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A war of choice Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by NaBeeel, Canada Mar 19, 2006
Culture , Peace & Conflict , Human Rights   Opinions
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The role of Islam in Arab society; The Buddhist self-immolations in Vietnam. We face in Iraq, like we did in Vietnam, an enemy who refuses to play by our rules, and is clearly willing to die for their beliefs. But Iraq looks a lot like Vietnam: there was no real plan for victory in Vietnam, and there appears to be none for Iraq. Even the attempt at meaningful democratic reforms; to install democracy in Iraq or in the Middle East, will never work.

We face in Iraq, like we did in Vietnam, an enemy who refuses to play by our rules and are clearly willing to die for their beliefs. Iraq looks a lot like Vietnam.

Wars of Choice: Vietnam and Iraq were both wars of choice. They are also similar in that deceit and misrepresentation was employed by the U.S. government; first to engage U.S. forces, and then to keep them there. President Bush took us to war on the grounds that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and had ties to Al Qaeda. No weapons of mass destruction have been found and no ties to Al Qaeda have been discovered.

We were also told our troops would be greeted with open arms and flowers, which didn’t last long, and that Iraqi oil would pay for most of the reconstruction. Now we are told that we are in Iraq to nurture democratic self-government, political reconstruction, which is also going badly.

In retrospect, it is clear that we had no idea what we were getting into when we marched into Vietnam, and the same appears true in Iraq. In reference to Vietnam, President Johnson pledged in April 1965: “We will not withdraw, either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement”. Four decades later, President Bush pledged: “We’ve got to stay the course and we will stay the course”, in Iraq.

The American people, the Iraqi people and the Middle Easterners deserve better than this. They are entitled to a well-thought-out, credible plan, detailing how the administration expects to achieve its objectives in Iraq. A realistic plan is also a prerequisite to engaging the international community fully in reconstruction efforts - a necessity the Bush administration has only belatedly come to recognize. Reviewing what went right–and wrong–in Vietnam might be a good place to start when creating such a plan.

Throughout the Vietnam War, especially in the early years, American officials deliberately misrepresented the enemy. Vietnamese nationalists were ignored with all opposition, labeled 'Communist', or with the delightfully pejorative phrase, “Viet Cong.” In Iraq, the Bush administration has once again written nationalists out of the script.

Insurgents are variously labeled “dead-enders”, “fanatics”,
“militants”, “terrorists”, or “outsiders”, despite growing evidence
that a large percentage of the Iraqi people are opposed to the U.S. occupation. Recent intelligence reports suggest that support for the insurgents is widespread and growing. In some areas, Sunni and Shiite groups are joining forces, at least temporarily, in a common cause – killing Americans.

There is also a failure in Iraq to understand and empathize with the local mores and culture, or the role of Islam in Arab society. The military has too few Arab language specialists, and those experts in government with a good knowledge of Iraq’s history and culture were marginalized from the Pentagon’s planning of the war and the peace, just as we failed to comprehend the Buddhist culture of Vietnam.

The bombing of a mosque in Fallujah in April 2004 is a recent case in point. Suicide bombers in the Middle East, like Buddhist self-immolations in Vietnam, are incomprehensible to the average American, nestled in a comfortable suburb with a good paying job. Plunging into a maelstrom of political and religious rivalries, we have too often depended in Iraq on the counsel of a few self-serving Iraqi exiles and Arab intellectuals, experienced in manipulating Western arrogance and ignorance.

There was no real plan for victory in Vietnam, and there appears to be none for Iraq. The June 30th date for the transfer of sovereignty back to the Iraqi people, in particular, makes no sense, except in the context of President Bush’s desire to be rid of Iraq before the U.S. elections in November. When asked why it is so important to pretend to return sovereignty to the Iraqis on June 30th, no one in the administration seems to have an answer.

What is clear is that no viable political body has been created or identified in Iraq in the last year with the domestic political support necessary to take charge and run the country after the turnover. Unless the White House adds credibility to the June 30th transfer, it is also clear that the other dates detailed by the president in his April 2004 press conference- dates leading to a permanent Iraqi government by December 2005, have no meaning whatsoever.

At the end of the Persian Gulf War, President George H. W. Bush, flanked by then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell, proudly proclaimed we had finally licked the “Vietnam syndrome”. Is it any wonder then that President George W. Bush, surrounded by the same advisors, refuses to recognize that Iraq increasingly resembles that traumatic Asian conflict? Iraq today looks more and more like the Vietnam. You may see the resemblance now of an army intelligence officer more than three decades ago to one in this war.

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I love people with respect to Live and I have a reference for the God. I like positive people with ideas to help and empower others

write political editorials on topics ranging from the years presidential election, the emerging nuclear crisis in North Korea, to cultural and social issues and problems affecting the United States and the world peace.

I'm eager to hear what other people have to say about issues, whether I agree with them or not. In my opinion, that is how one gains knowledge, by taking an issue and studying it and applying different perspectives, and taking those perspectives and using them to make change in the world around you.

I also have other hobbies, non-political related such as listening to music, roller blading/skating, and hanging out with friends.

Being nice and honest is my best policy for my life pursuit, but not at the expense of other people’s happiness. Being wise enough to reach for your hand and touch your heart and sole , therefore not taking chances or wasting time in trying to live your life while it lasts, trying to please others, when the truth is you can’t please everyone at the same time .

clarita zarate | May 14th, 2006
I agree with the article. I t is very explicit and to the point.

BEN HUR | Jun 13th, 2006
One of rhe best, Rating Five Stares In retrospect, it is clear that we had no idea what we were getting into when we marched into Vietnam, and the same appears true in Iraq.

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