all of Obama’s poor policy decisions will, “come home to roost”.

    By Hal Hughes

  22. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    I have three things to say about that essay. To start, these lines—

    “Critics tell us we never should have gone to war in Iraq as they told us we never should have gone to war in Vietnam. What they always conveniently forget is that we went to war in Iraq, as we did in Vietnam, based on the circumstances and information available to us at the time”

    —don’t identify the critics, and ignore the message of those critics who argued in 2003 that the case for war was weak. It’s not just that it was bad in retrospect. Colin Powell’s argument to the UN Security Council was laughably bad, even then. It’s no wonder that the campaign attracted so fewer contingents from overseas than that in Afghanistan. The notion that Saddam Hussein was going to give nerve gas to terrorists was always pretty fanciful.

    Second, I disagree with the ‘fix-what-you-break’ doctrine, as espoused in this line:

    “Once we invade and occupy a country we have an obligation to set things right as we did with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.”

    The alternative, as Anna Simons sets out in The Sovereignty Solution, is to leave the place a smoldering mess, as a warning to others. As long as we’re citing Alexander on Afghanistan, one might consider the old-school Roman approach. Admittedly, that’s not nice, and perhaps building a local ally from the ruins will suit policy. But the desire to set things right doesn’t alone make it possible, if the conditions are not good for good government to take hold. That was more than possible in Germany and Japan. It was always a real stretch in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Third, I’m still waiting for the convincing argument that the mayhem of the Middle East and South Asia is an existential threat to any state outside the Middle East. ISIS and Al-Qaeda are the like share the homicidal tendencies of the Nazis or the Stalinists, but they lack the organizational acumen to make good on the promise. This doesn’t mean that the entire region should be ignored, but it’s not worth the level of investment from the American security apparatus that it has absorbed for the past several decades.

    By Jim Hasik

  23. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    As an Iraqi veteran it sickens me more!

    By Sean Collins

  24. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Sharia is Anathema to freedom and self-determination. It tolerates NO dissent and no other religions in its most virulent forms…of which ISIS currently leads the world. It is a political system of subjugation, slavery and death. While it would be great not to be involved, we stand directly threatened by the ME situation…and, most specifically, by IRAN, which has never ever swerved from its stated objective to destroy America…the GREAT SATAN.

    By Paul Davenport Col. USMC. (Ret).

  25. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Having served three tours in Vietnam, a tour in Iraq in 2007, a tour in South Sudan in 2008, and a year in Afghanistan 2009-2010, to me the results were predictable. Douglas Pike, a 15-year Vietnam USIS and “other organizations” veteran stated it very well:

    “God helps those that help themselves
    He will help only those who help themselves
    He cannot help those who do not help themselves
    Outsiders can contribute but cannot win an unconventional war by themselves.”
    Douglas Pike

    With a total lack of understanding about the culture, language, economics, politics and people, we casually invaded Iraq who posed NO strategic threat to the US, lost 5000+ killed and failed to stabilize the country. The Iraqi soldiers I worked with I would not trust to guard an outhouse. It was truly deja vu from Vietnam and a similar situation exists in Afghanistan which I think will have the same sad ending.

    By Richard Cavagnol

  26. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Kurd right now are residing in many countries with higher concentration in Turkey, Iraq and Iran. But you will also find very proud Kurd In parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and some east European states. I know world is too scared to give them a homeland of their own but in my humble opinion they need a home to show Arabs how to rule a country. Look at the Arab history and you will see that over 2000 years they have been ruled by Dictators but under the the title of Khalifa, King, Amir or Sheikh. You can never bring democracy to that part of the world no matter how much blood we spill in that region.

    By Amin Bashir

  27. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Stan. Reading your comments it appears you spoke to those who worked with you and benefited from USA being in Iraq. My concern is that you never spoke to the elite Saddam army officer who were let go and these sharp minds had to find ways to win over what they lost in life. Media can call it fundamentalist but the fact I know is that moderate became fundamentalist to gain respect and power. Many of these elites have relatives in USA and else where and now joining the cause to throw out government who helped destroy the empire of their relatives. Just go and talk to those UK citizens fighting in Iraq and you may be able to make a good connection and find better solution that you are proposing now.
    You also ignore the fact that among those thrown out of power were fighter jet pilots, gunners, tank mechanics and operators and many who ran refineries or belonged to Baath party were let go by Bremer.

    Do you really believe that all these intelligent and well connected people would have not rebelled if US forces had kept their camps in Iraq? Please think again, I submit to you.

    By Amin Bashir

  28. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    There is no scenario whereby the USA and Iran would be good allies, which is the thinking of the current morons running our government. Iraq is the new Vietnam and in some ways worse. The Iraqi government is corrupt (almost as bad as ours) and certainly not worth fighting or dying for. As for terrorist we have ways to deal with them without massive boots on the ground. If there are so few Iraqis willing to fight for their our future why on Earth would we do it for them.

    By Royce Jones

  29. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Mr. Bashir, it was exactly the former elite Saddam officers, working in the post-Saddam Iraqi government, that asked me to convince my government to stay in Iraq. And I was not the only person they were saying this to. These were people that were initially let go, and then came back to help run the country.

    I do not know if these folks are part of the rebellion today but I know they would not have rebelled nor would they have been sympathetic to a rebellion had we stayed in Iraq. Had we stayed, we could have kept constant pressure on the Iraqi government (as we were doing when we were there) to make sure Sunni, Shia, and Kurd were more or less fairly represented.

    This is what broke down when we left. This is a main catalyst, if not THE main catalyst, causing the rebellion.

    Stan
    By Stan VanderWerf

  30. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    I hope you keep in mind the US general strategy “discovered ” by Gal Wesley Clark :

    Everyone has observed that as soon as Kirkouk petroleum resources was under the control of both Kurdes and djihadists, in the following week, an Israelian tanker was waiting for oil coming straight on from Kirkouk through Turkey.
    Iran has no interest to help US- or anybody else- in Iraq. And they still have more links with Russia which knows how to remember it.

    By Alain de Chantérac

  31. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Back in 2003 when it became obvious that we were going to invade and occupy Iraq regardless of any particularly pressing need to do so, I examined the demographics and history of Iraq to determine what sort of ‘solution’ had the best chance of succeeding in the long term. What I was able to determine was that Iraq, very much like Yugoslavia, had been held together as an essentially ‘artificial country’ purely by the force of will and oppressive power of a series of dictators. Thus, unless another brutal dictator was in the offing, the concatenation of natural ethnic, religious and geographic divisions would tear the country apart in a series of bloody civil wars.

    As you should be aware, the nation we know as ‘Iraq’ was in fact cobbled together by the British and French at the end of WW1 from the bones of the collapsed Ottoman Empire. The ‘boundaries’ that were drawn are almost entirely arbitrary, and by European bureaucrats who had never been to the region and only had the interest of obtaining and securing large quantities of oil. This was of particular interest to the British at the time, because their merchant shipping and warships had largely switched over from burning coal to burning oil during WW1, and would likely complete that transition within a few years and for the foreseeable future as well.

    The geographic area thus described as ‘Iraq’ was given a wholly subservient puppet government and administered by Britain. But within this area are different and very ancient groups of people who historically had never had much to do with each other, and liked it that way. Ethnically, there are Kurds, Persians, Arabs, and Turkmen. In terms of religion, there are Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Jews, Chaldeans, and Zoroastrians too, and a variety of sects within each. But the biggest breakdown, with all of the clan, tribal connections and interdependencies and basic geographically specific territories are the Kurds in the North, the Shiites (both Arab and Persian) to the East and Southeast, and the Arabs in the West and Southwest.

    Because of these historical and geographic realities of the region and the inability/unwillingness for any of these groups to allow participation by any of the other groups, it appeared to me that in the absence of a brutal dictator from one of these groups, the nation should be divided into three separate nations, perhaps at best in some sort of very loose confederation similar to that of the United Arab Emirates. Anything more ‘ambitious’ would either throw the nation and the people back under a dictator, or result in a long series of civil wars, such as Iraq is experiencing right now, and the idea of a ‘national government’ along US-inspired ‘democratic’ lines is both completely unworkable AND a promoter of factionalism, intrigue, violence, assassinations and revolt. Ten years after my initial analysis, it appears that my prediction has held true, and current events indicate that is precisely where the nation of Iraq is headed, regardless of all efforts to the contrary.

    By Eric Husher

  32. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    It is an OLD story, and one which Intelligence personnel have known quite well for meny years, yet our political masters have never been able to accept what we have told them, endlessly, and for decades. Such is the nature of ‘politics’ and ‘world leaders.’

    By Eric Husher

  33. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Why do we insist on supporting a president and government that is completely against the pervading culture? Eric nailed it and we did the same thing in Afghanistan who had no true central government save the one from 1933-1973 whose two functions were to collect taxes and keep a standing army. They played no role in local governance and all decisions were handled by local councils. Many of us in 2004 said let the three major factions – Shiite, Sunni and Kurd govern their own territory. However the US is uncomfortable dealing with anything but a central government and that is why we had Thieu in Vietnam, Malaki in Iraq and Karzid in Afghanistan. Rather than assessing the situation from a civil-military perspective and reinforcing those processes that work and gradually phasing out the ones that don’t, our attitude is an arrogant “Step aside son and let the big dog show you how it is done.” I have seen the same attitude and the same failures in three wars. Tragic.

    By Richard Cavagnol

  34. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    Excellent analysis Eric. However my personal experience was that many (but not all) Iraqis have lived together long enough under the single country that the old demographic/tribal/sectarian lines don’t mean much to them anymore. I met many with either Sunni, Shia, or Kurd backgrounds who were willing to, and were practicing working, living, and governing together. Many families had intermarried across these lines. These folks worked alongside each other in the Iraqi government.

    It is others who want power and use ethnic/sectarian divisions (they are there) to foment dissent. These people punish others for crossing these “lines” and do all other manner of evil on their fellow Iraqis, all in the name of their cause, but really because they just want money, power, etc.

    I would caution against the argument that western society is somehow responsible for today’s violence. This is a typical naive analysis. It is people who live there now, and want power, that cause violence. They see it as a way to reach their goals.

    While the Brits, as I was told by my friends, were pretty ruthless when they occupied the lands there….these same people were amazed that we gave the country back to them and treated them as equals. We generated a lot of respect from the professional class of Iraqi society. I personally experienced this mutual respect to include sensitivity to my Christian beliefs, and a deeply held desire to truly make a democracy in Iraq…a democracy that represented all Iraqi people.

    By Stan VanderWerf

  35. Reposted from linkedIn says:

    I fully agree with that assessment. Only the iron fist of a dictator could have held Iraq together. The same is true today. Generation upon generation of hate can not be over come by wishful thinking on our part. Our best strategy is to identify the worse terrorist elements for targeted execution and leave the rest to sort it out among themselves.

    By Royce Jones

  36. Bob says:

    Ed, As Vietnam combat veterans, you and I had a few concerns and, as I recall, a slight difference of opinion about the invasion of Iraq from its outset. There was never any denying that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant that the world would be better off without.

    President Bush seemed to make the same mistakes that did, in fact, mimic many mistakes of our involvment in Vietnam. The scenarios were different between the two, but the end results were and are much the same. The only WMD removed from Iraq was Saddam himself. Our blatant disregard for history and failed military strategies used in Vietnam, combined with our reluctance to know our enemy, again has us having our achievements returned to status quo in our rear view mirrors as we exit.

    The loss of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan are well over four thousand. Thank God it isn’t more, and it certainly still could be yet. I remember losing nearly that many a month in sixty eight when I served as a rifleman in Vietnam. North Vietnam was also a determined enemy with a revolutionary mindset that they would gladly die to achieve, and die they did. Our main mistake was under estimating the fact we were/are fighting a much different enemy now. They seem to have the same disregard for human live, theirs as well as ours, to achieve a victory in the name of religous beliefs that date back to biblical times. Their beliefs and methods will never change no matter who is in power, or how many we kill. We have, after more than a decade, only scattered al qaeda in to smaller cells around the globe. Many have already returned, and we are sadly hearing gunfire again as we exit. Embarrassing, and extremely expensive in lives and dollars indeed.

    My tour in Vietnam, my nearly twenty additional years in the Ohio Army National Guard as an officer, and watching what has occured in the past decade in the middle east has made me lean very heavy towards being a pacifist. I’m tired and weary of the rediculous spending, poor military planning and strategies, loss of american and civilian life, only to wreck our economy and give us more war memorials to visit.

  37. Ron Naida says:

    Ed, great job summing up our involvement and the correlation between OIF/OEF/OND and VN. Everyone knows that hindsight is 20/20 and we do not always make the right decisions, especially with incomplete or misleading information. However, we continue to make course corrections and execute damage control. I think your critics on this one exercise their opinions on limited information and experiences. This “war on terror” along with the fight against communism, is still playing out.

    While deployed here in Germany, I have had the opportunity to visit numerous WW1 & 2 sites. Talking to local Europeans who lived through WW2 and those who only know it through history books and their parents and grandparents, on both sides, expressed their opinions of the great wars and what came about as a result of those wars. Some understand the events and conflicts that pre-ceded the wars while others are unaware and don’t care. As you may expect, most of those opinions differ dramatically. However, the subsequent results are for the most part positive and embraced by the majority. The same goes for the pacific conflict with Japan.

    If we study the great wars, we would say that the world is a much better place and the outcome was successful. Nevertheless, the price paid in lives, environment, resources, and lost historical landmarks and buildings was astronomical. Was it worth it to go to such extremes? All we can do is study the past and use it to assist in future decision-making processes for diplomacy and/or action. The problem is, the current world events and cultural influences are unique, and none of us has a crystal ball to determine outcome.

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